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Friday, August 23: Day 123 – Atta Boy, Atatürk!

Ankara has a population of 5 million and is the second largest city in Turkey. Its name comes from Angora wool. It was a small village before WWI.

But when Atatürk chose this city to be the capital, it grew rapidly. Turkey was often occupied by others. Ankara is in the center of the country and provided safety.

Today when Ertunga picked us up, he announced that he would like to videotape an interview with us tomorrow about all that we have seen. Wait! What? We didn’t know that there was going to be a test at the end. We have seen SO much and can barely remember yesterday. Good thing that I took good notes. Rob is cramming by rereading all my blogs!!


Militos, Ephesus, Priene – Ionian

Sardis – Lydian

Tlos, Xantos, Patera, Myra – Lycean

Aphrodisias – Roman

Pergamon – Greek, Pergamon Kingdom – Roman

Andriake, Patera ?

Three types of building periods can be recognized: Greek structures have large stones with no mortar, Roman stones are small and have mortar, and Byzantine buildings have red bricks.

Ok, enough of that!!

Atatürk: Founder of the Republic of Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a visionary leader. He was born in Thessaloniki. Even though his mother and father are brown eyed, he is blue eyed. He had a sister. He liked to shoot and even had a cane that was a gun.

As you recall, he was able to defend the Turkish position at Gallipoli and then leld Turkey into becoming a nation after WWI.

Atatürk died in Istanbul at 9:05am. Some clocks and watches were permanently stopped at that time to honor him. A mausoleum complex was built in Ankara with marble from Turkey. He had told a friend that he would like to be buried here.

Any foreign diplomats that come to Turkey first come here to lay a wreath at the tomb of Atatürk to pay him respect.

He was not flashy. It was more important to remember his ideas than to remember him. He did not have much wealth when he died.

He worked hard and was under a lot of stress. He was a smoker and died of cirrhosis of the liver due to the consumption of alcohol.

While we were at the mausoleum, there was a visitor from Azerbaijan and a delegation from Indonesia. Turkey and Azerbaijan are close Allies. Erdogon, the current president, finds excuses not to come here.

We saw Atatürk’s beautiful 1934 Lincoln.

They had his ID card in Arabic before and his ID card after the adoption of the Turkish language in Turkish.

Atatürk changed the written language called The Alphabet Reform.

Previously, the Turkish spoken language was written in Arabic. He changed it to the Latin alphabet. (This sure makes it a little easier for foreign travelers today.)

Kemalism, Turkey’s founding ideology, embraces six arrows:

  1. Republicanism. He replaced the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire with a constitutional republic.
  2. Populism. He transferred power to the people.
  3. Nationalism. He created a united nation from multi-ethnic and multi-religious groups.
  4. Laicism. He banish religious interference with government affairs.
  5. Statism. He believed that modernization could only be accomplished through technology and economic means.
  6. Reformism. He replaced traditional institutions with modern concepts.

Atatürk said to select surnames as they had none previously. The house numbers and the calendar were changed. He mandated public education. He wrote a book of mathematics.

He was a supporter of womens’ rights. His adopted daughter was the first woman pilot in Turkey.

April 23 is Children’s Day declared by Atatürk. Children come from all over to celebrate, and Turkey is the only country to have a day set aside for children. He adopted seven daughters and one son. He was briefly married, but they did not have children.

He outlawed religious schools and wearing the fez. Everyone was required to wear a hat. (Ertunga said that this law is still on the books today but rarely enforced.) One of the first factories he had built was for making clothing.

He wanted to stop the development of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan was exiled to England.

Atatürk started banks and allowed more people to own land.

Stalin invited Turkey into socialism. Atatürk declined. However, he took the best parts of socialism (the power of the people) and combined them with the freedoms of the west.

We listened to an impassioned speech given on the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Turkey. I was moved to tears. It did ring a bell. It sounded ironically like Hitler’s speeches…but with a different purpose. I looked into it and learned that Hitler emulated Atatürk. He likely watched his speeches.

Atatürk and Hitler

We ate at an Ottoman house that has been converted to a restaurant. Omar who has been driving for over 36 years has eaten just about everywhere and directed us to this charming out of the way place with an outstanding view.

Next we went to the Ankara Museum that was awarded the European Museum of the Year in 1997. (Turkey is Europe even though the country is mostly in Asia.)

We started with early man. Some of the holdings were from ancient sites that we had visited. It was fun to make connections.

Paleolithic is until 10,000BC – mostly hunting and gathering

8000-9000BC is when the oldest structure made by man (stone age)

When they had fire, they started to make lots of clay pots for cooking.

Neolithic started 10000-5500 and has the oldest statue. The invention of the wheel allowed man to carry more and travel further.

When you have more than necessary, that is when storage was invented. (Maybe a minimalist admires the pre-storage early man.)

Also, the accumulation of goods is the beginning of wars. One now has something to store and hide. They worshipped what they could see: nature. They started to question worship. The sun disk was found 2500BC found in Hittite community.

During the metal periods of Bronze Age and Iron Age, they started to make weapons.

Here is an early water mirror:

This is communication about Hittite law. It is the first time that we have seen an envelope, yet this exhibit had many.

I could imagine a king or other important person wearing this beautiful golden crown. If I remember correctly, it had been smuggled out of Turkey and been returned.


Anatolia is a Greek word that means east of Athens.

Omphalos is a bowl with a raised or indented center and is a religious artifact. It means navel and the bowl looks like it has an innie or outie.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature.

Orthostats are squared stone blocks much greater in height than depth that are usually built into the lower portion of a wall.

Temple of Augustus

Ceasar Augustus had all of his accomplishments written on an outer wall in Latin and on the inner wall in Greek. We learn much of history from this lengthy inscription.

It was built on an early temple. Later it became a church and now there is a nearby mosque. It has always been a holy place. Local merchants were selling holy water from Mecca.

There is a column erected commemorating his Julian’s visit to Galatia which is in Ankara.

Now who’s Julian?? Back to more study.

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