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Museum of Anatolian Civilisations

Last Updated on January 12, 2024

Located on the same hill as Ankara's ancient Citadel, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi), is a historic caravanserai holding artifacts from up to 7500 years, including the most extensive and valuable collection of Hittite artifacts in the world.

History of the Museum

The history of the museum starts with the request of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for a Hittite museum to be constructed in Ankara. Being the world's broadest Anatolian Civilization museum, it opened its doors to visitors in 1921. Initially located in a smaller area and only available for use by historians, the museum was decided to be moved and renovated to another location, making it accessible to everyone. The renovation and replacement of all the artifacts took quite a while, due to the constant adaptation and meticulous arrangements. In 1968, after a long lasting work,  it took its main form. But later on, in 2010, an expansion work began, and eventually the entire museum fully reopened, on May 13, 2014.

Being such an incredible museum, there is no doubt that it was seen as worthy of a great award. On April 19, 1997, the museum was awarded by the EMF (European Museum Forum) to be the European Museum of the Year. Being chosen first of 68 museums from all around the world, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is the first museum in Turkey to have been awarded with such a prize.

Sections

The initial intention of opening the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations was to construct a “Museum of the Hittites”. This is also why, in the first years of the museum, only Hittite collections were available. Throughout the years, however, with the dispatchment of artifacts from different ages and civilizations, the museum started to take on a broader and different form. So the museum was divided into nine different sections, which can be listed as;

  • The Paleolithic Age
  • The Neolithic Age 
  • The Chalcolithic Age 
  • The Early Bronze Age 
  • The Assyrian Trade Colonies 
  • The Hittites
  • The Frigs 
  • The Urartians 
  • Stone Artifacts Saloon

Location

The museum is located in the center of Ankara, in the Altındağ District. The Ulus Meydanı (Square) is within walking distance to the museum, so the best way to get there is by taking any public transport going through the Ulus Square and walking towards the museum. If you are not willing to walk up steep hills, you can also easily take a taxi.

Our recommendation would be to combine it with the Citadel of Ankara, which is no further than a 15-minute walk. As the Citadel is located in a higher location, it is best to start there and walk down to the museum from there.

When to Visit

The museum is open daily.

During summer time (April 1 - October 1)  it is open from 8:00 am to 7 pm. 

During winter time (October 1 - April 1) it is open from 8:00 am to 5 pm.

On the first day of the religious holidays it is closed until 13.00 (1pm)

— by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Julide Koca

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