1839) Museums Abound in Anatolia

With archaeological excavations constantly unearthing new discoveries across Turkey, Anatolia’s museums are filling up with exciting new discoveries.

The graves of seven gladiators, including Achilles, are on display at the Muğla Museum in the Yatağan district of the city. Museum Director Şevki Bardakçı says there are 8,000 works from different periods at the museum. “Gladiator graves, photos of 8,000-year-old stone portraits and 5-million-year-old fossils attract the most attention,” he said. The gladiator graves are on display in a special 60-square-meter hall. The walls are decorated with giant images portraying wars from that period, giving visitors a better sense of life of the period. One of the gladiator graves belongs to Achilles. “We learn from Greek writings that Achilles was immortalized as a half god, half hero. Achilles dates back 2,000 years,” Bardakçı said. . .

Noting that works from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and modern periods are on display at the museum, Bardakçı said: “There are rhino, giraffe and elephant fossils that go from recent times back 5 million years. As a result of our efforts, there has been an 80 percent increase in visitors to the museum.”

Photos of 8,000-year-old paintings from the Paleolithic period, which were found by German archaeologist Aneliese Peschlow during excavation in the ruins of Latmos in the ancient city of Herakli in Milas, are also on display at the museum.

Museums in Antalya: The Antalya museum has some of Turkey’s richest natural and historical works on display. The museum was established by a teacher named Süleyman Fikri Erten. The museum first operated in the Alaeddin Mosque in 1922, then moved to the Yivli mosque from 1937 and the moved to its present building in 1947. Winning the Europe Council Special Award in 1988, items currently on display in the Antalya museum were obtained during excavations in the region by local and foreign archaeologists. The museum has 13 exhibition halls, titled natural history and pre-history, ceramics, gods, mosaics, marble icons, the Perge Theater, sarcophagi, underground, small artifacts, icons and coins.

Museum Director Selahattin Eyüp Aksu told the Anatolia news agency the museum contain 53,000 works and is among Europe’s top 10 museums. The hall of sarcophagi, which is a new addition in the museum, contains a Dionsysiak sarcophagus from A.D. 2. A sarcophagus with an image of a man and woman was found in Perge during excavations headed by Professor Haluk Abbasoğlu.

Alanya Museum: The museum opened in 1967 as part of efforts to protect and exhibit archaeological and ethnographical works. When the museum first opened no artifacts were found in excavations in the region, so old Bronze Age, Urartu, Frig and Lidya artifacts from the Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museums were transferred to the Alanya museum for display. There are cooked earth, marble, bronze, glass and mosaic findings from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantium period as well as coins, bronze sculptures, mosaics and ethnographical works from 700 B.C. to the period of the Turkish Republic.

A 52-centimeter Hercules sculpture from 200 B.C. is on display in a special room in the museum. The sculpture was found in Asartepe near the Çamlıca village of Alanya in 1967. According to myth, Hercules, the icon of power and strength, killed the monstrous Nema Lion and used its fur for armor. The sculpture depicts Hercules holding the lion’s fur in one hand and a weapon in the other.

Museums in Konya: After the death of Sufi theologian and poet Mevlana on Dec. 17, 1273, a mausoleum was built over his grave. The mausoleum began to function as a museum in 1926. Many local and foreign tourists visit this museum. The courtyard of the museum is entered from the “Dervişan Kapısı” (Gate of the Dervishes). There are dervish cells along the north and west sides of the courtyard. The south side, after Matbah and Hürrem Pasha Mausoleums, terminates with the gate of Hamuşan (Sealed Lips), which opens to Üçler cemetrey. On the eastern side of the courtyard there are mausoleums of Sinan Pasha, Fatma Hatun and Hasan Pasha, the Samahane (Ritual Prayer Hall) next to them and the small mosque (mesjidt) section. In the main building, there is a total of 65 graves belonging to Mevlana’s family members. Under the Green dome is the tomb of Mevlana and his son Sultan Veled. The hall of the mausoleum is entered from a silver door, which was donated in 1599 by Hasan Pasha, who is the son of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha. Here, the oldest copies of the famous works of Mevlana, the “Mesnevi” and “Divan-ı Kebir,” are displayed in two glass fronted cabinets.

The Karatay Madrasa, which is an important example of art from the Anatolian Seljuk period for its encaustic tile workmanship,was opened to the public as the Museum of Encaustic Tile Works in 1955. The entrance is provided from the eastern side via a door made of sky and white marble. The door is a masterpiece of Seljuk stone workmanship. Other items on display are Kubad-Abad Palace encaustic tiles, plaster ornaments, encaustic tile plates, candles, non-glazed ceramics, encaustic tile ruins belonging to the Seljuk period and ceramics belonging to the Seljuk and Ottoman period. In the domed hall, visitors will find ceiling centres of Beyşehir Eşrefoğlu Mosque and ceramics belonging to the Ottoman period.

The Sırçalı Madrasa was constructed during the of Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev II with cut and rubble stones. It was taken under repair and opened to the public as the Grave Monuments Museum. Grave stones belonging to Seljuk, Karamanoğlu and Ottoman periods that were collected from the cemetreies, most of which have been lost to time, are exhbited in the museum.

Among the exhibited works at the Konya Ethnography Museum there are embroideries, sacks of various sizes and types, ornamented bundles, hand towels, drawstrings, hand-painted cloth samples, samples from recent periods of Turkish clothing, wedding clothes, short jackets, robes, underwear, women’s ornamental goods, belt buckles, bracelets, fez hangers, cap samples, coffee cups and envelopes, coffee boxes, coffee pans, coffee mills and coffee set samples.

