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The Anatolian Civilizations Museum (Ankara-Turkey)


The Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük Hittites Hattusha (Hattusa)


With historical buildings and solid origin, The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi) got the first place among the 68 museums and was awarded the title of “Museum of the Year" in Lausanne, Switzerland on 19 April 1997.

The Anatolian Civilizations Museum (Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilizations) with its original collections is considered to be one of the top Museums in the world today. Anatolian archaeological creations are exhibited in a chronological order starting from the Palaeolithic Age up to the present time.


Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum Index (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations)

Mother Goddess, The Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük


Architecture & Buildings of Anatolian Civilisations Museum

The Museum Anatolian Civilizations is located in the district called Atpazari ("the horse market") to the south of Ankara Castle. The Museum occupies two Ottoman buildings which have been renovated and altered to suit their new role. One of them is the Mahmud Pasha Bedesten and the other is the Kursunlu Han.

It is believed that the Bedesten (part of a bazaar where valuable goods were stored) was built between 1464 and 1471 by Mahmud Pasha, the grand vizier of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. There is no inscription on the building. Documentary sources, however, indicate that Ankara "sof" (cloth made from goat or camel hair) was distributed from here. The building has a plan of standard type. There is a covered rectangular area with 10 domes in the middle. There is a surrounding vaulted arcade, occupied by shops arranged so that those of the same trade face each other.

Recent research, into the land registers and judicial records of the Ankara province shows that Kursunlu Han was built by Mehmet Pasha who succeeded Mahmud Pasha to the post of grand vizier in the reign of Sultan Mehmet. He held the post until 1470, and he founded the Han to provide revenue for his soup-kitchen or the poor and needy in the Uskudar, where finally he was buried. The building lacks an inscription, but during restoration work carried out in 1946 coins of Sultan Murat II were found, proving that the Han was in existence by the first half of the 15th century. The building has a typical plan for a Han of the Ottoman Period. In the middle there is a courtyard. It is surrounded by a series of rooms in two storeys. There are 28 rooms on the ground floor and 30 on the first. All of the rooms have fireplaces. In the basement of the west and south sides of the building there is a L-shaped stable. There are 11 shops on the north side, 9 on the east and 4 facing each other in the open-ended vaulted antechamber.

The two buildings, which are used as a Museum today, fell out of use after a fire in 1981. Today, the two buildings that form the museum, were left after the last fire in 1881. Top


History of Anatolian Civilizations Museum

The first Museum in Ankara was established in 1921 by Mubarek Galip Bey, Director of Cultural Affairs, in one of the towers of Ankara Castle called the “Akkale”. In addition, object were also collected together at the Temple of Augustus and at the Roman Baths. As a result of a suggestion by Ataturk that a Hittite Museum should be established, objects belonging to the Hittite period that were located in other museums began to be sent to Ankara. The need thus arose fro a larger museum. Dr Hamit Zubeyir Kosay, Director of Cultural Affairs, submitted a proposal to Saffet Arikan, the Minister of Education, stating that the kurshunlu Han could be used after some essential alterations as a Museum. This proposal was accepted and work started in 1938. Restoration was only completed in 1968. However, after the work on the domed central room of the Bedesten had been partly finished in 1940, a start was made on the arrangement of display objects under the direction of Prof. H.G. Guterbock. This display was opened to the public in 1943 while other parts of the museum were still under construction. The restoration project of this part was drawn up by the architect, Macit Kural, and the restoration itself was carried out by the architect, Zühtü Bey, after competitive bidding. In 1948 the museum moved into the four rooms at the Kurshunlu Han, the restoration of which was then finished, there bye leaving the building at Akkale as a depot. The restoration and display projects of the shops around the domed area were drawn and carried out by Ihsan Kiygi, an architect at the Monuments Department. Five of the shops were removed and a large surrounding corridor was created as an exhibition area. The Museum building took its present from in 1968.

