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Anatolian Civilizations Museum - Tour Packages

History of Buildings

The Anatolian Civilizations Museum is in two Ottoman buildings located near Ankara Castle, in the Atpazari district of Ankara. One of the buildings is Mahmut Pasa Bedesteni and the other is Kursunlu Han.

Bedesteni was built by Mahmut Pasa, one of prime ministers (vezirs) of Mehmet the Conqueror during 1464-1471. The building does not have any inscription. In the sources it is recorded 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 historical records and registry books, Kursunlu Han was built as a foundation to finance Mehmet Pasa's (Mehmet the Conqueror's vezir) alms giving in Uskudar, 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 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, 30 rooms on the first floor. The rooms have furnaces. There is a barn with an "L" type on the ground floor on west and south directions of the rooms. On the north side of the han there are 11 shops and 9 shops on 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). Upon orders by Mahmut Pasha the vaulted bazaar was built. He kept his position until 1470. He had his mosque, soup kitchen and madrasa in Uskudar 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 Mubarek Galip Bey, Directorate of Culture, in 1921, in the section of the Castle of Ankara called Akkale. In addition to this museum, artifacts from the Augustus Temple and the Byzantine Baths were also collected. Upon recommendation of Ataturk and from the view of establishing an "Eti Museum" in the center, the Hittite artifacts from the region were sent to Ankara and therefore a larger museum was needed. The Director of Culture at that time, Hamiz Zubeyr Kosay and Saffet Arikan, Minister of Education recommended that the Mahmut Pasa Bazaar and the Inn be repaired and converted into a museum.

This recommendation was accepted and restoration continued from 1938 to 1968. Upon the completion of repairs of the bazaar, where the domed structure is, in 1940, a committee chaired by German Archaeologist H. G. Guterbock arranged the museum. In 1943, while the repairs of the building were still under progress, the middle section was opened for visitors. Repair projects of this part were carried out by Architect Macit Kural and repair work upon tender was performed by Architect Zuhtu Bey. In 1948 the museum administration left Akkale as a storage house, and the museum was in four rooms of Kursunlu Han the repairs of which were completed.

Restoration and exhibition projects of the part around the domed structure were prepared and applied by Architect Ihsan Kiygi. Five shops were left in their original form, and 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. Kursunlu Han, which has been used as an administration building, has research rooms, a library, a conference hall, a laboratory and workshops, and the Mahmut Pasha Vaulted Bazaar has been used as the exhibition hall.

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

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.

Paleolithic Age (....8000):
The Age is represented by the remains discovered in the Antalya Karain Cave. The people of Paleolithic 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 artifacts of the age were discovered in two important centers of the age, namely Catalhoyuk and Hacilar 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 were discovered in Hacilar, Canhasan, Tilkitepe, Alacahoyuk and Alisar and are exhibited in the museum.

Old Bronze Age (B.C. 3000-1950):
The people living in Anatolia in the beginning of 3rd millennium B.C. added tin to copper 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 Alacahoyuk, ruins from Hasanoglan, Mahmatlar, Eskiyapar, Horoztepe, Karaoglan, Merzifon, Etiyokusu, Ahlatlibel, Karayavsan, Bolu, Beycesultan Semahoyuk, Karaz-Tilki tepe constitute the rich Old Bronze Age and are exhibited in the museum.

Hittites (B.C. 1750-1200):
The first political union in Anatolia in 2nd millennium was established by the Hittites in the Kizilirmak basin. The capital city was Bogazkoy (Hattusas) and other important centers were Inandik, Eskiyapar, Alacahoyuk, Alisar, Ferzant. Embossed bull figure containers, earthenware artifacts, 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 center 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 civilization reached an advanced architecture and mining technology in centers like Altintepe, Adilcevaz, Kayalidere, Patnos, Van, Cavustepe and lived during the same times 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, Kargamis, Sakcagozu are some important Late Hittites settlements.

The collections include Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Period artifacts from the 1st millennium, made of gold, silver, glass, marble, bronze and coins represent exceptional cultural assets. Ancient Jewellery is exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.


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