Anıtkabir Overview

One of the most notable modern architecture examples sitting high on Ankara’s hilltop has to be the Atatürk Mausoleum, Anıtkabir. It was designed by Emil Onat, the renowned Turkish architect who constructed its complex between the years 1944 to 1953. This mausoleum is known to be the sepulture place of the Turkish Republic’s first president and founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The lavish memorial bears testimony to the undeniable magnitude of Ataturk’s legacy and as a visitor, you are bound to be in awe of its dominance and enormity. If you have ever been to Athens then you will be quick to realize that the mausoleum bears an uncanny resemblance to the Parthenon, because of its tall columns right at the entrance. Explore this remarkable site on Turkey tours, immersing yourself in the historical grandeur of Ataturk's legacy.

For any architecture lover, this is the grandest feat of Turkish-style architecture popular worldwide because of its spectacular architectural elements and is totally worth a visit. For years, the complex of the mausoleum has only amazed the visitors with its mammoth size. Whenever you enter the complex of the tomb that is located between two square-size kiosks, you will find various awe-inspiring stylized statues. 

There is a kiosk on the right that shelters photos and models of the Atatürk's complex taken during the time when it was being constructed. While you continue walking along an avenue of neo-Hittite lion monument statues made of stone, you will find General Ismet Inönü’s cenotaph.

Inönü was the victorious general during the Independence war of Turkey, the chief of staff, comrade-in-arms, prime minister, diplomat, and also the Turkish Republic’s second president. It is opposite the cenotaph of Inönü, that you will find the Anıtkabir, standing timeless and simple in style but as imposing and grand as it can get.

There are high-stepping guards parading before it and whenever you make an entry into the mausoleum through the huge doors made of brass, you are going to quickly realize and appreciate Atatürk's impact as you have to remove your hat out of reverence (the guard reminds you to do so if you let it slip).

How To Reach

By Taxi:
If you opt for the quickest means to reach Anıtkabir then it is recommended that you board a taxi. It is also one of best ways to reach Anıtkabir from Ankara airport because the total driving distance between Ankara airport and Anıtkabir is twenty-five kilometers with the distance on road is twenty-nine kilometers.

By Bus:
The cheapest way to reach from (ESB) Ankara airport to Anıtkabir is by boarding a bus that travels through Beştepeler Mh.Mevlana Blv.Yenimahalle Mahalle, and takes one hour one minute to reach the mausoleum, including transfers. Anyone traveling on a budget and intends to save money on conveyance can board a public bus, departing every twenty minutes.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Anıtkabir is during the dry season that extends between July to October, as the mausoleum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 AM to 03:00 PM. The summer season from April to June is typically hot and dry besides November to March face snowy and cold winters, therefore the ideal time to visit is between July to October. 

Ninety-five percent of the visitors visit Anıtkabir around 09:00 AM to 10:00 AM to enjoy bright views of the mausoleum and take vanity shots before a grand backdrop in the morning sunlight. However, the afternoon time starting from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM is an ideal time to witness the changing of guard.

Other Essential Information

Yücetepe, Akdeniz Cd. No:31, 06570 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey

Entry fee:
You do not have to buy any tickets to enter the Anıtkabir as the custom of buying tickets to enter the premises ended more than a year ago. So, you can enter free of cost, and witness this modern mausoleum of a much-revered leader drawing hundreds and thousands of visitors, alongside Turkish Nationals. 

Opening hours:
The Anitkabir stays open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 PM in summers and till 4:00 PM in the evenings during winter. This mausoleum closes for a brief amount of time from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM for lunch. 

Distance from Ankara Airport:
The total distance between Anıtkabir and (ESB) Ankara Airport is twenty-five kilometers while the distance on road is close to twenty-nine kilometers.

History of Anıtkabir

Anıtkabir is a memorial and monumental site of Mustafa Kemal, The Turkish Independence War’s leader,  founder, and president of the modern Turkish Republic also called the Atatürk Mausoleum. Assistant Professor Ahmet Orhan Arda and Emin Onat were the chief architects who designed Anıtkabir, as their proposal beat forty-nine entries from countries namely Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Turkey, in a contest that the Turkish Government hosted in 1941.

The site where Anıtkabir stands today was an observation hill called Rasattepe overlooking the neighborhood of Çankaya, used to be Ankara’s central location, visible from all sides of the city. It took nine years to build Anıtkabir as the construction was divided into four phases, with the first phase commencing with a ceremony to place the understructure on the 9th of October, 1944.

