|When Ankara became the capital the population was only 25-30 thousand. Today it is the second largest city.
|850 m / 2,790 ft
|Textiles, food, weapons, cement, tiles, beer
|Most important after Konya; grain
|Tiftik kecisi (Angora goat) is an Anatolian animal the name of which derives from the name of the capital city. The wool from this goat is also called angora, angora wool or mohair.
|Hittites, Phrygians, Alexander the Great, capital of the Celtic Kingdom of Galatia and the Roman province of the same name, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottoman Turks (1354), part of the Ottoman Empire (1413). Turkish nationalists established a provisional government in the city in 1920 and when the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed in 1923, it became the capital.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey. The city was formerly called “Ankyra” which meant anchor and later it was changed to “Angora”.
As the capital city, Ankara can be regarded as the city of bureaucrats with the President’s residence, the parliament building, government offices and foreign embassies. With students of Ankara University, METU, Hacettepe, Gazi, Bilkent and the Military Academies, Ankara is a planned modern city of students. Ankara is the only large urban center in the interior of Turkey with a European appearance.
Excellent roads and railroads and modern airline facilities connect Ankara with other cities of Turkey and with neighboring countries. The E5 road which connects Europe to the Middle East, passes through Ankara. Esenboga International Airport in Ankara is the second biggest in Turkey.
Anitkabir (Mausoleum of Ataturk)
Unlike many famous leaders, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk never requested a monumental tomb for himself. But the adoration and respect shown to him by Turkish people would never have seen him buried in an ordinary place. An international project competition was held for the architecture of a monumental mausoleum for Ataturk after his death. The project of two Turks, Emin Onat and Orhan Arda, was finally selected.The construction of a huge mausoleum similar to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was started on the summit of Anittepe, 6 years after his death in 1944 and finished in 9 years. On November 10, 1953 Ataturk was moved there in a gun carriage, from his previous grave at the Museum of Ethnography.
The Mausoleum was believed to represent the Turkish Nation under the name and personality of Ataturk. Therefore it included statues, inscriptions and reliefs on topics from Turkish history and Ataturk’s life.
The richness of the Turkish Nation’s mosaic is proven and symbolized once again with the materials and styles employed in Anitkabir. The dominant theme is geometric simplicity. Anitkabir, with all its surrounding parks covers an area of 15,000 m² / 3.7 acres. The main construction material is yellow travertine from Cankiri. The entrance to the complex is by way of a stairway located between two identical towers of (1) Independence and (2) Liberty. The tops of these towers are pyramidal, each having a bronze spear, as was the custom in old Turkish war tents. In front of these towers there are two group statues of people. On the left are three men, a soldier, a villager and a student each symbolizing in turn defense, productivity and education, the three pillars for the existence of a nation. The statues on the right are three women. The one at the back is crying silently symbolizing people’s grief for the death of Ataturk. The foremost couple are holding a wreath, the symbol of fertility, where the bowl also has the same function. (3) The pathway extending from the statues to the (12) Victory Square is called the Lions’ Way. This path was designed to be especially long so as to create a sense of greatness in visitors’ minds before reaching to the Mausoleum. On both sides there are 24 Hittite-style Anatolian lions indicating defense. There are altogether ten towers in Anitkabir each having a simple look both from inside and outside. The other towers are (4) Mehmetcik, (5) Defense of Rights, (6) Republic, (7) Reform, (8) National Pact, (9) April 23 (10) Peace, and (11) Victory.
(12) The Victory Square is surrounded by colonnades on three sides and the remaining one side faces the main building. The transition from the square to the main section is via a 33-step stairway. To the left of the stairway is a big relief showing scenes from the Battle of the Commander-in-Chief. Ataturk’s famous command from this battle is emphasized here: “Armies, your first destination is the Mediterranean. Forward!” The relief on the right depicts the Battle of Sakarya. Both battles were fought in the War of Independence against the Greek armies.
(13) The flag is the symbol of the Turkish Nation and the pole is a gift from a Turk who lives abroad. It is a single piece of steel, 5,000 kg / 11,000 pounds in weight and 33 m / 110 ft high. The crescent at the top is plated with 22-carat gold.
(14) The main building is called the Hall of Honor. It is 32 m / 105 ft wide, 60 m / 200 ft long and 20 m / 65 ft high. The ceiling is covered with gold mosaics, the floor and walls with colorful marbles from Bilecik. (15) The symbolic sarchophagus is a monolith marble and weighs 40 tons. The actual grave is downstairs. This is the first place where foreign statesmen and their delegations visit when they come to Turkey. (16) Next to the Sakarya Battle relief is the small Ataturk Museum with displays of his personal belongings, medals, gifts presented to him and his photographs. (17) Ismet Inonu, the second president of Turkey is buried between the Victory and Peace Towers.
Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations)
The museum of Anatolian Civilizations is one of the most beautiful and richest museums in the world with regard to its exhibits. The whole flow of civilizations of Anatolia is summarized in chronological order in this museum with many fine examples from the sites. The museum was begun in 1968 with the restoration of two 15C Ottoman buildings, Mahmut Pasa Bedesteni and Kursunlu Han. The bedesten houses the exhibits while the han is used by the museum administration.The exhibits are arranged chronologically, period by period: Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian Colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and later periods until today. For detailed information about these periods see Ages in the History Section of this book. Some examples of remarkable exhibits in the museum are as follows:
7.4 m / 24 ft-high victory statue standing outside the museum. It is thought to be a 13C BC Hittite statue for the cult area of Eflatunpinar, near Beysehir. Reconstruction of a Neolithic cult room from Catalhoyuk. Neolithic wall paintings. Statuettes of Mother Goddess of Anatolia, generally depicted fat and with big breasts, giving birth, with two feline animals on both sides. Painted pottery of Chalcolithic period.
Early Bronze Age stag statuettes, ceremonial standards and sun-discs. Assyrian Colonies period baked clay tablets, important for the introduction of writing to Anatolia, and an ivory statuette of a nude female goddess. Hittite period ceremonial vessels, some of them in the form of bulls, the famous Inandik vase with a frieze of singers, musicians, priests, revelers and a couple engaged in sodomy. The central hall houses many orthostat reliefs from the Imperial, Neo-Hittite and Phrygian periods giving an account of life at the time. These scenes are of goats being taken to sacrifice, acrobats, priests in procession, hunts, and kings and queens in the act of pouring libations to gods. Artifacts from Gordion, the capital of the Phrygians and the reconstruction of the remarkable wooden chamber and funerary gifts of the Midas Tomb notable as the largest burial tumulus in Anatolia, 53 m / 174 ft in height. A 7C BC bronze cauldron is among the exhibits from the Urartian period.
A new hall is being prepared for the later period finds.