Anıtkabir is the mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence
Turkish War of Independence
The Turkish War of Independence was a war of independence waged by Turkish nationalists against the Allies, after the country was partitioned by the Allies following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I...

 and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. It is located in Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

 and was designed by architects Professor Emin Onat
Emin Halid Onat
Prof. Emeritus Emin Halid Onat , was a Turkish architect and former rector of Istanbul Technical University.Onat was born in Istanbul in 1908. He entered Istanbul Technical University in 1926. Then, he was sent to Zurich Technical University. Onat was one of the architects of Anıtkabir, the...

 and Assistant Professor Orhan Arda, whose proposal beat 48 other entries from several countries in a competition held by the Turkish Government in 1941 for a "monumental mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

" for Atatürk.

The site is also the final resting place of İsmet İnönü
Ismet Inönü
Mustafa İsmet İnönü was a Turkish Army General, Prime Minister and the second President of Turkey. In 1938, the Republican People's Party gave him the title of "Milli Şef" .-Family and early life:...

, the second President of Turkey, who was interred there after he died in 1973. His tomb faces the Atatürk Mausoleum, on the opposite side of the Ceremonial Ground.

The mausoleum was depicted on various Turkish banknotes during 1966-1987 and 1997-2009.


On 10 November 2007, the 69th anniversary of Atatürk's death, 546,620 people, of whom 2,420 were foreigners, visited Anıtkabir, setting an all time high record of daily visitors. In the first 11 months of 2007, Anıtkabir received more than 11 million visitors, surpassing the total number of visitors for any previous whole year. In 2006, a total of 8,150,000 people and in 2005, a total of 3,800,000 people visited Anıtkabir.

Architectural properties

The period of Turkish architecture between 1940 and 1950 has been classified by architectural historians as the Second National Architecture Movement. This period is characterized mostly by monumental, symmetrical, cut-stone clad buildings, with great emphasis given to detailing and workmanship in construction. Anıtkabir contains the same characteristics of this period, and is considered by many to be the ultimate monument of the era. In addition, Anıtkabir features Seljuq and Ottoman
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 architectural and ornamentation features. For example, the eaves of the towers and the Hall of Honour are all Seljuq-style sawtooth ornamentation.


The site chosen for Anıtkabir was known as Rasattepe (Observation Hill), which, at the time of the architectural competition for Anıtkabir, was a central location in Ankara and could be seen by all parts of the city. Archeological excavations unearthed artifacts belonging to the Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

n civilization, which were carefully excavated and put on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara, Turkey. It consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar storage building, and the Kurşunlu Han...

, also in Ankara.

The construction of Anıtkabir, which took nine years and spanned four stages, commenced on 9 October 1944 with the ceremony of laying the foundation stone.

The first stage of the construction, comprising the preparatory excavation and the construction of the retaining wall of the Lions Road, started on 9 October 1944 and was completed in 1945. The second stage of the construction, comprising the mausoleum and the auxiliary buildings surrounding the ceremonial ground, started on 29 September 1945, and was completed on 8 August 1950. At this stage, due to problems related to the mausoleum's masonry and concrete structure foundations, some revisions had to be made. At the end of 1947, the excavation and insulation of the mausoleum foundation was completed and steel reinforcements for the new 11 m. (36.1 ft) high concrete foundation, capable of resisting any kind of settlement of the ground, had come to near completion. The Entrance towers, most parts of the road network, the orchard installations, the plantation works and main parts of the irrigation system were also completed at this stage.

The third stage of the construction was the building of the roads leading to the mausoleum, The Lions Road, and the ceremonial ground; the mausoleum's upper-level stone pavement, the grand stairs, placement of the grand tombstone, and the installation of electricity, plumbing and heating systems.

The fourth and last stage of construction was the laying of the Hall of Honour pavement, vaults under the side linings, and Hall of Honour perimeter stone profiles and fringe decorations, which was completed on 1 September 1953.

Revision of original plans

The Anıtkabir project originally had a vaulted ceiling above the mausoleum carried by the perimeter columns. On 4 December 1951, the Government asked the architects about the possibility of shortening construction time by lowering the 28 m (92 ft) high ceiling of the Hall of Honour. After studying the subject, the architects concluded that it was possible to cover the ceiling with a reinforced concrete slab instead of a stone vault. This change reduced the weight of the ceiling and also eliminated certain constructional risks.

