The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations consists of two Ottoman buildings in the district called Atpazarı in Ankara Ulus district, on the southeast side of the outer wall of the Ankara Castle. One of these structures is Mahmut Pasha Bedesten and the other is Kurşunlu Han.
It is estimated that the Mahmut Pasha Bedesten was built by Mahmut Pasha, one of the chief viziers of the Fatih period, between 1464-1471. Kurşunlu Han was built as a foundation for the imaret of Mehmet Pasha, one of the chief viziers of the Fatih period, in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul. It was converted into a museum as a result of its work.
With the completion of the restoration of most of the domed space in the middle of the bedesten in 1940, the works began to be placed, and in 1943, while the repair of the buildings continued, the middle section was opened to visitors. The museum structure took its final shape in 1968. Kurşunlu Han, which is used as an administrative building today, has researcher rooms, library, conference hall, laboratory and business workshops, and Mahmut Paşa Bedesten is used as an exhibition hall.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which has reached today with its historical buildings and deep-rooted history, was chosen as the “Museum of the Year in Europe” on 19 April 1997 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Anatolian archaeological artifacts are exhibited in chronological order starting from the Paleolithic Age to the present at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which is among the world’s leading museums with its unique collections today.
Paleolithic Age Section (Travel time: 10 min.)
Paleolithic Age, which started in Anatolia in 1.000.000 and ended 11.000 years ago is divided into four periods as Lower, Middle, Upper and Epipalaeolithic.
The Paleolithic people, who did not know the production yet, were fed by consuming wild vegetables, fruits and roots and the animals they hunted. They used stone tools to hunt animals and collect plant roots.
The Epi-paleolithic Period, which takes part in the transition from Paleolithic to Neolithic, is characterized by microlithic tools. Tiny stone tools called microliths were used as weapons. You can see chipped stone tools and cores made of quartz, flint and radiolarite in this section.
Neolithic Section (Duration: 10 min.)
This age, which consists of two periods as Pottery and Pottery Neolithic between 10.000 and 5.500 BC, is represented in the museum with works of Çatalhöyük and Hacılar.
In addition to hunting and gathering, agriculture started in the Neolithic Age, when the first producer village life began and animals were domesticated. You can see human and animal figurines, ornaments, bone, flint and obsidian tools as well as terracotta and stone vessels in this section.
It is thought that the volcanic Hasan Mountain is depicted behind the village, which consists of quadrangular structures adjacent to each other, in the wall painting in Çatalhöyük, which is the world’s first city plan.
Chalcolithic Section (Duration: 10 min.)
The Chalcolithic Age, which tells about the process from village to urbanization between 5.500-3000 BC, includes cultural diversity reflecting the regionally different socio-economic structure of Anatolia.
The most important change in the Chalcolithic Age, in which the ruling class and craftsmen emerged, was the beginning of mining. Villages have become increasingly crowded, weaving and ceramic production have increased along with agriculture and animal husbandry.
This section mainly consists of works by Hacilar, Canhasan, Tilkitepe, Alacahöyük, Alisar and Karaz. You can see Hacilar’s well-fired, burnished, red-lined, rich geometric patterned vessels, Canhasan’s copper scepter head, metal and stone stamps of Alisar, which show the development of private ownership, in the Chalcolithic Age section.
Early Bronze Age Section (Duration: 15 min.)
In this period, which is dated to 3000-1950 BC; Alacahöyük Horoztepe, Eskiyapar, Karaoğlan, Ahlatlibel, Beycesultan, Karatas-Semayük, a region in Turkey’s mainly Hasanoğlan is represented with works from the Early Bronze Age center.
With the establishment of city states, village life moved to cities and local principalities were established. Mining has been effective in all areas of life with the acquisition of bronze by adding tin to copper, its melting at high heat and realizing that it becomes solid again when it cools down.
In this section, you can see religious ceremonial objects made of metals such as bronze, gold and silver in Alacahöyük and Horoztepe King Tombs and Eskiyapar settlement area, jewelery such as necklaces, bracelets, crown belts, pins and metal vessels. Horoztepe and Hasanoğlan sculptures are also among the works in this section.
Assyrian Trade Colonies Section (Duration: 10 min.)
