Anıtkabir (Ataturk Memorial)
The Anıtkabir (literally translated as memorial tomb) is one of the most monumental memorials in all of Turkey. Combining Seljuk and Ottoman art, the monument sits on a central hill that overlooks Ankara. Over 400,000 visitors pay tribute to the memorial daily, by visiting and observing the memorial of the great founder of Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, served as its the Republic's first President from 1923 until his death in 1938. As the president, Atatürk initiated a rigorous program of political, economic, and cultural reforms with the ultimate aim of building a modern, progressive, and secular state. He made primary education free and compulsory, opening thousands of new schools all over the country. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Turkish women received equal civil and political rights during Atatürk's presidency ahead of many Western countries.
The mausoleum was designed by architects Emin Onat and Ahmet Orhan Arda. Their proposals beat 48 other entries from several countries in a competition held by the Turkish Government in 1941 for a monumental tomb for Atatürk.
There are four main parts to Anıtkabir:
The Road of Lions: The Road of Lions is a 860 foot long pedestrian walkway that ensures that the visitors take their time and observe respectful behavior on their way to Atatürk's tomb. It is lined on both sides by twelve pairs of lions; the lions represent 24 Oghuz Turkic Tribes and are shown seated together to showcase power and peace.
The Ceremonial Plaza: The Ceremonial Plaza is situated at the end of the Lions Road, and was designed to accommodate more than 15,000 people.
The Hall of Honor: The Hall of Honor is the location of Atatürk's tomb. Atatürk's tomb is situated right under the symbolic 40-ton sarcophagus in the ground floor of The Hall of Honor, and Atatürk's body is buried below this in a special Tomb Room in the basement level. The room has an octagonal plan in Seljuk and Ottoman architectural styles, and its pyramidal ceiling is inlaid with gold mosaics.
The Peace Park: that surrounds the monument. The park that surrounds the monument is called a Peace Park in honor of Atatürk's famous expression "Peace at home, peace in the world." It contains around 50,000 decorative trees, flowers and shrubs in 104 varieties, donated from 25 countries from around the world.
The memorial is also a host to Anıtkabir Atatürk Museum, which opened on 21 June 1960. Atatürk's personal items, his wardrobe, and some of the gifts presented to him are on display in this museum. Atatürk's medals, decorations and some personal items donated to the museum by his adopted children are also exhibited in the museum.