The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Located in the Altındağ district of Ankara, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations presents the unique artifacts of ancient civilizations that have left their mark on the Anatolian lands in a chronological order to visitors. This museum is an important center that reflects the rich history and archaeological heritage of the region.
One of our important museums that houses the rich history of Anatolia spanning thousands of years is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. This museum provides valuable information about civilizations from ancient times to modern times.
A Tour of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Two Ottoman structures that exude history, located in the Atpazarı district of Ulus in Ankara, host the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. These historical buildings are situated adjacent to the outer walls of Ankara Castle. The first of these two significant structures is known as Mahmut Paşa Bedesteni, and the other is called Kurşunlu Han. These historical buildings have been converted into a museum to continue serving culture and history.
History of the Museum
The foundation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations was laid in 1921 in Ankara for the establishment of a Hittite museum on the directive of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This important step was taken under the leadership of the Director of Archaeology at the time, Mübarek Galip Bey, and the Minister of Education, Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver. Valuable artifacts collected from historical sites in Ankara, such as the Augustus Temple and the Roman Bath, were brought together, and on October 1, 1921, the "Eti Museum," also known as the "Asar-ı Atika Museum," was established in Akkale to preserve these artifacts. This initiative eventually evolved into the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, becoming one of the most comprehensive museums reflecting the rich history of Anatolia.
How much is the entrance fee for the Museum of Anadolian Civilizations ?
The entrance fees of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations generally vary according to the age groups of visitors. Additionally, there may be different fee policies for Turkish citizens and foreign visitors at the museum. You can find the current fees and details on the museum's official website or communication channels. If you have a museum card, you can visit this wonderful museum as much as you want for one year without paying any extra fees.
Since the museum was initially established in a relatively small space, it soon became apparent that a larger area was needed to preserve the artifacts. During the tenure of Remzi Oğuz Arık as the museum director, it was noted that the museum's location within Ankara Castle looked more like a storage facility. Interestingly, the museum's collection was open to experts researching history, not the general public, at that time.
Under rapidly evolving circumstances, Hamit Zübeyir Koşay, the Director of Archaeology at the time, proposed the renovation of the abandoned Mahmut Paşa Bedesteni and Kurşunlu Han, located southeast of Ankara Castle, to become the new home of the museum. This proposal, with the support of Minister of Education Saffet Arıkan, was accepted. This decision initiated a comprehensive restoration process that lasted from 1938 to 1968.
In 1940, while restoration work was ongoing, a part of the bedesten was quickly restored, and a team led by the German Hittitologist Hans Gustav Güterbock transferred the artifacts from Akkale to this location. In 1943, a part of the museum was opened to the public. During that time, Güterbock, who was a lecturer at Ankara University, also oversaw the restoration and display of artifacts from various excavation sites.
By 1948, significant progress had been made in the restoration work at Kurşunlu Han, and the museum management decided to use Akkale only as a storage facility, with all other artifacts being displayed at Kurşunlu Han. In 1968, the museum adopted its current name and established its institutional identity.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations hosts unique artifacts that reflect the rich history of Anatolia from prehistoric times to the present. This valuable museum not only uses most of Mahmut Paşa Bedesteni and Kurşunlu Han as exhibition space but also utilizes the basement of the Han for storage purposes. With a variety of sections, including a library, photo and restoration workshops, conference halls, and laboratories, the museum is a rich source for researchers.
By showcasing collections related to civilizations that have left their mark on Anatolian soil in chronological order, this museum holds great global significance. In fact, in 1997, it was awarded the 'European Museum of the Year Award' by the European Museum Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland. With this achievement, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations became the first museum in Turkey to receive this prestigious award.
Museum Collections and Exhibitions
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations was initially conceived as a "Hittite Museum" established solely with Hittite artifacts. However, the Ministry of Education and the Directorate of Archaeology requested the transfer of valuable artifacts from various regions of Anatolia to this museum. As a result, the museum's collection expanded significantly. Now, it is not only one of Turkey's but also one of the world's most prestigious history and archaeology museums.
The impressive collection of this museum features selections from a wide range of sources, including artifacts discovered during the Alişar Höyük excavations conducted by Von der Osten in Yozgat from 1926 to 1932, those found during the excavations led by Kurt Bittel in Boğazköy from 1931 to 1939, and the remains uncovered by the Ministry of Education in Ahlatlıbel, Karalar, and Göllü Dağ from 1932 to 1934. Additionally, it includes items found during various excavations conducted by the Turkish Historical Society from 1935 to 1942. The city plan of Çatalhöyük, dating back to 6200 BC, displayed in the museum is known as the oldest map discovered to date.
