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Ankara - Anatolian Civilizations Museum


History of Buildings

The Anatolian Civilizations Museum is in two Ottoman buildings located near Ankara Castle, in the Atpazarı district of Ankara. One of the buildings is Mahmut Paşa Bedesteni and the other one is Kurşunlu Han.

Bedesteni was built by Mahmut Paşa, one of prime ministers (vezirs) of Mehmet the Conqueror during 1464-1471. The building does not have any inscription. It is recorded in the sources that pure Angora garments were distributed here. The design of the building is of the classical type. There are 10 domes covering a rectangle designed to enclose the location, and there are 102 shops facing each other.

According to the historical records and registry books, Kurşunlu Han was built as a foundation to finance Mehmet Paşa's (Mehmet the Conqueror's vezir) alms giving in Üsküdar, Istanbul. It does not have an inscription. During the repairs of 1946, coins of the Murat II period were discovered. The findings indicate that the Han [inn, caravansary] existed in the 15th century. The Han has the typical design of the Ottoman Period Hans. There is a courtyard and an arcade in the middle and they are surrounded by two-storey rooms. There are 28 rooms on the ground floor and 30 rooms on the first floor. The rooms have furnaces. There is a barn with an "L" type on the ground floor in the west and south directions of the rooms. There are 11 shops on the north side of the Han, 9 shops on the east side and 4 shops facing each other within the garden. The inn (Han) was built by Mehmet Pasha and in 1467 Mehmet Pasha was promoted to Prime Minister (head vezir). The vaulted bazaar was built upon the orders by Mahmut Pasha who kept his position until 1470. He had his mosque, soup kitchen and madrasa in Üsküdar and his body is buried there.

These two buildings constituting the museum today were abandoned after the fire in 1881.

The History of the Museum

The first museum in Ankara was established by Mübarek Galip Bey, the Directorate of Culture, in 1921, in the section of the Castle of Ankara called Akkale. In addition to this museum, artefacts from the Augustus Temple and the Byzantine Baths were also collected. Upon the recommendation of Atatürk and from the view of establishing the "Eti Museum" in the centre, the Hittite artefacts from the region were sent to Ankara, and therefore, a larger museum was needed. The Director of Culture at that time, Hamiz Zübeyr Koşay, and the Minister of Education, Saffet Arıkan, recommended that the Mahmut Paşa Bazaar and the Inn be repaired and converted into a museum. This recommendation was accepted and the restoration continued from 1938 to 1968. Upon the completion of the bazaar repairs, where the domed structure is, a committee chaired by the German archaeologist H.G.Guterbock arranged the museum in 1940. In 1943, while the repairs of the building were still under progress, the middle section was opened for visitors. The repair projects of this part were carried out by the architect Macit Kural and upon the tender the repair work was performed by the architect Zühtü Bey. In 1948 the museum administration left Akkale as a storage house, and the museum was in four rooms of the Kurşunlu Han the repairs of which were completed. The restoration and exhibition projects of the part around the domed structure were prepared and applied by the architect İhsan Kıygı. Five shops were left in their original form but the walls between the shops were destroyed, and thus a large location was provided for exhibition. The museum building reached its present structure in 1968. The Kurşunlu Han has research rooms, a library, a conference hall, a laboratory and workshops. It has been used as an administration building, and the Mahmut Pasha Vaulted Bazaar has been used as an exhibition hall.

The Anatolian Civilizations Museum, being among exceptional museums with its unique collection, has Anatolian archaeological artefacts and artefacts from the Palaeolithic Age to the present.

Anatolian Civilizations Museum

Anatolian Civilizations Museum reaching the present time with its historical buildings and its deeply rooted history was elected as the first "Museum of the Year" in Switzerland on April 19, 1997.

Palaeolithic Age (....8000): The Age is represented by the remains discovered in the Antalya Karain Cave. The people of Palaeolithic Age were hunting and collecting communities living in caves. The stone and bone tools of the people of that Age are exhibited.

Neolithic Age (8000-5500) : During this age food production began and first settlements were established by the communities of this age. The artefacts of the age were discovered in two important centres of the age, namely Çatalhöyük and Hacılar and are exhibited in the museum. The remains include the mother goddess sculptures, stamps, earthenware containers, agricultural tools made of bone.

Calcolithic (Copper-Stone) Age (B.C. 5500-3000): In addition to stone tools, copper was processed and used in daily life during this age, and rich remains dating from this Age which were discovered in Hacılar, Canhasan, Tilkitepe, Alacahöyük and Alişar are exhibited in the museum.

Old Bronze Age (B.C. 3000-1950): The people living in Anatolia in the beginning of the 3rd millennium B.C. added tin and alloy to copper and invented bronze. They also worked all metals of the age with casting and hammering techniques. Valuable metals, magnificent death presents discovered from royal tombs of Alacahöyük, ruins from Hasanoğlan, Mahmatlar, Eskiyapar, Horoztepe, Karaoğlan, Merzifon, Etiyokuşu, Ahlatlıbel, Karayavşan, Bolu, Beycesultan Semahöyük, and Karaz-Tilki Hill constitute the rich Old Bronze Age and are exhibited in the museum.

Hittites (B.C. 1750-1200): The first political union in Anatolia in the 2nd millennium was established by the Hittites in the Kızılırmak basin. The capital city was Boğazköy (Hattuşaş) and other important centres were İnandık, Eskiyapar, Alacahöyük, Alişar, and Ferzant. Embossed bull figure containers, earthenware artefacts, tablets of government archives, seals in the name of the king can be seen.

Phrygian (B.C. 1200-700) : The Phrygians immigrated from the Balkans in the 1200s and acquired control over Anatolia, their centre was Gordion. The works of art discovered in Gordion and its ruins are the best examples of the Phrygians and are exhibited in the museum.

Urartu (B.C. 1200-600) : The Urartu civilisation reached an advanced architecture and mining technology in centres like Altıntepe, Adilcevaz, Kayalıdere, Patnos, Van, Çavuştepe and lived during the same period as the Phrygians.

Late Hittites (B.C. 1200-700): Upon end of the Hittite Empire, some Hittite communities established province states in south and south-east Anatolia, and the Late Hittites Principalities Period ensued. Malatya-Aslantepe, Kargamış, Sakçagözü are some important Late Hittites settlements.
Our collections including Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Period artefacts from the 1st millennium, made of gold, silver, glass, marble, and bronze and coins represent exceptional cultural assets.

Ancient Jewellery is exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.