ATATURK’S GRAVE, ANITKABIR
General Directorate Of Monuments and Museums
His life full of wars for independence of Turkish country and revolutions to raise the Turkish nation to level of modern civilization, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader in the Turkish War of Independence and Turkish Revolutions, and founder of Turkish Republic, died on November 10th 1938.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a great leader, who turned Turkey into member of modern civilization, with all institutions. To build a mausoleum that would represent his eminence, and thoughts about principles, revolutions and modernization, emerged as a common idea of the Turkish nation, during the great sadness following the death of Atatürk.
As there was an observation station on the site before building Anıtkabir, the name of Anıttepe was formerly Rasattepe.
There were barrows related to the Frig civilization, which lived in Anatolia in the 12th century B.C. on this hill. After the decision to build Anıtkabir to this hill, archeological studies were carried out and the barrows removed. The findings the from barrows are exhibited in Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
In the first stage on starting construction, the nationalization procedure was initiated. The construction of Anıtkabir was started in 9th November 1944, with a magnificent ceremony. Construction was completed in 9 years, in 4 stages.
Construction of First Stage: 1944 – 1945
The first stage, including the construction of the supporting wall of the lion road and the ground level, was started on November 9th 1944 and completed in 1945.
Construction of Second Stage: 1945 – 1950
The second stage, including the construction of the mausoleum and buildings that surround ceremony area, was started in 29th September 1945, and completed on August 8th 1950. At this stage, the “foundation project” of the monument body was decided to be prepared, in order to reduce the foundation pressure, according to the building’s construction system. By the end of 1947, foundation excavation and isolation were completed, and an iron assembly 11 meters high reinforced the concrete foundation system, which would prevents any kind of subsidence, were just about to completed.
The entrance turrets and most of the road arrangement, nursery facility, forestration work and watering system of the area were mostly completed.
Construction of Third Stage: 1950
The third stage of construction included the roads to the monument, the lion road, the ceremony area, stone plating of the upper part of the mausoleum, steps, placing the sarcophagus and installation work.
Construction of Fourth Stage: 1950 – 1953
Preparation of the honor hall, lower parts of vaults, stone profiles of the honor hall, and ornamentation of eaves were completed in the fourth stage of construction. This stage was started on November 20th 1950, and completed on September 1st 1953.
In the “Anıtkabir Project”, there was the vault section that rises over colonade. On December 4th 1951, the government asked architects if it was possible to finish the building earlier, in the case of lowering the height of 28 meter honour hall.
After the studies of architects, it was found possible to cover hall of honour with a reinforced concrete ceiling, instead of stone vaults. This would also prevent the technical problems arising from the weight of the vault.
In the construction of Anıtkabir, different colors of travertine were used as exterior plating material over concrete and marble for plating inside of the mausoleum.
The white travertine that is used in statues, lion statues and mausoleum columns were from Kayseri / Pınarbaşı, and white travertine used in inside walls of turrets were from Polatlı and Malıköy. Black and red travertines from Kayseri / Boğazköprü were used in plating of floors of ceremony area and turrets, and yellow travertines from Çankırı / Eskipazar were used for the victory reliefs and columns that surround the hall of honour and the ceremony area.
Cream, red and black coloured marbles used in floor of honour hall were from Çanakkale, Hatay and Adana, the tiger skin used in the hall of honour’s inside interior walls was from Afyon, and green coloured marble was from Bilecik. The sarcophagus stone in one piece, which weighed 40 tons, was taken from Adana / Osmaniye, and white marbles that plates the side walls of the sarcophagus were taken from Afyon.
ARCHITECTURAL PROPERTIES OF ANITKABİR
The period between the years 1940 and 1950 is called “2nd National Architecture Period” in Turkish architecture. In this period, more monumental, symmetrical buildings were erected, with cube shaped stones. Anıtkabir bears the signs of this period.
With the properties of this period, Anıtkabir also bears features of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture and ornamental details.
As an example, in the outer surfaces, where ceiling and walls unite, there is a border which is called saw tooth pattern in Seljuk. Also some ornaments such as passionflower and rosette, found in some places in Anıtkabir (Mehmetçik Turret, Museum Management), are from Seljuk and Ottoman art.
With all these properties, Anıtkabir is one of the best examples for that period, which covers approximately 750.000 m2. Anıtkabir can be separated into two parts: Peace Park and the Monument Block
A – PEACE PARK
Anıtkabir is placed in the Peace Park, which is created with saplings from several foreign countries and from several regions of Turkey, that is inspired from the epigram of Atatürk; “Peace at home, peace in the world”.