Where Is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations?
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is a cultural treasure that preserves the traces of the rich civilizations that have played a role in Anatolia's history. For those interested in the history of Anatolia from the Paleolithic era to the present, it is located in the heart of Ankara, right next to the historic Ankara Castle. The museum also mesmerizes visitors with its elegant architectural details dating back to the Ottoman period. Around the museum, you can find other important cultural venues such as the Rahmi M. Koç Museum and the Ethnography Museum. By visiting this museum, you can embark on a journey through the history of Anatolia.
Location of Ankara
Ankara covers a total area of 26,897 square kilometers and is situated at geographical coordinates of 39.57 N latitude and 32.53 E longitude within the borders of Turkey. The city is located at an elevation of exactly 890 meters above sea level, indicating its high-altitude terrain. Geographically, Ankara is bordered by Kırşehir and Kırıkkale to the east, Eskişehir to the west, Çankırı to the north, Bolu to the northwest, and Konya and Aksaray to the south. The city's districts include:
Transportation to the Museum
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations awaits its visitors on the road to the historical Ankara Castle. This museum is easily accessible from various parts of Ankara, making it a convenient location for those visiting from different regions of the city. Below are some recommendations on how to reach the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations from different areas of Ankara:
Take the Kızılay-Batıkent metro line and get off at Ulus station. From the Ulus Market exit, you can continue on foot, and it's about a 10-minute walk to the museum.
If you're coming from the direction of Dikmen Avenue, you can take bus numbers 145 or 154. If you're starting from Oran, you can use bus number 185. If you're on Ilker Avenue, bus numbers 183 or 186 are available options. After getting off at Ulus Market with any of these buses, you can reach the museum within 10 minutes by walking through Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu.
If you're coming from Kayaş, Ege Mahallesi, Doğukent, Abidinpaşa, or Akdere, you can take various bus options to get to Anafartalar stop, and from there, it's a short 10-minute walk to the museum.
Take bus numbers 105 or 106 to get off at Ulus Market. Continue along Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu to reach the museum within 10 minutes.
If you're coming from Etlik and Aşağı Eğlence, you can take buses from the Bağlum direction to get to Ulus station, and then easily reach the museum by following Anafartalar Avenue.
If you're coming from Batıkent and Demetevler, you can take the metro to Ulus station and then access the museum by walking.
From the Çayyolu and Ümitköy areas, you can use the Çayyolu-Kızılay metro line, make a transfer in Kızılay, and get off at Anafartalar stop. From there, you can reach the museum on foot within 10 minutes.
Take the Kayaş-Sincan suburban train and get off at Sıhhıye station. Then, make a transfer with the indicated bus numbers to get off at Anafartalar stop. You can walk to the museum within 10 minutes.
By choosing these routes to visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, you can witness the history of Ankara.
What Can You See at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations?
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations won the title of "European Museum of the Year" in 1997. In this prestigious museum, artifacts are meticulously categorized by historical periods. One of these periods is the Paleolithic Era. Below, you'll find information about some of the artifacts within the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Archaeological and Artistic Artifacts
The museum houses Neolithic artifacts, which bear the influences of the Neolithic Age, originating from significant excavation sites in Anatolia such as Çatalhöyük and Burdur Hacılar. The museum focuses on the Chalcolithic Age, showcasing the traces of civilizations in Anatolia and its neighboring regions during this period.
The Alacahöyük excavations are central to the Early Bronze Age section of the museum. Moreover, the museum provides insights into periods when writing first appeared in Anatolia, such as the period of the Assyro-Anatolian trade colonies. Along with these, the museum also showcases rare artifacts from the Hittite Empire, Old Hittite Kingdom, Phrygia, Neo-Hittite, Urartu, and Lydia periods.
Treasures from Ancient Times
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations hosts unique artifacts from Anatolian lands that have played a significant role in the region's history. Some of the standout pieces from this valuable collection are as follows:
- The Statue of the Mother Goddess Cybele: Cybele, symbolizing fertility and abundance, is represented in the cultural context extending from Anatolia to Artemis. The statue can be found in examples created under the influence of Hittite reliefs, as well as in the art of the Neo-Hittite and Assyrian periods.
- King Midas's Unique Worktable: This three-thousand-year-old table, reconstructed from wooden fragments found in the tomb of King Midas, offers insights into the daily life of Anatolia's legendary king.
