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Museum of Anatolian Civilizations - Archaeological Treasures Studying Ancient Eastern Civilization

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Museum of Anatolian Civilizations now collects important artifacts and cultural heritage from various historical periods to showcase the diversity and richness of Turkish history and culture. Its significance lies not only in preserving and displaying cultural heritage, but also in providing an important place for people to learn about Turkish history, culture, and art.

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is one of the most famous museums in Turkey and is located in the capital city of Ankara. The museum was established in 1921 as an archaeological research institute and officially opened to the public as a museum in 1968. The museum showcases the cultural and historical heritage of ancient Anatolia, including exhibits from various eras ranging from 7500 BC to the Roman period.

The museum's collection is mainly divided into three parts: archaeology, ancient oriental civilizations, and Greek-Roman civilizations. The archaeology section displays early civilizations and human activities in the Anatolian region, including the cultures of the Ubaid, Hittites, and Phrygians. The section on ancient oriental civilizations showcases artifacts from areas such as Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Babylon, including clay tablets, bronze statues, and seals. The Greek-Roman civilization section exhibits artifacts from the ancient Greek and Roman empires, such as silver jewelry, pottery, and sculptures.

Here are some of the museum's most notable treasures:

1. Aphrodisias Temple artifacts

The Aphrodisias Temple is the site of an ancient Greek temple dating back to the 2nd century BCE, and its artifacts are among the most important holdings of Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. These include many exquisite column capitals, sculptures, and architectural elements, making it one of the masterpieces of ancient Greek architecture. The building style is Ionian, with unique structures and decorations. The decorative art of the column capitals typically feature a great deal of plant and animal imagery, with grapevines and snakes being the main elements. The sculptures are mainly based on heroes, gods, and animals from Greek mythology, and are of high artistic value.

The Aphrodisias Temple is one of the important sites of ancient Greek culture, reflecting the influence and inheritance of ancient Greek civilization in Anatolia through its architecture, sculpture, and art. It also demonstrates the high level of development of ancient Greek architecture and sculpture during this period. These artifacts are important evidence for studying ancient architectural and sculptural techniques, and are of great help in understanding the development of ancient Greek art and architectural history.

2. Artifacts from the Hattusha Palace

The Hattusha Palace was a palace of the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, located in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey, and served as the capital of the Hittite civilization. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations displays artifacts excavated from this palace, including wall paintings, pottery, bronze objects, sculptures, religious and everyday items, among others.

These artifacts are significant in that they reflect the history, culture, and artistic achievements of the Hittite civilization. The Hittite civilization was one of the most important civilizations in the ancient Near East, and it established a unique political, religious, and cultural system between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, exerting a profound influence on later ancient civilizations. As an important site of the Hittite civilization, the Hattusha Palace has preserved many precious artifacts that not only display the life and culture of the ancient Hittite people but also provide important physical evidence for people to study and understand this ancient civilization.

3. Hittite Cuneiform Tablets

Hittite cuneiform tablets are ancient documents recorded in cuneiform script used by the Hittite Empire, located in central Turkey, and are among the earliest known examples of cuneiform writing. They were used between 2000 BC to 1200 BC as a script in Anatolia. The Anatolian Civilizations Museum displays a large collection of these tablets, which contain Hittite script and provide insights into the history and culture of the time. The tablets record various aspects of Hittite society, including politics, social structures, religion, and art, as well as information about trade, treaties, and wars. These artifacts are of great historical and cultural significance and are important materials for studying the ancient cultures and histories of the Near East.

Hittite cuneiform tablets are among the earliest examples of cuneiform writing in the world and represent a significant milestone in human history. They not only provide evidence of the Hittite language, but also shed light on the political, social, cultural, and religious aspects of Hittite society. Through the study of these tablets, we can learn about the political system, religious beliefs, economic status, and cultural characteristics of the Hittite Empire. This is of great significance for understanding the ancient cultures and histories of the Near East.

4. Roman Era Columns

Roman Era Columns refer to the large stone columns built during the Roman Empire period, typically used as monuments or landmarks. These columns were usually carved from a single block of marble or granite and featured commemorative reliefs and inscriptions. The Anatolian Civilizations Museum houses many Roman Era columns, featuring intricate designs and inscriptions that reflect the culture and history of the Roman Empire. Roman Era columns are also considered valuable artifacts of ancient Roman civilization.

Roman Era columns hold significant historical value, as they not only document many historic events and legendary figures, but also serve as outstanding examples of Roman art and architecture. For instance, Trajan's Column, a Roman Era column measuring up to 125 feet (about 38 meters), features reliefs and inscriptions depicting the victories and conquests of Roman Emperor Trajan, and is also considered a masterpiece of ancient sculpture.

5. The Tomb of Princess Ameila

The Tomb of Princess Ameila is an ancient tomb from the 6th century BC located in Karameşe, Turkey. It was discovered in 1994 and many precious artifacts were excavated from inside. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations displays the artifacts found in the tomb, including exquisite metalwork, ceramics, and decorations. The tomb's unique feature is its exquisite and gorgeous interior decoration, which showcases the cultural and artistic achievements of ancient Anatolia. The wall paintings and reliefs inside the tomb depict life scenes such as clothing, musical instruments, and food, as well as some mythological stories and religious ceremonies.

In addition, the artifacts inside the tomb provide important clues and information for the study of the history and culture of society at the time. The discovery and study of the tomb of Princess Ameila have important historical and cultural significance for understanding the political, economic, and cultural development of ancient small countries, as well as the status and role of women in social life. These artifacts also reflect the cultural and artistic level of ancient Anatolia.

There are many exhibits worth mentioning in the museum, such as the earliest bone-made musical instrument in ancient Anatolia, the earliest clay tablet writing in the region of Asia Minor, and the official seal used by the Hittite kingdom. Moreover, the museum building itself is also a highlight, located in Ankara's castle area, built in 1464, originally as an Islamic mosque from the 16th century Ottoman Empire, named the "Ishak Pasha Mosque". It had 10 domes on its roof which were later destroyed by a great fire. After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, it was restored and converted into an archaeological museum in the early 20th century, officially opened in 1962.

The Ishak Pasha Mosque was named after Sultan Ishak Pasha during the Ottoman Empire. The mosque underwent several expansions and renovations until the mid-19th century, when the main structure and decoration were completed. With the increasing awareness of archaeological and cultural heritage protection by the Turkish government, the historical value of the original mosque was fully recognized and it was converted into an archaeological museum in 1962, preserving the building structure and appearance, and becoming an important part of Turkey's cultural heritage.

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations now collects important artifacts and cultural heritage from various historical periods to showcase the diversity and richness of Turkish history and culture. Its significance lies not only in preserving and displaying cultural heritage, but also in providing an important place for people to learn about Turkish history, culture, and art.


- The museum is open daily from 8.30 am - 7:15 pm.

- Due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, the opening and closing hours of museums and archaeological sites are determined by the governorates. For this reason, up-to-date information regarding the visiting hours of museums and archaeological sites can be obtained from the museum directorates.

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