Several trees and saplings were taken from Afghanistan, United States, Germany, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Iraq, England, Spain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Norway, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Greece. Today, the Peace Park contains approximately 48.500 trees and plants, from 104 different species.
B – MONUMENT BLOCK
The Monument Block contains three parts.
1. Lion Road
2. Ceremony Area
When entered from Tandoğan gate, the road in Peace Park leads to 26 stepped wide stairs to the Lion Road. At the top of the stairs, independence and liberty turrets can be seen facing one another.
In the Anıtkabir building complex, there are ten turrets, which are placed symmetrically. These turrets are named with eminent concepts, according to their effects to the foundation of our nation and government. The turrets are similar to each other with their plan and structure. The Turrets are based on a square-shaped 12x14x7.20 meter rectangle, and covered with pyramid-shaped roofs. On the top of the roofs, bronze spear tips from old Turkish tents are visible. Geometrical ornaments from old Turkish kilim (woven carpet) motifs are applied in fresco technique.
Also, Atatürk’s aphorisms related with that turret can be found on the inside of the walls.
The Independence Turret is placed on the right, at the beginning of Lion Road. On the reliefs on the interior walls of Independence Turret, a young man holding a sword with both hands, standing and a eagle figure on a rock beside youth, can be seen. The Eagle is the symbol for power and independence in mythology and Seljuk art. The young man with sword represents Turkish nation as defending independence. Relief are work of Zühtü Müridoğlu.
Also there are aprohisms of Atatürk, related with independence:
“When our nation seemed come to an end, her ancestor’s voice called her to revolt, and to our War of Independence.” (1921) “Life means battle, combat. Succes in life will be possible only through succes in battle.” (1927)
“We are a nation that wants life and independence, and we will pay with our life.” (1921)
“There is no choice such as begging for justice and mercy. The Turkish nation, future Turkish children, should bear this in mind forever.” (1927)
“This nation never lived without independence, can’t live, and won’t live without it. Independence or death.” (1919)
There is an Anıtkabir scale model, and there are illuminated boards in the turret.
In the relief inside the Liberty Turret, on the left side of the beginning of the Lion Road, there is an angel figure holding a paper and a rearing horse. The angel figure symbolizes the sacredness of independence, with the paper “Independence Declaration”. The horse is the symbol of liberty and independence. The reliefs are the work of Zühtü Müridoğlu.
In the walls of the turret, some words of Atatürk about liberty read as follows:
“The issue is the life of the Turkish nation as a respected nation. This is only possible with independence. Despite all riches, without independence, they are nothing more than a manservant before mankind.”
“According to me, maintaining a nation’s honor and humanity is possible with that nation’s liberty and independence.
“Freedom, equality, and justice, all depends on national preeminence.” In the turret, a photograph exhibition on the construction of Anıtkabir and stone samples from construction can be seen.
WOMAN STATUE GROUP
In front of the liberty turret, there is a group of women in national garments. Women on the edge are carrying a wreath. The Wreath with ears represents our productive country. The woman on the left is imploring God’s mercy, and the woman in the middle is crying with her hands on her face.
This group of women represents the proud, sedate, determined Turkish woman, even in great sorrow such as on Atatürk’s death. The statue group is a work of Hüseyin Özkan.
MEN STATUE GROUP
In front of the independence turret, there is a group of men. The man at the right with his helmet and coat represents the Turkish soldier, the man next to him with a book in his hand represents the Turkish youth and intellectual, and the other one with local clothes represents the Turkish farmer. All three statues show the deep sorrow, and longing. The statue group is the work of Hüseyin Özkan.
There are 24 lion statues in sitting position which are placed on both ends of the road, which prepares visitors for the eminent presence of Atatürk. The road is 262 meters long. The lion statues represent power and tranquility. The lion statues are done in Hittite style, because of Atatürk’s attention to Turk and Anatolian history. The Statues are the work of Hüseyin Özkan.
The ceremony area, at the end of lion road, is in the dimensions of 129×84.25 meters. The area, with a capacity of 15.000 persons, is decorated with 373 carpet and kilim patterns, using black, red and white colored travertine stones.
The Metmetçik (a nickname for the Turkish soldier) Turret is placed at the end of the Lion Road, at the right. On the relief outside the turret, the figure represents Mehmetçik leaving his home. In this figure, the sad but proud mother, who sends her son to war, is portrayed. The Relief is the work of Zühtü Müridoğlu.