Surface reliefs and stones

All stones and marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

s were brought in from various parts of Turkey, to be a representation of Turkish People's
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 devotion to the founder of the republic. Easily processed porous travertine
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot...

 is used on external cladding of the concrete surfaces and marble is used for the inside surfaces of the Hall of Honour.

White travertine used for the sculpture groups, lions figures and the mausoleum columns was brought from Kayseri
Kayseri is a large and industrialized city in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is the seat of Kayseri Province. The city of Kayseri, as defined by the boundaries of Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality, is structurally composed of five metropolitan districts, the two core districts of Kocasinan and...

 and the travertine used inside the towers was brought from Polatlı
Polatlı is a city and a district in Ankara Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, 80 km west of the Turkish capital Ankara, on the road to Eskişehir. According to 2010 census, population of the district is 117,473 of which 98,605 live in the city of Polatlı...

 and Malıköy. The red and black travertine used for paving the ceremonial ground and floors of the towers came from Kayseri. Yellow travertine brought from Çankırı
-Agriculture:Various produce like wheat, corn, beans, apple etc. are grown in the farms, and fields that are rich of water.-Industry:Most of the industry is located near the city center and Korgun. Other towns that are in the industrial map of the city are Şabanözü, Çerkeş, Ilgaz, Kurşunlu, and...

 was used for building the Victory Reliefs, the Hall of Honour's external walls, and perimeter columns of the ceremonial ground. The red, black and cream colour marble that was used on the floor of the Hall of Honour were brought from Hatay
Hatay Province
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

, Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

 and Çanakkale
Çanakkale is a town and seaport in Turkey, in Çanakkale Province, on the southern coast of the Dardanelles at their narrowest point. The population of the town is 106,116 . The mayor is Ülgür Gökhan ....

, and for the internal walls, tiger-patterned marble from Afyon and green marble from Bilecik
-External links:* Bilecik Conspiracy** **...

 was used. The sarcophogus, a monolithic tomb stone weighing 40 tons, was brought from Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

 and the white marble covering the sides of the sarcophagus were also from Afyon.


There are four main parts to Anıtkabir: the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor (location of Atatürk's tomb) and the Peace Park that surrounds the monument.

Road of Lions

The approach to the monument is a 262 m (860 ft)-long pedestrian walkway that is lined on both sides by twelve pairs of lions carved in a style like the Hittite archaeological finds. The lions represent Anatolia and are shown seated to simultaneously represent both power and peace. A five centimeter gap separates the paving stones on the Road of Lions to ensure that visitors take their time and observe respectful behavior on their way to Atatürk's tomb.

Ceremonial Plaza

The Ceremonial Plaza is situated at the end of the Lions Road. The area is 129 m (423 ft) long and 84 m (276 ft) wide and was designed to accommodate 15,000 people. The floor is decorated with 373 rug and kilim (Turkish carpet) patterns, and is made of travertine in various colors.

Hall of Honor

The Hall of Honor is the iconic symbol of Anıtkabir and the location of Atatürk's tomb. The structure is 41.65 by 57.35 m (136.6 by 188.2 ft) in plan and rises to a height of 17 m (56 ft), with the columns themselves measuring 14.4 m (47 ft).

Atatürk's tomb is situated right under the symbolic 40-ton sarcophagus in the ground floor of The Hall of Honor, and Atatürk's corpse is buried below this in a special Tomb Room in the basement level. The room has an octagonal plan in Seljuk and Ottoman architectural styles, and its pyramidal ceiling is inlaid with gold mosaics.

Peace Park

The park that surrounds the monument is called a Peace Park in honor of Atatürk's famous expression "Peace at home, peace in the world." It contains around 50,000 decorative trees, flowers and shrubs in 104 varieties, donated from around 25 countries.

Towers, statues, museum

Within the Anitkabir site there are ten towers situated in a symmetrical arrangement. These symbolize the ideals that influenced the Turkish nation and the creation of the Republic of Turkey. The towers are similar in terms of planning and structure: they are rectangular, close to a square, with pyramidal roofs. Bronze arrowheads are placed on the top of the roofs, like in traditional Turkish nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

 tents. Inside the towers, geometric ornamentation inspired by traditional Turkish carpet (kilim) patterns and motifs, can be found on the towers' ceilings in fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 technique. There are also inscriptions of quotes by Atatürk that correspond to the theme of that tower.