During the primary construction stage, many remnants belonging to the ancient state of Phrygians were unearthed, and those were kept at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s administration period, which extended from 1923 to 1938, the plans to rest his final remains began as one of the superior commissions.

Before the construction of Anıtkabir was finished, the remains of Atatürk lay in the ethnographic museum of Ankara but they were brought in the mausoleum in 1953 on the 10th of November to mark Mustafa Kemal’s fifteenth anniversary of death.

Architecture and Construction of Anıtkabir

Construction Phases -

- First Phase:
The first phase of construction involved soil leveling and building the Aslanlı Yol’s retaining walls. It began on the 9th of October in 1944 and was completed by October 1945.

- Second Phase:
The Second Phase of construction involved constructing the auxiliary buildings and mausoleum that began on 29 September 1945 and got completed on 8th august 1950. 

- Third Phase:
The third phase of construction involved building works of Tören Meydani and Aslanli Yol’s stone paving, the mausoleum’s stone pavement, the steps of the stairs, and the installation of the sarcophagus. It was completed by the 12th of September in 1950. 

- Fourth Phase:
The fourth phase of construction involved building the Hall of Honor, stone profiles around it, fringe decorations, and the vaulting of its vaults.

Anıtkabir spans across an area of 740,000 square meters and is divided into two distinct parks called the “Monument Block” that covers 750,000m²,  and “Peace Park” that covers 630,000m² of the area. The Peace Park’s construction inspired by the famous phrase of Atatürk, “Peace at home then peace in the world”, has 48,500 trees, and about 104 types of ornamnetal plants.

On the other hand the “Monument Block” is divided into three sections that include the Mausoleum, Ceremonial Ground, and the Lions Alley. This monument has various reliefs expressing the Turkish Independence War,  Atatürk’s life and the Republic besides statues.

Talking about specific elements of architecture, you will be enthralled to know that the “Monument Block” is composed of red marbles  imported from Hatay, black marble from Adana, green from Bilecik, and tiger-hide marble from  Afyon. 

The white travertines imported specially from Malıköy and Polatlı that were used to make the interior walls within the towers, lion sculptures, other sculptures, and mausoleum colonies. The yellow-colored travertines were imported specially from Çankırı’s Eskipazar and they were used to construct the Hall Honor, colonies outlining the Tören square and victory reliefs.

One of the most striking features of Anıtkabir is the monolithic stones above which the sarcophagus of Atatürk’s rests. Each stone weighs about forty tons individually and they are known to be cut from the mountains of Gavur in the district of Adana, having been produced in Kayseri for a whopping twenty-five Turkish Liras. 

The paved road made of travertine, known as Aslanlı Yolu that leads to Tören Square is well decorated with junipers and roses on either side along with lion statues. At the Aslanlı Yolu’s end, you will reach a zone that is surrounded by columns and side buildings 129x84.25 meters in size.

You have to descend three steps to reach the “Ceremonial Square”, the flooring of which is laid with white, yellow, red, and black travertine stones. The mausoleum is one of the most important parts of Anıtkabir and is a building of two-stories with a staircase of forty-two steps coming from Tören Square. 

Towers of Anıtkabir

Within the site of Anıtkabir, there are ten towers in total having symmetrical positioning. It is the mighty ideals that influenced creation of Turkey as a nation and state, thus for the purpose of symbolization of these great ideals, the towers were erected. They are squarish but rectangular in shape with dimensions of 12x14x7.20 meters and possess pyramidal roofs. 

1. The Independence Tower 
When you approach the Anıtkabir from Tandoğan Square, you will have to cross a driveway that goes through the park to reach a flight of stairs. When you ascend the stairs, you will find the Freedom and Independence towers greeting you.

To the Independence tower’s right, you will find a youth holding the sword nearby the entrance, here, the Turkish nation, protector, and the army are represented by the youth. On the other hand, Turkish strength is represented by the Eagle Coat of Arms that belongs from the era of the Seljuks, you will find words of Atatürk inscribed there year-wise.

2. The Freedom Tower
The Freedom Tower lies on the left and upon entering this tower you will find a horse’s relief that represents freedom. There is a female angel holding the “Freedom Declaration” in her hands and there are Atatürk’s words inscribed on it.

Right on the Freedom Tower Front, you will see a group statue consisting of three men, where the figure that holds the book, represents Turkey’s youth, a helmeted figure represents the soldiers of Turkey, and the third statue represents the farmers of Turkey.

