Ankara is not only the capital of the Turkish Republic, but the symbol of the New Turkey. It has developed, in a couple of decades, from an insignificant small provincial town into a city of more than 700.000 inhabitants, of modern metropolis with large boulevards, parks, squares, and all kinds of European style public and private buildings and educational, cultural and social institutions such as Ankara University, the Parliament, Ministries, Hittite Museum, the State Opera, Gazi Educational Institute and, impressively situated on one of the hills of the city, the Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, first president of the Turkish Republic.
It was in Ankara that Ataturk laid down the foundation Movement, known as the War of Independence, which culminated in the victory gained over the invading armies on August 30th. It was also in Ankara that the Turkish Republic was proclaimed on October 29th, 1923.
Researches by Turkish and foreign archeologist in the region of Ankara have proven that it has been inhabited since paleolithic and neolithic time. Howerer, it is only from the beginning of the Hittite period that one can follow the history of Ankara with any degree of clarity, and some archaeologists believe that the city was first built by Hittites who had founded a powerful empire in Anatolia 2.000 years before the Christian era.
After the disintegration of the Hittite Empire about 1.000 B.C. the province of Ankara came under Phrygian rule and, according to an antique legend, the city was founded during the second half of the eighth century by King Midas of Phrygia. With the downfall of the Phrygian rule Ankara fell into the hands of Lydians for a short period. Soon afterward the Persian king Syrus conquerer all of Anatolia (546-545 B.C.)
Two centuries later, Alexander the Great put an end to the Persian rule and, from Gordion, he came to Ankara before going southwards.
In 278-277 B.C. the Galatians, having invaded the region of Ankara which they called Galatia, made the city their capital and laid the foundations of the present day citadel. The Romans entered Ankara in 189 B.C., but withdrew when the Galatians accepted their terms of peace. Ruled for some time by the Kingdom of Pergamum and by Mithridates IV. the Pontic King (88-63 B.C.), Ankara was annexde to the Roman Empire by Pompeius. But the Galatatians remained in Ankara even under the Rome rule.
Although Ankara became a prosperous and flourishing city in this period, it did not lead a very tranquil existence under the domination of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. It was invaded by the Sassasian kings Shapur and Housrev II (620).
Attacked several times by Arabs and others in seventh and eighth centuries, Ankara was finally captured by the Seljuk Turks after they defeated thie Byzantine armies in Malazgirt (1071). Following the Crusaders' invasion, the city was made a Turkish possession. Toward the end, of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth, the city passed through troubled times. But in 1354, it was conquered by Suleyman Pasa son of Orhan Gazi, the second of the Ottoman sultans. Once again Ankara was captured by Tamerlane, who defeated the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit near the City and ook him prisoner. But after Tamerlane's withdrawal (1403), Ankara was brought again under Ottoman rule and for many centuries it prospered as an important trading center on the caravan route to the east ren provinces.
By a law which the Grand National Assembly passed on October 13th, 1923, a few days before the advent of the Republic, Ankara was proclaimed the capital of New Turkey and has since become the symbol of the Kemalist Revolution.
Historic Sites and Monuments in Ankara
The Fortress :
According to reasonable conjecture and some rare documents, it seems that Ankara was at first only a fortress situated at the junction of two routes, east -west and north-south. The reason for its exictence was to watch the defiles leading to the plain, as well as the plain itself. As a primitive fortress, it perched at the top of the rock, a veritable eagle's nest. Hittites, Phrygians and Persians passed by, but probably brought no great change to the fortress and its means of defence. Alexander the Great sieged and captured the fortress. In the period of Augustus the citadel was fortified by new walls built on the plain. During the Byzantine period, the walls half-way to the top were built. Then followed several restorations and re-construction of new walls in the Seljuk Ottoman periods.
The Temple of Augustus :
Next to the Mosque of Hac? Bayram which can be easily reached from Ulus Square, this temple, known in archaelogical literature by the name of Monumentum Ancyranum, is supposed to have been built in the second century B.C. in honor of Cybele, Great Mother of the Gods and of Men, God of the Moon, both worshipped in Phrygia before the Roman conquest. However, according to some archaeologists, the temple have been built in the frist century A. D. The inscription which is an account of the deeds of the Emperor Augustus, was affixed after the construction of the building. After the Roman conquest, the statues of Cybele and Men were replaced in the temple by those of the God personifying the city of Roma and deifying Augustus.
Column of Julianus :
Stands behind the Siimerbank in Ulus Square. This Byzantine monument probably dates from the fourth century.