Independence Tower

The relief inside the Independence Tower shows a young man standing straight and holding a sword with both hands while an eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 is perching on a rock beside him. The eagle represents power and independence in mythology and in Seljuk art, and the young man with the sword represents the Turkish nation defending its independence.

Women statue group

In front of the Independence Tower there is a statue group of three women in Turkish national costumes. The two women at the sides are holding a large wreath reaching to the ground. This wreath, made up of grain sheafs, represents the abundant country. The woman on the left with a cup in her stretched-out hand is asking for God's compassion for Atatürk, and the woman in the middle, covering her face with her hand, is crying. This group represents the pride of Turkish women, and their solemnity and determination even in the deepest grief of losing Atatürk.

Freedom Tower

The relief inside the Freedom Tower shows a figure of an angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

 holding a sheet of paper and a rearing horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 next to it. The angel figure symbolizes the holiness of freedom and the sheet of paper symbolizes the Turkish Declaration of Freedom. The horse figure is a symbol of both freedom and independence.

Men statue group

In front of the Freedom Tower there is a statue group made up of three men. The man at the right with a helmet and coat represents a Turkish soldier; on the left with a book in his hand is a Turkish youth and intellectual; behind both of these, in village clothing, is a Turkish peasant. The serious facial expressions of all three statues represent the solemnity and willpower of the Turkish people.

Mehmetçik Tower

The Mehmetçik Tower is situated on the right-hand side of the end of the Lion's Road. The relief on the exterior facade depicts a mehmetçik (Turkish foot soldier) leaving home for the front. In this composition, a sad but proud mother holding her hand on the shoulder of her son sends him to the war for the country. There is a bookstore and a gift shop in this tower for visitors interested in buying articles about Anıtkabir and Atatürk.

Victory Tower

The dates of the nation's most important three victories and Atatürk's words about these victories are inscribed on the walls of this tower. Inside the tower, the gun carriage, which carried Atatürk's coffin from Dolmabahçe Palace
Dolmabahçe Palace
Dolmabahçe Palace located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from a 22-year interval in which Yıldız Palace was used.- History :Dolmabahçe Palace...

 to Sarayburnu
Sarayburnu is a promontory separating the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul, Turkey. The area is where the renowned Topkapı Palace and Gülhane Park stand...

 and handed over to the Navy
Turkish Navy
The Turkish Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces.- Ottoman fleet after Mudros :Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, on November 3, 1918, the fleet commander of the Ottoman Navy, Liva Amiral Arif Pasha, ordered all flags to be...

 on 19 November 1938 is on display.

Peace Tower

A relief composition expressing Atatürk's principle of Peace at home, peace in the world is inscribed inside the tower walls. In this relief, peasants and a soldier figure protecting them by holding out his sword are depicted. This soldier symbolizes the Turkish Army
Turkish Army
The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire...

, the strong and genuine keeper of the peace, allowing people to live their daily lives in peace secured by the Turkish Army.

23rd April Tower

On the inside walls of this tower is a relief depicting the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 23 April 1920. The woman standing in this relief is holding a paper in her hand with an inscription of the date. The key in her other hand symbolizes the opening of the Assembly.

Atatürk's Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

 car, used between 1936 and 1938, is on display in this tower.

Tower of Reforms

This tower is the extension of the museum and Atatürk's garments are exhibited here. The relief inside the tower wall shows a weak hand holding the torch about to extinguish, symbolizing the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. Another, strong hand raising a radiating torch to the skies symbolizes the reforms with which the new Turkish Republic and Atatürk raised the Turkish Nation to the level of contemporary civilization.

Misak-ı Millî
Misak-i Millî
Misak-ı Millî is the set of six important decisions made by the last term of the Ottoman Parliament. Parliament met on 28 January 1920 and published their decisions on 12 February 1920...

(National Pact) Tower

The tower is at the entry to the museum (see below) and the relief inside this tower symbolizes the binding in unity. The relief shows four hands joining on a sword hilt. This composition symbolizes the nation's common oath to save the Turkish Country.

Anıtkabir Atatürk Museum

Anıtkabir Atatürk Museum opened on 21 June 1960. Atatürk's personal items, his wardrobe, and some of the gifts presented to him are on display in this museum. Atatürk's medals, decorations and some personal items donated to the museum by his adopted children are also exhibited in the museum.

External links

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