Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic of Great Leaders of the Turkish War of Independence and Turkish Revolutions, took the initiative in order to win the independence of the Turkish homeland and the revolution that he carried out in order to bring the Turkish nation to the level of contemporary civilization lived for 57 years.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a great leader who made Turkey a member of contemporary civilization with all its institutions. The idea of making a mausoleum that reflects every aspect of the glory of him and reflect his principles and reforms and his thoughts of modernization appeared as a common request of the Turkish people who were in deep sadness of losing Atatürk and then, the construction started.
The name of Anittepe was Rasattepe (Observatory Hill) due to the presence of the observatory station before the An?tkabir was built.
On this hill, there were tumuli (gravestones) belonged to the Phrygian civilization that established a state in Anatolia in the 12th century BC. After the decision of Anitkabir construction in Rasattepe, some sets of archaeological excavations were carried out to remove these tumuli. The artifacts uncovered from these tumuli are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations today.
ARCHITECTURAL PROPERTIES OF ANITKABIR
In the Turkish architecture, the period between the years 1940-1950 is called the “Second National Architecture Period”. In this period, the monuments which predominantly monumental and emphasized symmetry were quite popular. Anitkabir carries the characteristics of this period.
The Seljuk and the Ottoman architectural features and decoration items are also frequently found in Anitkabir with these periodic features.
For example, on the outer facades, there is a border called the saw tooth in the Seljuk stone work that surrounds the towers on the sides where the walls are joined with the roof. In addition, some parts of the Anitkabir (Turkish Soldier Tower, Museum Management) with the stone carvings and rosettes stone decorations are also striking examples of art of the Seljuk and the Ottoman art.
An?tkabir covers an area of 750.000 m² and is divided into two parts as Peace Park and Memorial Park.
The Lion Road
The Lion sculptures on the Lion Road
The 242 lion statues representing 24 Oghuz Tribes (ancestors of Turk race) in the position sitting on both sides of the 262-meter-long road were made in order to prepare the visitors before appearing before Atatürk’s presence. The sculptors are arranged in pairs, which represents the unity of the Turkish nation. Because of Atatürk’s importance to Turkish and Anatolian history, the lion sculptures with the art style of the Hittites, who established the civilization in Anatolia, represent strength and calmness. The road is tiled with travertine stones. At the end of the road, a giant Turkish flag and the whole district of Cankaya are visible. The lioans are the work of sculptor Huseyin Anka Ozkan.
The Turkish Soldier Tower
Mehmetçik (Turkish Soldier) Tower
At the end of the lion road, ‘Mehmetçik Kulesi’ can be seen on the right. On the outer surface of the wool, the departure of Mehmetçik from his house is pictured. In this illustration, a sad, but proud mother whose hand is on her son’s shoulder and sends her to battle for the nation’s independence is portrayed.
On the walls of the wool are the words that Ataturk said about Mehmetçik and Turkish women.
The most important part of An?tkabir, is the 42-steps going up to the grave of Ataturk’s mausoleum. The ceremony square of the marble court is decorated with circular geometric motifs and in the middle Ataturk’s remarks: “Sovereignty rests unconditionally with the nation” is written. The rostrum is the work of Kenan Yontuç.
The mausoleum was built on a long rectangular plan surrounded by fourteen columns with front and back eight sides and high side façades. On the left of the mausoleum, Atatürk Addressee to the Turkish youth, and on the right is the 10th Anniversary of the Republic Speech of Ataturk. The letters are written in gold on a relief of stone.
The Grave Room
Atatürk’s body is on the ground floor of the mausoleum, directly buried in a grave. The tomb room under the symbolic sarcophagus on the first floor of the mausoleum is decorated with pyramidal cones and geometric motifs in octagonal style in Seljuk and Ottoman architectural style. The floors and walls are covered with black, white and red marbles. In the center of the grave chamber is a red marble sarcophagus. There are brass vases around the marble filled with a little earth from all cities in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.
This section is closed for the visitors. However, it is shown on a screen live during the visit hours.
Ataturk and the Independence War Museums
Two large structures on the sides of the mausoleum building were designated as two different museums. Anitkabir Ataturk Museum was opened on 21 June 1960. Here are the items used by Atatürk and the gifts and clothes that are presented to him.
The museum, renovated by the General Staff and added new sections and named as Atatürk and War of Independence Museum. It opened on August 26, 2002 (on the 80th anniversary of the Great War). With the new regulation, 3000 square meters’ area under Atatürk mausoleum was included in the museum. The vaulted section, which was reserved for the burying of the presidents but was not used, was transformed into the exhibition areas of Atatürk’s revolutions. With the addition of new sections, the museum where not only Ataturk’s goods are not exhibited, but the Canakkale War and the War of Independence sculptures.