Gwen's Dream Trip 2013...Ireland, Europe and Turkey travel blog

Ataturk's Mausoleum, Ankara

Walkway to Musoleum


2,500 y.old glass items, Museum, Ankara

Roman Baths statues, 2nd century BC, Ankara Museum

We set off early for the long drive to Turkey's capital, Ankara, through gently undulating country with miles of wheat and golden sunflower fields. We travelled alongside a huge saltwater lake for a while, its water a soft blue then a strange purple, with a wide snow-white saltpan around the shoreline.

At Ankara we visited the Mausoleum of Turkey's favourite son, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was the first president and founder of the Republic. He was also responsible for the social and religious reform in the 1930's, that brought Turkey into the modern world, with more western dress and customs among other things. The Mausoleum is a large modern version of a pillared temple, fronted by a huge courtyard, with two other buildings that house museums. There are rather graphic life-size diaramas of scenes from the various wars, including the independence war of the early 20's and Gallipoli; and of course it's interesting to see it from the Turk's perspective rather than just the Gallipoli story we know. There are collections of Ataturk's possessions, with everything from weapons,and bejewelled cigarette cases, to his 1936 of several cars. There is a long walkway of Travertine pavers flanked by statues of regal lions leading to the Mausoleum. It is set on a high point that can be seen from everywhere in Ankara.

We visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, which has large collections of archaeological items, including the most exquisite, finely detailed jewellery from the 1st to the 5th century BC, including fabulous gold pieces from Troy. There are also some astonishing fine glass vessels from that era, that have somehow survived intact. Also marble statues and carved panels from the Roman times, 2nd century BC, plus other stone statues from the 6th to the 8th centuries BC...all beautiful and mind-boggling!

Ankara is a rather modern city, with many government buildings. The suburbs sprawl forever, and even in the outer suburbs, there are few houses, just high-rise apartment blocks. There's lots of new blocks being built too, with the vacant land between sometimes still planted with wheatfields.

Our hotel is really lovely, but out in a green part of the suburbs a bit, away from the older town centre, so I don't get a feel for it as I've done with other places we've been.


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