Roman Baths :
Situated on the boulevard leading, from Ulus to D??kap? (left), these baths date from the first half of the third century.
There are several ancient mosques in Ankara, namely, Alaaddin Camii (1178), Arslanhane Camii (1290-91), Ahi ?erafeddin, dating from the first half to the fourteenth century. Hac? Bayram Camii near the temple of Augustus (XVI Century).
THE HITTITE MUSEUM
The Archaelogical Museum in Ankara was opened to the public in 1951. No museum in the world contains so full and rich a collection of Hittite works. The museum buildings themselves are also of great interest. One of them used to be and old caravan-sarai, and the other was a bedestan (Turkish bazaar), both built half a mlllenium ago by two viziers of Mehmet the Conqueror. On entering the museum the visitor Is confronted with two huge figures : the statue of Hittite king found at the palace gate in Malatya (eight century B. C.) and a sculpture representing the Hittite god of war, proceeding from one of the city gates of Bogazkoy – Hottusas, capital of the Hittite Empire.
The low-relief rock-carving in the museum are typical of the period. They are extremely interesting in that they faithfully depict the habits, costumes, arms and musical Instruments of the Hittites.It was only about 80 years ago that the curiosity of several archaeologists concerning the Hittites was aroused by the basalt blocks inscribed with a peculiar form of writing which had been found at Hamath on the Orontes and at Aleppo. Later a few eminent archaeologists began to study the Hittites more seriously.
About 50 years ago, excavations sponsored by the Museum of Archaeology of Istanbul, unearthed the splendid archives of the Hittites under the ruins of their capital, the famed Hattusas. These consisted of cuneiform writings on baked clay tablets, mostly in Akkadian and Hittite : they were deciphered some twenty years later. They brought to light much of the wonderful history of the Hittites.
Hittite monuments have been recognized at 85 sites in Anatolia. The historian will not fall to evaluate the great contribution of the Hittites in their proper perspective, and place them where they belong In history. Their monuments may be seen in many parts of Turkey, as well as in the unique Hittite Museum In Ankara. Bo?azköy is situated 210 kilometres northeast of Ankara. The route leading to it follows the road Ankara – Çorum until it reaches Sungurlu. Four kilometers past Sungurlu a road on the right will lead you to Bo?azköy.
Mausoleum of Atatürk "ANITKABIR"
The Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, built on a hill known as Rasattepe in the south – west of Ankara, is one of the most remarkable features of the capital. A bus line runs from Ulus Square to Tando?an Square (Tando?an Meydan?) where a large avenue leads directly to the mausoleum visible from the Square.
Contruction was begun in early 1944 and completed in 1953. The structure contains there main parts; the mausoleum, the promenade leading to a visit ceremonial court, and auxiliary buildings. The promenade, approached from 33 wide steps of Kayseri stone, is 100 yards wide and 285 yards long, adorned at each side with twelve statues of Hittite lions. At the rear, trees brought from different regions of Turkey or sent as gift from foreign states from a green background. At each side of the entrance to the promenade stand two towers, that of Liberty on the right and that of Independence on the left. At the exit are two other towers, those of «Mehmetçik» (The symbol of the Turkish Soldier) and of Defense of National Rights.
The Court has four towers, one at each corner : those of the Republic, Victory, Revolution, and Peace.The Mausoleum occupies a space of 180 feet by 235 feet and rises to a height of 70 feet. One the right side of th facade are carved passages from the great speech made by Kemal Atatürk on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Turkish Republic and, on the left side, his message to Turkish youth. At each side of the 33 wide steps leading to the Mausoleum are bas -reliefs symbolizing the Commander in Chief Battle and the Sakarya Battle. The mortal remains of Kemal Atatürk were removed to the Mausolfum in a solemn ceremony on November 10th, 1953, fifteenth anniversary of his death.
MUSEUMS OF ANKARA
Archaeological Museum (in Turkish, Ankara Arkeoloji Müzesi), situated on the slope of the Ankara Citadel. Also called «Hittite Museum*, being the richest museum in the world, so far as Hittite antiquities are concerned. Ethnological Museum (in Turkish, Etnografya Müzesi), on the hill oppossite to the State Opera, near the Atatürk Boulevard. The equestrian statue of Kemal Atatürk in front of the main entrance can be easily seen from the boulevard. Atatürk's House (in Turkish, Atatürk'ün Evi), situated on the Çankaya Hill near the Presidential Palace. It is modest, rustic house where Kemal Atatürk dwelt in early days of New Ankara.
Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk (in Turkish, An?tKabir).