Anitkabir Atattirk Mausoleum and Museum, Ankara
After Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, passed away on November 10, 1938, it was decided that a special mausoleum should be built to house his remains. A competition was held for the best architecturally designed mausoleum. The winning project featured a mausoleum consisting of four sections, housed in a 670,000 m2 complex in the capital city of Ankara
(www.ataturktoday.com). For the mausoleum itself and later, the museum located within the complex, only 22,000 m2 was used. Today, the mausoleum serves as the final resting place of the body of Ataturk.
A Peace Park, featuring a beautifully manicured landscape, replete with different species of plants from all around the world, including Turkey, surrounds the Ataturk Mausoleum. To enter the complex, you have to ascend 26 monumental stairs that lead to a path called Street of Lions, where 24 beautifully sculpted lions adorn each side. This Street of Lions leads visitors to the Ceremonial Square.
The cubic structured, colonnaded mausoleum majestically rises in front of the Ceremonial Square. The colonnades adorn all four sides. Within this structure, there is a separate room, where the body of Ataturk rests in the tomb of the sarcophagus. Surrounding the sarcophagus are eighty-five brass cups, each of which is filled with soil from the eighty-one Turkish provinces and the remaining four from other Turkic countries. Visitors, however, are prohibited from entering this tomb room. There are ten towers within the mausoleum complex, with each one having a special meaning attached to it: Freedom, Independence, Victory, Mehmetfik, April 23, Peace, National Pact, Republic, Preservation of Rights, and Reforms. Inside the mausoleum, the walls and floor are decorated with traditional Turkish carpet motifs. The museum in the complex was a later addition, opening in 1960. It houses some of Ataturk’s personal belongings, such as weapons, identity papers, medals, clothing, books, and memorabilia, and also features a wax model of Ataturk and his stuffed dog. The tomb of ismet Inonfi, the second President of Turkey, has also been placed in this complex.