At the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, the Period of Assyrian Trade Colonies was experienced in Anatolia. This period, which covers a period of about 200 years, is the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age in Anatolia.
Assyrian merchants who came to Anatolia for trade brought the cuneiform script they learned and used from the Sumerians and the written history in Anatolia started.
Terracotta and stone pots, seals and seal impressions, statuettes, lead god-goddess figurines and stone molds, cosmetic boxes, gold items and jewelry, bronze tools and weapons, which were found in Kültepe, Acemhöyük, Alisar and Boğazköy excavations, can be seen in this section.
Kültepe tablets, which are the oldest written documents of Anatolia, animal shaped ceremonial vessels called ritons, cuneiform bronze dagger belonging to the King of Kanish Anitta, and the ivory box found in Acemhöyük are the works that should be seen.
Hittite Section (Travel time: 10 min.)
The Hittite State, which ruled in Anatolia between 1750-1200 BC, is the first state of Anatolia that was administered by a central system.
Based on the Assyrian Trade Colonies Period, the Hittite art was enriched by the achievements of a great empire and is unique in civilizations outside of Anatolia.
Başkent Boğazköy, İnandık, Eskiyapar, Alacahöyük, Alisar, Ferzant, Maşathöyük are important Hittite centers.
The Inandık vase, one of the most beautiful examples of the Hittite embossed vase tradition, god and goddess figurines made of ivory, gold and bronze, large animal shaped ceremonial vessels, cuneiform clay tablets, seal impressions of Hittite kings and queens as well as bronze, the only example in Anatolia. Tablet and the letter of friendship written by the Egyptian queen Naptera to the Hittite queen Puduhepa are works that should be seen especially in this section.
Phrygian Section (Duration: 10 min.)
In this section, groups of works in which radical changes were noticed in almost all cultural elements after the collapse of the Hittite Empire in 1200 BC are exhibited. The change in the tradition of work that has been going on in Anatolia for centuries is also a sign of a new community coming to Anatolia.
In addition to the difference in ceramic forms and the art of decoration, it can be seen how advanced the Phrygians are, especially in metal and woodwork. In this section, works from centers such as Alisar, Boğazköy, Kültepe, Pazarlı and Maşathöyük are exhibited, mainly from the capital Gordion Tumuli.
Bronze cauldrons, animal head-shaped situlas, Phiale-bellied bowls with omphalos, wooden service table and animal shaped miniature toys and terracotta goose shaped rythons are the remarkable works of the section.
Urartu Section (Duration: 10 min.)
In this section, artifacts found in Van-Altıntepe, Ağrı-Patnos, Erzincan-Altıntepe, Van-Toprakkale, Muş-Kayalıdere and Adilcevaz and Giyimli village belonging to the Urartu State established in Eastern Anatolia between 900-600 BC are exhibited.
The Urartians, who have reached an advanced level in terms of mining and architecture, have demonstrated their architectural success with their unique temples and palaces with multi-column reception halls, dams, ponds, irrigation canals and the roads they built.
In the Urartu Section; You can see furniture accessories and ornaments made of bronze and ivory, bronze belts, votive plates, silver and bronze pins, fibulae, bracelets, necklaces made of various stones, ornaments, various pots, harnesses, war tools and agricultural tools made of iron. The lying lion, which was found in Altıntepe excavations and exhibited in this section, formed by the combination of more than a hundred ivory plates, is the largest lion figurine made of ivory in Asia Minor.
Stone Works Hall (Duration: 20 min.)
Hittite Imperial Period Alacahöyük reliefs (14th century BC), orthostats of the Late Hittite Principalities Period (1200-700 BC), with works from the principalities such as Malatya, Kargamış, Sakçagözü, Zincirli, and Phrygian reliefs (1200-700 BC) around Ankara. represented by those found.
Sculpture fused with architecture in Hittite art. Particularly, the door entrances are covered with semi-sculptural animal reliefs and the lower rows of the front façades of the monumental buildings with relief stone blocks called “orthostats”.
In Phrygians, reliefs decorated the tomb entrances. The “Goddess Kubaba” orthostat holding a pomegranate in his hand and the “King Mutallu” statue made under Assyrian influence are among the Late Hittite works that must be seen.