On the walls of the turret, Atatürk’s aphorism’s about Mehmetçik and the Turkish woman can be seen. In the turret, several books about Anıtkabir and Atatürk are sold.
ATATÜRK AND TURKISH REVOLUTION LIBRARY
Atatrük and the Turkish Revolution Library is placed between the Mehmetçik and Liberty Turrets. This “specialty library” about Atatürk, the national war and the revolutions, is available for research on weekdays between 09.00-12.30 and 13.30-17.00.
On the walls of the turret, dates and notes about Atatürk’s most important three victories are on display.
In the turret, the gun carriage that bore Atatürk’s body from İstanbul Dolmabahçe Palace on November 19th, 1938 to the fleet at Sarayburnu, can also be seen.
SARCOPHAGUS OF İSMET İNÖNÜ
Between the Peace and Victory Turrets, in the middle of the gallery, there is symbolical sarcophagus of İsmet İnönü, who died on December 25th 1973, a very close friend of Atatürk, West Front commander of the Independence War, and second president of the Republic of Turkey. The Tomb room is downstairs.
İsmet İnönü was buried at Anıtkabir at December 28th 1973, on the decision of the Council of Ministers.
There is a composition on the inside walls of the turret, which describes the principle of Atatürk “Peace at home, peace in the world”. In this relief, there are farmers and a soldier protecting them with his sword is shown. This soldier symbolizes the Turkish military as a basis for peace. Thus, people can continue their daily life. The Relief is the work of Nusret Suman.
On the walls of the turret, some of Atatürk’s words are as follows: “Peace at home, peace in the world”. “Unless the nation’s life is under attack, war is murder”. (1923) In the turret, Atatürk’s ceremonious and official automobiles between the years 1935- 1938, are presented.
23RD APRIL TURRET
There is a relief on the inside walls of the turret, that represents the opening of the Turkish National Assembly. A woman holding a paper is standing in this relief. The date April 23rd 1920 is written on this paper. The woman holds a key in her other hand, representing the opening of our National Assembly. The relief is the work of Hakkı Atamulu.
One of the aphorisms on the walls of the turret:
“There was only one choice: Founding a new independent Turkish Government, depending on national preeminence.” (1919) Atatürk’s private automobile between the years 1936-1938 is exhibited in the turret.
In the middle of the stairs leading to the ceremony area, there is a Turkish flag on the high flagpole. This 33.53 meter long flagpole is specially manufactured in USA, and is the longest single piece steel flagpole. 4 meters of flagpole are under the base. It was presented as a gift to Anıtkabir in 1946 from Nazmi Cemal, an American citizen of Turkish origin. This flagpole was manufactured at his own flagpole factory. The relief on the base of the flagpole torch represents Turkish civilization, the sword represents the power to attack, the helmet represents power of defense, the oak branch repserents victory, and the olive branch repsesents peace. The Relief is the work of Kenan Yontuç.
THE TOWER OF THE NATIONAL CONTRACT
The relief in the tower which is situated at the entrance of the museum represents our gathering in unity. The relief consists of four hands grasping each other on the butt of a sword. This composition expresses the promise of the nation to save the Turkish fatherland. The relief is the work of Nusret Suman.
On the walls of the tower are Atatürk’s words on the National Contract:
“What writes the national oath, which is our general rule of liberation, is the iron hand of the nation.” (1923) “We want to live free and independent within our national boundaries.” (1921)
“Nations who can’t find their national identity are prey to other nations.” (1923)
In the midst of the tower is a tribute to the signing, which is signed by special committees attending ceremonies carried out in Anıtkabir. In the tower which is also the entrance of the museum are reality panels on which are presented photographs of important ceremonies in Anıtkabir.
ANITKABİR ATATÜRK MUSEUM
In line with the conditions of the Anıtkabir Project Competition, the section between the National Contract and the Reform Towers is specified as a museum. For this purpose, the Anıtkabir Atatürk Museum was opened on June 21st, 1960. Here, Atatürks personal belongings, gifts presented to him and his clothes are on exhibition.
Besides, Atatürk’s medals and insignia, and some of Atatürk’s belongings which were granted by his adopted children. A. Afet İnan, Rukiye Erkin, Sabiha Gökçen are also included in the exhibition.
