Being the second largest city after Istanbul, Ankara is the capital of Turkey! After the establishment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and of the Republic on 23 April 1920, Ankara became the new Turkish capital. Ankara is a very old city, which still manages to host Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. This might be the reason why so many interesting and unique museums can be found there! The name of the city comes from the "Angora" wool, which is shorn off the cute Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat, and the adorable Angora cats! Ankara is also the resting place of one of the greatest leaders, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. So, if you want to visit Ankara, here is your guide!
Anıtkabir is the most famous landmark of the city; it is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. Here, it is also the final resting place of İsmet İnönü, the second President of Turkey. His tomb is on the opposite side of the Ceremonial Ground, facing the Atatürk Mausoleum. The building consists of stones, marbles and travertines. It was constructed between 1944 and 1953. In here, you can wander around the four main parts of Anıtkabir; the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor -which Atatürk's tomb is located- and the Peace Park, that surrounds the monument. The Road of Lions is a 262-metre long pedestrian walkway, that is lined on both sides by twelve pairs of lions, which represent the 24 Oghuz Turkic Tribes. They are shown seated to simultaneously represent both power and peace and they are carved in the same style as the Hittite archaeological finds.
The Ceremonial Plaza is located at the end of the Lions Road. The floor is fascinating because it is decorated with 373 Turkish carpet patterns, which are made of travertine in various colors. The Hall of Honor is the location of Atatürk's tomb, which is the heart of Turkey. The Peace Park, which surrounds the monument is in honor of Atatürk's famous expression "Peace at home, peace in the world." Here, you can check out around 50,000 decorative trees, flowers and shrubs in 104 varieties, donated by 25 countries. To honor this great leader, you can visit Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's tomb in Anıtkabir and admire the great atmosphere.
The Ethnography Museum is the first state museum which was planned and built in the Republic period. This museum of ethnography is dedicated to the cultures of Turkic civilizations. Inside the museum, you can check out many cultural objects like clothes, hand-embroidered pieces, hand wovens, metal works, glass and tiles, weapons manuscripts, wooden and stone artifacts, jewelry and a whole section dedicated to the Turkish coffee! Here, it was also the temporary resting place of Atatürk for 15 years before the completion of Anıtkabır. After his death on 10 November 1938 at Dolmabahçe Palace, his body was transferred on a horse-drawn caisson to the Ethnography Museum of Ankara- after the state funeral on November 21st, 1938. His caisson was escorted to the museum by British, Iranian and Yugoslavian guards to honor him. On November 10th, 1953, he was transferred to Anıtkabir and escorted by military honors on a caisson in a cortège.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located on the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar storage building and the Kurşunlu Han. The Kurşunlu Han is being used as an administrative building, which houses the work rooms, library, conference hall, laboratory and workshops. The old bazaar building houses the exhibits. This museum was created because Atatürk wanted to establish a Hittite museum. Inside the museum, you can check out many exhibits of Anatolian archeology, coming from; the Paleolithic era, the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman periods. The exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble and bronze works date back to the first millennium BC. This museum was also elected as the first "European Museum of the Year" in Switzerland on April 19th, 1997.
The War of Independence Museum is housed in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly building in Ankara. Here, you can find important photographs, documents and furniture from the Turkish War of Independence. This museum has several rooms which are open to the public, such as the assembly president’s room- which has the original appearance and arrangement of Mustafa Kemal-, the chambers of the ruling council- which was the cabinet and presidential boardrooms, committee room, lobby, grand assembly hall- and many more.
And lastly, the State Art and Sculpture Museum, which is dedicated to fine arts and sculpture in Ankara. The museum was built between 1927 and 1930 upon the direction of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of Turkey. The museum is a center of art, where the most outstanding works of the artists, who played important roles in the development of Turkish painting and sculpture, are exhibited.
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