Tuesday 2 September 2014

Who is Ataturk?!

Today we had a morning in Ankara…to be honest there isn’t masses here that really appealed to me - even Istanbul residents joke that the best view in Ankara is the train home (thanks, Lonely Planet!)

It’s basically the administrative capital and is home to two main sites: the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and the Anıt Kabir.

Firstly we visited the Museum. Unfortunately, I’m not a museum fan, but the Ottoman building has exhibits from all through Anatolian history. It is arranged chronologically, taking visitors through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman periods.

Here are a few highlights…
Headless statues
Jewels from Troy
A duck-jug...just because!
Original stone letters & envelopes!
And a lot of models of larger ladies...
Our final stop in Ankara was Anıt Kabir (“memorial tomb”), Atatürk’s mausoleum. Atatürk was the leader of the Turkish War of Independence as well as the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.
This tomb is built on Observation Hill, a central place in Ankara that would be seen throughout the city and started construction in 1944.

There are four main parts of Anıt Kabir: the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor and the Peace Park.

We drove through the Peace Park which surrounds the monument and then approached the monument via the Road of Lions.

This walkway is 262m long and lined with 12 pairs of lions, chosen to represent power and piece.

The paving stones are deliberately full of gaps to slow visitors down and encourage appropriate behaviour.

Reaching the end of the Road of Lions we arrived into the Ceremonial Plaza. This large courtyard is designed to accommodate 15,000 people and is decorated with Turkish carpet patterns.

At one end of the plaza is the large structure housing Atatürk’s tomb.

Inside the Hall of Honor is the (symbolic) sarcophagus - he is buried below this in a special Tomb Room in the basement.

Then it was time to head off to Cappadocia.

We settled in for our 5 hour drive, looking at the empty fields around us. Each area of turkey is a specialist area for crops - e.g. sunflower seeds, squash, figs or hazelnuts.

We were delighted to stop at a service station for lunch. I went for Imam Bayildi (stuffed aubergine).

Another stop on the way through central Anatolia was Lake Tuz (“Salt Lake”). It’s the second biggest lake in Turkey and one of the biggest ‘hypersaline’ lakes in the world. As it was the end of summer, the lake had largely dried up, revealing a salt layer (approx 30cm thick). This lake provides 2/3 of Turkey’s salt.

Cue some comedy attempts at perspective playing...

Our final stop before reaching Cappadocia provided another foodie treat - candied chestnuts (kestane şekeri). Delicious! They tasted kind of like date cakes.

Finally we arrived in Göreme, our town in Cappadocia which is know for it’s natural rock formations, called “fairy chimneys”.

We hurried up to a vantage point to admire the sun setting over the rock houses and stunning landscape.

Then we headed to “My Mother’s” for dinner - a gorgeous outdoor place in the small town.

We shared some delicious meze…

…before tucking into chicken cooked in pottery (which was opened in front of us, using a hammer!)

The it was time for an early night as we were being picked up at 4.45am the next day for our hot air balloon ride!

Day 4: Ankara & Goreme, Turkey

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1 comment :

  1. Steph, the American Fanny27 September 2014 at 00:14

    I thought the title was a jab at Sherry on the final day! Haha


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