TOWER OF REFORM
In this tower, which is the continuation of the museum clothes Atatürk wore are exhibited. On the inner wall of the tower, the relief of a weak, powerless hand holding a torch about to go out, symbolizes the collapsing Ottoman Empire. The other bright torch held in the skies by a mighty hand symbolizes the new Turkish Republic and the Reforms Atatürk carried out to enable the Turkish nation to catch up with modern civilization. The relief is the work of Nusret Suman.
On the tower walls are these words of Atatürk on his reforms:
“If a society does not proceed with all its men and women towards the same purpose, there’s no technical possibility and scientific probability of its becoming civilized.” “We are not inspired by heavens and the unknown sphere but directly by life itself.
” In this tower which is used as the garments section of the museum is a life-size wax statue of Atatürk by Anadolu University’s former president Prof.Dr. Yılmaz Büyükerşen.
TOWER OF THE REPUBLIC
This tower is the entry to the art gallery and on its wall these aphorisms of Atatürk about the republic are written:
“The fact that we gained our national sovereignty through action and handed over to the people, and undoubtedly proved that we can keep it in their hands, are our biggest strength and most trusted foundation.”
In the tower, the models of Monastir Military Senior High School building, where Atatürk graduated from, Sivas and Erzurum congress buildings and I. Turkish Grand National Assembly building and some photographs of that period are exhibited.
THE ART GALLERY
In this section which is in between the Tower of Republic and the Towers of Legal Defence is demonstrated Atatürk’s personal library.
On the walls are oil paintings depicting Atatürk and foreign statesmen together. The paintings are works of the artist Rahmi Pehlivanlı.
There is also a cinema section in the gallery wwhere documentary films are shown about Atatürk, National Struggle and the Anıtkabir.
DEFENCE OF RIGHTS TOWER
On the relief on the outer face of the tower Legal Defence (Müdafaa-i Hukuk), which is the essence of our national unity in the War of Liberation,is represented. On the relief a male figure is depicted, saying“Hold!” to the enemy passing the border, with a sword in one hand while the other is held to the front. The huge tree beneath the hand reaching out represents our country, while the male figure protecting it symbolizes the nation united in the aim of liberation. The relief is the work of Nusret Suman.
On the walls of the tower are words of Atatürk on Legal Defence:
“To yield national power effective and national will sovereign is the essence.” (1919)
“Hereafter the nation will own her life, independence and entire existence in person.” (1923) “History can never reject a nation’s blood, right, and existence.”(1919)
“The innermost and most obvious wish and faith rising from the heart and conscience of the Turkish naiton, came to light: Liberation.” (1927) In the tower periodically exhibitions on “Atatürk and the National Struggle” are organized. Besides, there is also the model of the Military Academy Atatürk attended.
THE RELIEF ABOUT THE PITCH BATTLE OF SAKARYA
There are a youth, two horses, a woman and a man on the right side of the composition. These have left their homes and are on their way to defend the country against foe’s first assault. The youth to the right has turned his back and shakes his left fist to the foe, saying, “One day we shall come back and avenge.
” Before this trio is a cart in the mud, horses struggling, a man trying to turn the wheel, two women, a standing warrior, and a kneeling woman is presenting him a sword. This group of figures represents the period before the Sakarya Battle. To the left of this group are two women and a child sitting on the ground, symbolizing our people under enemy’s rule awaiting the Turkish army. Over the people flies the angel of victory presenting a wreath to Commander-in-chief Mustafa Kemal.
The woman sitting at the end of the composition symbolizes the motherland, while the oak symbolizes victory. Motherland shows the oak which is the victory symbol of the Turkish army. The relief is a work of İlhan Koman.
THE RELIEF ABOUT THE BATTLE OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
The group comprising of a rural women, a boy and some horses represents the national preparation for war. In the next part Atatürk stretches out his finger, saying, “Army, your first target is the Mediterranean, ahead!” and pointing our army where to go. The angel in front conveys Father’s order to distant horizons. The part after this one, which summarizes the heroism and sacrifices of the Turkish army carrying out Atatürk’s orders, depicts a warrior taking the flag from the hands of a falling private and a soldier in a trench with shield and sword in his hands – symbolizing the Turkish attack. In the front is the victory angel with the Turkish flag, calling for the Turkish army. The relief is the work of Zühtü Müridoğlu.
There is 42-step stairway leading to the most important part of Anıtkabir, the mausoleum. In the middle of the stairs is the “address pulpit”. The side of the marble pulpit facing the ceremonial square is decorated with circular geometrical motifs, in the midst of it is Atatürk’s remark, “Sovereignty is without doubt, the Nation’s.” The pulpit is Kenan Yontuç’s work.