Today the Kurshunlu Han is used as the administration section. Located there are study rooms, the library, a conference hall, a laboratory and workshops. The Mahmud Pasha Bedesteni is used as the public display area. The Anatolian Civilizations Museum is among the leading museums of the world on account of its unique collections of material. The archaeology of Anatolia from the Palaeolithic Age to the present day is displayed by periods in chronological order in the pleasant ambience of Ottoman surroundings. Top


Paleolithic Age

The Paleolithic Age, which is also called Old Stone Age, started almost 2 million years ago and ended 10 000 years ago. However, it is necessary to note that those dates are valid in the world generally and are open to change locally. This era containing the very big part as 99% of the history of humanity, takes an important place in the mentioned historical evolution by containing the appearance of first human ancestors and representing the entrance to the process of becoming human by the way of the production of first tools Top


Neolithic Age


In the human history, the period that begins with food production and the establishment of first settlements is called the Neolithic Age. At the beginning of the era, the first period in which although people knew food production but the clay pots were not made yet, instead basket, wood and stone were used, is called the Akeramic Neolithic. This period which was found in only a few places in Anatolia, gives the first examples of settled villages with structures built according to a specific arrangement, stone and bone tools and guns and ornaments. Top












Chalcolithic Period in Anatolia Turkey

It is understood from the continuation of Hacilar, Canhasan, Kurucay settlements that the period called Chalcolithic Age, since copper started to be used in addition to stone tools is the continuation of late Neolithic. In this era, regional features are dominant like in Neolithic. Chalcolithic Age is examined in Early, Middle and Late periods. Top




Early Bronze Age of Anatolia


The Bronze period begins around 3000 in Anatolia, around 2500 in the Aegean and Crete, around 2000 in Europe. Bronze is obtained by mixing copper and tin ( % 90 copper, % 10 tin). In this period apart from bronze tools other kinds such as copper, gold and electron, which is an alloy of natural gold and silver are also produced for using in religious ceremonies. The people in this period lived in cities surrounded with fortification walls. Houses are built in rectangular shapes on stone foundations with sun dried brick walls and. Agriculture, animal husbandry, merchandise and mine production are the means of life.


Alacahoyuk, 67 km to Yozgat city and 3 hours away from Ankara is the most advanced settlement area in Anatolia from this period. The rich graves discovered here are in shapes of regular stone rooms. The dead is put in the centre of these rooms with gifts, in a posture that the knees are pulled up to the belly (hocker position). Sacrificed and presented during the ceremony, bull heads and feet are left on top of the roofs. Goats and sheep are also sacrificed. They might have been served to the attendants at the funeral. The graves are thought to be used for many generations. Most of the gifts are composed of gold, silver, electron, bronze objects and decorative items such as diadems, necklaces, hairpins, bracelets, earrings made of precious stones like amber, rock crystal, etc. Bronze and gold weapons, sun discs, deer and bull figurines, goddess statues of religious services are invaluable works of art discovered here. For the first time in this period do we find bronze spear heads in Anatolia. They resemble very much to their counterparts in Mesopotamia and Syria which is an interesting point.


Another important place in the bronze age is Troy, Level 1. dated back to 2900-2500 BC. This first city in Troy, now partly unearthed is wrapped up with a 90 meter wall. Houses are in megaron type again and the entrances are from the narrow sides. Walls are stone and set in the herring bone pattern. Troy, Level 2. is dated back to 2500-2000 BC. It is built on top of Troy Level 1. The inhabitants of this level come from the Aegean and Balkans like those of the first level. It is also surrounded with walls but this time they are 20 meters longer. The expedition team uncovered a royal residence that belongs to a king on one of the hilltops. Heinrich Schlieman, the German businessman who dug the Trojan mound in 1870, discovered a treasury at this level of Troy 2. Knowing Homer's Iliad by heart, he was in search of King Priamos's treasury and for years he believed the treasury he had discovered at the site was so. In the last years of his life, however, he was going to learn that the treasury actually belonged to a different level, the level 2, thus, to a different time period. Top



The Assyrian Colonies Period in Anatolia Turkey


The start of this period is also the beginning of the written history in Anatolia and the Middle Bronze Age in Anatolia. During 1960 BC, the Old Assyrian State in North Mesopotamia established a developed trade system with Anatolia . In this period, feudal city Kingdoms consisting mostly of Neo Hattians were sovereign in Anatolia . Mesopotamians who knew the wealth of Anatolia since Akkad Age, established a wide and systematic commercial relationship with their Northern neighbours beginning with Assyrians. They brought their language, hieroglyph and cylinder seals which are foreign to Anatolia , with them. So, Anatolia entered to the written history eras since 1950 BC. Top



Ancient Hittites And Hittites Empire in Anatolia Turkey



According to written records, in the late Colony Age, Anitta, who is the son of Pithana established the first government of Anatolia administered by central system, by taking the first step of uniting the Hittites living in the form of city principalities. Top




