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  • Writer's pictureYunus Emre Institute

The Ankara Ethnography Museum

The Ankara Ethnography Museum is one of the country’s most extensive collections of Turkish artifacts ranging from the medieval Seljuk period to modern day. The Ethnography Museum was the first museum built by modern Turkey. It is an essential stop for anyone looking to learn more about the history of Turkey’s cultural practices.

In 1925, the Turkish Ministry of Public Education began purchasing artifacts and hired a designer for a museum of Turkish culture. Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu, the most famous architect of the early Republic, planned the museum building. Construction was finished in 1927 and the museum opened in 1930. The builders created an elegant structure with sandstone and marble that also features a central domed courtyard.

The central courtyard is dedicated to Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. When Atatürk died in 1938, his body was laid to rest in a marble sarcophagus located in the courtyard. Atatürk’s remains were moved to his mausoleum, Anıtkabır, in 1953. The courtyard now hosts a garden and a memorial to Atatürk’s temporary interment.

Inside the museum proper one will find the finest examples of Turkey’s heritage on display. The right side of the building focuses on textile arts and coffee traditions from around Anatolia. One of the most important displays depicts the intricacies of a traditional Turkish wedding and the importance of the bride and groom’s clothing. The halls on the left side show tile, ceramic, metal, and woodworking traditions from different regions of Turkey. One of their featured exhibits this year is the Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev Throne, a carefully crafted throne for the Seljuk ruler named Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev dating back to the 13th century.

For the entry price of 14₺, about $2.50, you can affordably access many of Turkey’s priceless treasures.

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