The mausoleum has a long rectangular layout of 72x52x17m. The structure is surrounded by columns 14.40m high; 8 on the front and back, 14 on the long sides. On the front of the mausoleum to the left is Atatürk’s address to the Turkish youth, to the right is his oration of the Republic’s 10th anniversary. Letters are in guilded relief.
THE HALL OF HONOUR
The hall is entered through bronze gates. To the right after the entrance is Atatürk’s last message to the Turkis army, dated 29 October 1938; to the left is 2nd President İsmet İnönü’s condolence message upon Atatürk’s death, dated 21 November 1938. Both scripts were written in 1981, the 100th anniversary of Atatürk’s birth.
Just opposite the entrance in the niche of the huge window, is Atatürk’s symbolic sarcophagus. The material of the 40 tons monolithic sarcophagus is red marble. The section on which the stone stands is covered with white Afyon marble. The ground of the hall of honour is covered with red, black, green and tiger’s fur marbles from Adana and Hatay, while the side walls are of marbles from Afyon and Bilecik of the same kind.
The ceiling of the hall of honour consisting of 27 rafters and that of the side galleries are decorated with mosaics. The height of the hall of honour is 17 m. and there are 6 bronze torches on each of the side walls, which make a total of 12. The top of the mausoleum is covered with a flat lead roof.
The beloved corpse of Atatürk is in a grave dug directly in the soil below the ground floor of the musoleum. The tomb which is situated right beneath symbolic sarcophagus in the hall of honour on the first floor of the mausoleum is an octagon in the Seldjuk and Ottoman architectural style, topped with a pyramidal roof and its ceiling decorated with mosaics bearing geometrical motifs. The ground and the walls are covered with black, white and red marbles. İn the middle of the tomb, the smaller sarcophagus made of red marble is directed towards the Kaaba. This marble sarcophagus is surrounded by vases filled with soil from every province and from the Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus.
THE ALAGÖZ HEADQUARTERS MUSEUM
Upon the approach of the enemy to Polatlı during the Sakaya Battle, the West Front Commandersihp chose the Village of Alagöz, located between Ankara and Polatlı, as Front Headquarters. The farm house of Türkoğlu Ali Ağa of the village was used as headquarters.
After the end of the Sakarya Battle, the building was re-used as a home by its owners Ali Türkoğlu and his sons until 1965. In 1965 it was turned over by the inheritors to the Ministry of Education. The structure, which was transferred to the Anıtkabir Museum Directorate under the General Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Museums in 1967, was restored and turned into a museum thereafter.
On November 10th, 1968, only the upper floor was arranged and opened to the public; the lower parts were opened in 1983 after a reorganizaton.
The structure is a two-storey one and has a Garments Room, Library and Memorabilia Room, Officer’s Lunch Room, Kitchen, Communications Room, Room of the Commander- in-chief, Staff Officers’ Room, Refreshing Room, Aide-de-camps’ Room, Atatürk’s Bedroom, Atatürk’s dining room with his servant’s room, a total of 12 rooms.
ATATÜRK’S REMARKS TO THE TURKISH YOUTH
Your first duty is to forever preserve and defend the Turkish Independence and the Turkish Republic.
This is the very foundation of your existence and your future. This foundation is your most precious treasure. In the future, too, there may be malevolent people at home and abroad, wishing to deprive you of this treasure. If some day, you are compelled to defend your independence and your republic, you will not hesitate before you take upon yourself the duty thinking about the possibilities and circumstances of the situation in which you will find yourself. These possibilities and circumstances may prove to be extremely unfavourable. The enemies conspiring against your independence and your republic may have behind them a victory unprecedented in the whole world. By means of violence and deceit, all the fortresses of your beloved fatherland may have been captured, and all its shipyards occupied, armies dispersed and every corner of the country invaded. And even more distressing and graver than all these circumstances; within the country, those who have the authority to rule may have fallen into negligence, error and even treachery. Furthermore, they may identify their own interests with the political desires of the invaders. The country may be in extreme poverty, in ruins and in exhaustion.
Youth of Turkey’s future,
Even in such circumstances, it is your duty to save the Turkish Independence and Republic. The strength you need is the noble blood that runs in your veins! (1927)
Address: Anıt Caddesi Tandoğan/Ankara
Tel: (312) 231 79 75