The Ince Minarat was constructed in the reign of Seljuk Sultan Izzeddin Keykavuz II in 1264, and after various repairs that were started in 1936, it was opened to the public as the Stone and Wooden Works Museum.

In the museum, some exhibitions include construction and repair inscriptions carved on stone and marble belonging to the Seljuk and Karamanoğlu periods, high reliefs belonging to the Konya Fort, door and window wings ornamented with geometric and plant motifs made with carving technique on various wooden materials, samples of wooden ceiling centers and marble tombstones.

The most beautiful samples of the double-headed eagle, which was the symbol of the Seljuks whose capital city was Konya, and winged angel figures are exhibited in this museum.

Museums in the East display region’s rich cultural assets: In museums in Erzurum and Kars, located in the historically rich eastern Anatolia, there are thousands of works from different cultures on exhibit. The Erzurum Fort, the ancient ruins in Kars, and the genocide monument in Iğdır are among the most important historical assets in the region.

Erzurum Museum Director Mustafa Erkmen said the Erzurum Archeology Museum, the Yakutiye Turkish Islamic Works Museums, Ataturk’s House and the Erzurum fort are among the most popular tourist sites in the region. The most important assets in the archeology museum are the 5,000-year-old works from Karaz culture and works from trans-Caucasian culture and the Urartu period.

In the Yakutiye Turkish Islamic Works Museum, there are over 750 items on display. The museum stands inside a madrasa built in 1310 during the Ilhanli period. There are Ottoman costumes, jewelry, hand-writings and inscriptions on display.

The Armenian Massacre Section: There is also a section on ruins found during excavations in areas of genocide against the Turks by the Armenians. “We have on display works obtained in excavations conducted in front of the world. These findings are important in proving that some misleading claims [of genocide] are groundless. In this section, there are three different exhibitions of ruins found in six or seven excavations,” Museum Director Erkmen said. Referring to the Erzurum Fort, Erkmen said the watch tower, the mosque, madrasa, and tomb from the Celtic period have been preserved.

Kars Fort: The museum in Kars, an entry point into Anatolia from the Caucuses, first opened to the public in 1981. There are works from the Paleolithic period, stone axes, digging and cutting tools, a fossil of a dinosaur’s ankle from 2 million years ago, cooked earth works from the old Bronze Age, two bronze Urartu swords, a bronze war belt and bronze bracelets found in the Sarıkamış Micingirl village on display.

Ocaklı village and the Ani Ören region: Ani Ören sits above a plateau on the Arpacay nehri along Turkey’s border with Armenia. There are 10 churches, one bridge, three structural ruins and many building ruins in the Ani Ören region. The remains of a castle, caravan palace, two mosques and two Turkish baths built by Seljuk Sultan Alparslan after he conquered the region in 1064 have been preserved in Ani for tourists to view.

Şanlıurfa Museum: Turkey’s largest collection of historical artifacts are in the Şanlıurfa museum.

In the archaeology hall, there are flint stones from the early and middle Paleolithic periods, flint stones for piercing, stone idols and cups, cup pieces decorated with different animal figures and amphorae pieces marked with seals from the Neolithic period on display.

In the museum’s ethnographic section, visitors will be able to see traditional costumes of the Şanlıurfa region, silver and bronze jewelry, wooden doors, window frames with inscriptions carved on them, calligraphic art and handwritten copies of the Koran.

Balıklıgöl Sculpture: Şanlıurfa Museum Director Nurten Aydemir said the museum opened to the public in 1969 and has 74,000 works on display. The museum has four exhibition halls and many works. Most works are stored in warehouses because the museum does not have enough space to exhibit the vast collection, Aydemir said. All works were retrieved during excavations in the city. One of the most important works is the Balıklıgöl Sculpture, which was obtained 13 years ago during excavations by the Şanlıurfa Municipality Science Works teams. Noting the sculpture belongs to the Neolithic Age, Aydemir said the most important quality of the sculpture is that it is one of the world’s oldest human-sized sculpture. It is 1.92 meters tall and the eyes are original obsidian.

Museum in eastern Black Sea: There is a vast collection of archaeological and ethnographical works in museums in Trabzon, Giresun and Rize. Trabzon Regional Culture and Tourism Director Mehmet Öncel Koç said there are stone, cooked earth, metal and glass works as well as coins and icons from different periods between the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire on display in the archaeological section.

The Ayasofya Museum in Trabzon is one of the most important historical and tourist sites in the region. There are gravestones from the Byzantium and Ottoman period on display in the courtyard. The Trabzon Ayasofya Church was built by Byzantine Emperor Manual Kommenos I and changed into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmet after he conquered Trabzon in 1461.

Giresun Museum: Giresun Museum Vice Director Hulusi Güleç notes that the building was a church in the 18th century and served as church until 1924. It remained empty for several years before it was used as a prison between 1948 and 1968. In 1982 the Ministry of Culture restored the church and opened it as a museum. Güleç said visitors are from outside the city and many foreign tourists are from Greece and Europe. “ The reason Greek tourists are interested in this museum is because their ancestors lived here in the past. Until 1924, Turks and Greeks lived together in the region. Now people, whom we can call the grandchildren of the Greeks, are visiting the museum. They come to learn about the place their ancestors lived,” Güleç said.

Today’s Zaman İstanbul


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