Neo Hittites in Anatolia


During 1200 BC, Aegean Migration attacks, coming from West, gave an end to Hittite Empire that lost its old power, and all the Hittite cities especially Bogazkoy were pillaged and burned by invaders. The Hittites, who escaped from those attacks, by moving to South and Southwest Taurus, lived the era of last Hittite principalities in the history. After that, it was not possible to establish a central Hittite Government, Hittite tradition had been endured until 700 BC which is the period at which it is erased from the history scene by the continuous attacks of Assyrians. Top



Phrygians in Anatolia



Phrygians who entered into Anatolia with Aegean Migrations coming from Southeast Europe in the beginning of 12 th century BC, devastated almost all of the important cities of Anatolia and started to rule Anatolia slowly by destroying the Hittite Empire. The main settlement area of Phrygians was Sakarya region, Gordian being the centrum, Afyon, Kutahya and Eskisehir were parts of that region. The few inscription that they left shows that they used an Indian-European language. While Greek sources especially Heredot informs that they came from Macedonia as big and little Byrigeses, in the Assyrian sources Muskili Mita was mentioned. Generally, it is accepted that Mita and Midas were the same person, the Muskilies were Phrygians. Top



Urartians in Anatolia



The Urartians established a state around Lake Van in 1000 BC. During the most powerful times of their state, the territories of Urartians spanned a wide area from the Urmiye Lake to Euphrates River Valley, from Gokcegol in the south of Kafkasia, Aras River Valley, the east shores of Black Sea to Musul, Halep, and Mediterranean. The land of Urartians consisted of plains, which were surrounded by high and rocky mountains, plateaus, narrow and deep valleys. Urartians, who had to adopt the difficult natural conditions of East Anatolia, were successful in agriculture and stock-breeding.The region of East Anatolia is appropriate for stock-breeding as well as having plains suitable for agriculture and rich mine resources. Mesopotamia people had noticed the natural wealth of that region for a long time. Because of that, that land was attacked many times by Assyrians. At the beginning of 1000 BC, Urartians were unified and established the Urartian State whose capital is today's Van (Tusba) to prevent those attacks. Top


Lydians in Anatolia

The fundamental of Lydian's art comes from the Bronze Age in which there were relationships, which is sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, between their ancestors and Hittite Empire. Lydians made magnificent improvements in Iron Age especially from Gyges period to Croesus (about 685 BC to 547 BC) period containing the dynasty of Mermnad. Their country became the most powerful kingdom after the death of Midas, who was the King of Phrygians, by the Kimmer attack. Lydians preserved their language and culture but they become open to the relationships with East (Phrygians, Luwis, Meds and Persians) as well as with West (Greeks); they had diplomatic relationships with Egypt and Assyrians. Top


Ankara Through The Ages


Ankara, the capital of the Turkish Republic, isolated in Anatolia at the cross roads of main highways connecting east to west and north to south.

The Prehistoric settlements discovered is Ankara and its vicinity indicate that the area was continually settled since ancient times.

The remains of small palaces belonging to the Chalcolithic era and Bronze Age unearthed in Ahlatlibel to the southwest of Ankara and in Kocumbeli indicate the existence of principalities in the Prehistoric ages.


It is known that later Ankara and its vicinity were captured by the Hittites who settled in the city. A Hittite settlement was discovered in Bitik near the Mürted Plain. In Gavurkale near the town of Haymana, 60 km. southwest of Ankara, there is an area sacred to the Hittites.

The first important settlement in Ankara was thus during the Phrygian times. Excavations showed that this Phrygian town in Ankara occupied the land between the Temple of Augustus and the Roman Bath and its vicinity. Top


Classical Age


There were major changes in Anatolia in the wake of the Aegean migrations, which took place at the end of the second millennium. This event brought about the fall of the Hittite Empire and in the first half of the lst millennium BC., Late Hittites, Urartians and Phrygians, who had established kingdoms in different areas of Anatolia, took over control. At the same period, the Greek people arrived in Western Anatolia, via islands, as a result of the disruptions caused by the Dorian Migrations. After settling in Western Anatolia, they unified with local people and established the foundations of the Ionian civilizations. In this way the first colony settlements were founded. This period is characterized by motifs drawn by compasses and is called the "PRO­TOGEOMETRIC AGE" (1100 - 950 B. c.). Then it is followed by the "GEOMETRIC AGE", represented with the alteration of round shaped motifs into angular ones.


The art, which has been always important in Ionia, had witnessed major developments, both in terms of architectural and sculptural characteristics, under the oriental influences. The foun­dations of giant temples were estab­lished in this period. The anatomical characteristics of the human body were worked out more realistically on the sculptural work in comparison with the ones from profogeometric or geometric ages. Top


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