- The Sun Disk: This valuable artifact symbolizes the connection between kingship and cosmology, serving as both a religious and royal emblem for the Hittites.
- Gold Necklace with a Medusa Head: This necklace from the Hellenistic period showcases craftsmanship and aesthetics, dazzling with its Medusa head pendant.
- Letter from an Egyptian Queen to a Hittite King: This bronze tablet serves as a historical document, shedding light on diplomatic relations between the Hittites and the Egyptians.
- The World's Oldest Map: A wall painting from Çatalhöyük, dating back to 6200 BC, is considered the oldest known map.
Moreover, a statue of the Mother Goddess from the Phrygian period, Embracing Woman Figurine, and other remarkable pieces draw the attention of museum visitors. These artifacts offer an opportunity to explore the rich history and cultural heritage of Anatolia.
The Hittite and Phrygian Civilizations
The Hittites held a prominent position in Anatolia, establishing their authority from 1750 BC to 1200 BC and leaving a lasting imprint on the region's history. They introduced centralized governance to Anatolia on an unprecedented scale, and their art, inspired by the Assyro-Anatolian trade colonies period, reflects their cultural influence. The traces of this rich artistic tradition can be found in key centers such as Boğazköy, İnandık, Eskiyapar, Alacahöyük, among others.
Notable examples include the İnandık Vase, one of the most famous examples of relief art, ivory and metal sculptures depicting deities, large animal-shaped ritual vessels, cuneiform tablets, and seals associated with the Hittite monarchy. The central focus of the museum's Early Bronze Age section is the Alacahöyük excavations.
When you move to the Phrygian section, you can sense the cultural changes that occurred in Anatolia around 1200 BC, following the collapse of the Hittite Empire. Traces of a new civilization are evident in ceramics, metals, woodworking, and other aspects of daily life. The rich artistic legacy of the Phrygians, including their characteristic architectural style, can be seen in artifacts from various centers, particularly Gordion.
The Urartu section is another part of the museum's collection, reflecting the history of the Urartu Kingdom, which existed between 900 BC and 600 BC in eastern Anatolia. The Urartians made significant contributions to the fields of mining and construction. With their distinctive architectural style, they left behind impressive works such as columned halls, water structures, and roads. The museum showcases a wide range of Urartian artifacts, including furniture pieces made of bronze and ivory, ornate arches, votive steles, elegant pins, fibulas, necklaces, and various vessels. The ivory lion statue discovered in Altıntepe is one of the prominent pieces in this collection. This statue is the largest ivory lion figure found in the Near East.
The Urartu exhibition allows visitors to delve into the rich cultural heritage of this period, presenting examples of bronze and iron craftsmanship related to war and agriculture. A remarkable historical document is the bronze tablet containing a letter sent by an Egyptian queen to a Hittite king, offering insights into diplomatic relations between these two ancient powers.
Anatolian Civilizations Museum Visit Guide
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located at Gözcü Sokak No:2, 06240 Ulus, ANKARA. The museum's opening hours are from 08:30 AM, and it closes at 05:30 PM, with the last admission at 04:45 PM. The entrance fee to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is 280 TL. However, there are reduced rates for students, teachers, guides, disabled individuals, visitors under 18 years old, and those over 65 years old. If you have a museum card, you can visit this marvelous museum as much as you like for one year without paying any additional fees.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations provides a remarkable journey through the history of Anatolia, from prehistoric periods onward. The museum consists of two parts, the historical Mahmutpaşa Bedesteni and Kurşunlu Han. After undergoing extensive restoration in 2014, the museum now offers visitors a virtual tour and replicas of T-shaped pillars from Göbeklitepe.
This project was initiated with the vision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as the "Hittite Museum" in 1921, bringing together Hittite artifacts from all around Turkey. Initially, Akkale Burcu (White Castle), Augustus Temple, and Roman Bath were used for the museum. However, as the space proved to be insufficient, the restoration of Mahmutpaşa Bedesteni and Kurşunlu Han began in 1938 and was completed in 1968. The center of the bedesten was opened to visitors in 1943.
In 1997, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations received the title of "European Museum of the Year" and houses a world-class collection. The artifacts are displayed chronologically, starting from prehistoric periods.
After your museum visit, you can take in a panoramic view of Ankara from Ankara Castle, and you can explore the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in the vicinity. Enjoy a delightful coffee break at And Cafe in the historic Kaleiçi district and participate in events at the Erimtan Museum of Archaeology and Art. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Ankara!