Opposite to the three statues of men you will find three statues of women dressed alike. These women together are known to express grief over Atatürk’s death.  In the Freedom Tower, you will also find Lion’s Road with twenty-four statues of a lion symbolizing protection, strength, and power.  

3. Defense of rights tower 
The place where Lion’s Alley ends, you will find an open and large meeting area and on its left, you will come across the Defense of rights tower. This tower was erected in honor of the societies federated by Atatürk, where there is a wall relief of a youth leaning on the sword stretching his hand out. This gesture symbolizes resistance to foreign occupation and the stance, epitomizes stopping the enemy.

4. Mehmetcik (Turkish Soldier) Tower 
To the opposite of the Defense of rights tower lies the MEHMETCIK (Turkish Soldier) TOWER that portrays a soldier going to the war front leaving his house behind. Here also you will find various sayings of Atatürk inscribed and these are regarding the country’s women, and soldiers. 

5. The Victory Tower  
Within the Victory Tower area, there is a caisson that bears Atatürk's casket from the Palace of Dolmabahçe in Istanbul, awaiting the fleet on the 19th of November 1938 at Sarayburnu.

6. The Peace Tower  
At the end of the porch there lies the Peace Tower that has a relief illustrating the military personnel of Turkey, with his drawn sword to protect everyone. You will find several sayings of Atatürk, regarding the peace, on the wall. 

7. The 23 April Tower
On April 23rd, 1920, the Grand National Assembly was inaugurated and this date has been declared as a national holiday in Turkey. The tower, with the relief work, commemorates this historical date. You will find a woman standing, holding a key on one hand and paper that has the Grand National assembly’s opening date, symbolizing its opening.

8. Misaki Milli (The National Pact) Tower
At the museum’ entry lies the MISAKI MILLI (The National Pact) tower, and relief inside it symbolizes an obligation in unity. You will find the relief displaying four hands that join on the hilt of the sword, and the composition exemplifies the oath of the nation to save the country of Turkey. 

9. Reforms Tower 
This Reforms Tower is the museum’s extension and all of Atatürk’s garments have been displayed here. There is a relief inside the wall of the tower that reveals a feeble hand holding the lamp about to dout, and the gesture symbolizing the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, while you will find another muscular hand raising the radiating lamp, typifying Atatürk’s raising of Turkey to transform it into a contemporary civilization. 

10. Tower of the Republic
The Tower of the Republic presents entry into the gallery of art, and on the wall, you will find written aphorisms of Atatürk’s about the Turkish Republic.

Tips on visiting Anıtkabir

- Keep an account of the timings of Anıtkabir before you set forth as it is important that you have ample information in relation to when it opens, how long it stays open, and the closing time.

Take time in hand to witness the entire mausoleum as there are several hours required to see this mausoleum because you have to walk around the huge complex, hence for an in-depth visit, you must allocate your precious hours.

Do not miss out on changing of guards as it is worth observing the changing of guards that include loud stomping, goose-stepping and calling out ceremonial orders that you must not miss.

Avail the best means of transportation Before coming to Anıtkabir, you must research well on both the quickest, and cheapest mode to reach, and accordingly choose a public bus or taxi.
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Anıtkabir FAQs

Who was Mustafa Kemal Atatürk?

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the independent Turkish Republic from the Ottoman empire ruins and was an officer in the army. Later on, he went on to serve Turkey by being its very first president who discharged his duties from 1923 to 1938, executing reforms that westernized, and secularized the country rapidly. He was known for stifling opposition with an extremely authoritarian hand as under his leadership Islam’s role shrank drastically in public, European-style codes of the law got introduced, new dress and language requirements were injuncted besides The Sultan’s office was abolished.

When is Anitkabir open?

The Anitkabir stays open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 PM in summers and till 4:00 PM in the evenings during winter. This mausoleum closes for a short duration from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM for lunch.

What hotels are near An?tkabir?

There are many hotels near the An?tkabir with the top picks being the Güvenay Business Hotel lying 1.8 kilometers away, Hotel Anittepe Vilayetler Evi lying 0.5 kilometers away, and Kahya Hotel Ankara lying one kilometer away from An?tkabir. There are many other properties in the vicinity of An?tkabir and none of them are farther than 2 kilometers.

What attractions are near Anitkabir?

Some of the major attractions that are located near An?tkabir include the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Atakule Tower located in the most modern and trendiest Cankaya district known for shopping, the magnificent, brilliant,glorious, powerful and stunning Kocatepe Mosque. Other attractions nearby An?tkabir include the Ankara Citadel, and the old and historic Old Quarters.

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