The Anitkabir (in Turkish Anıtkabir) is a huge mausoleum dedicated to the man widely considered the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. The sarcophagus and museum lie in central Ankara, the capital of the country. Read on past the booking info for more details about Ataturk Anıtkabir Ankara and 360VR images of the site.
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Getting to Ankara from Antalya
Contrary to other previous trips I’ve made around Turkey, this time I opted to fly. Flights are ridiculously cheap but the ever-present Coronavirus also persuaded me that flying would be a better and quicker idea.
At time of writing (Sept 2020), flights cost between €28-39 return and take just over an hour each way. This is compared to the bus which would have cost around €20 return – but take around nine hours each way. Turkish buses are very comfortable and are a great way to see the country but I wanted this particular trip to go quicker. REMEMBER, when travelling in Turkey, you will need your passport. So far as I’m aware, you also can’t travel by bus in Turkey without a form of ID. In fact, you should really carry your passport at all times (though it feels very alien to those of us from the UK).
Getting to Antalya airport from the centre is easiest and quickest by taxi. Expect to pay around €15-20. The price is around the same on the other side to reach the Anitkabir from Ankara airport. Top tip – to make sure your driver takes the quickest route, show him where you want to go on Googlemaps on your mobile – and let him know you’re following with live updates. Also, be sure to thoroughly check your change as you get out – particularly folded notes.
Travel during Coronavirus
Again, at time of writing, Coronavirus is still causing havoc in the travel industry. How you assess the risks is up to personal decision – however I have never felt in danger. Anyway, you can expect a lot of temperature scanning, distancing and obligatory mask-wearing while this thing still hangs around.
The site at Anitkabir
By taxi, it should take around 20 minutes to get from the airport through the outskirts of Ankara to the site at the Anitkabir. Your driver will drop you at the gate. If you take the bus to Ankara, it’s around a 15-minute walk from the main bus station – though you may find it easier by taxi.
When you arrive, you will be security-scanned at a small hut near the main entrance then shepherded towards a small and rather pointless mini-bus. It’s actually more pleasant to make the short five minute walk up to the lower entrance of the Anitkabir proper.
The Anitkabir – a brief walkthrough
Climbing the steps of the lower entrance, you’ll be greeted with a long and imposing processional walkway leading to the main site. Statues adorn the sides of the paved path, which has a quite conspicuous look due to the grass growing between the tiles.
At the end of the long pathway, a grand vista opens before you showing the main square of the Anitkabir in all its glory. Of course, as you might expect, there are the obligatory Turkish flags everywhere (as is common in this country) and armed soldiers patrolling. You should walk to the centre of the square to better appreciate the ornate tiling yet otherwise spartan, simplistic design and architecture.
Despite construction being started during WWII, architects from around the world were invited to submit plans for the Anitkabir. The eventual design was selected to reflect the understated nature of the man himself – Ataturk.
Walking a little further back in the opposite direction of Ataturk’s mausoleum, you’ll notice another tomb – that of his close adviser and friend Ismet Inonu which is lined up directly with Ataturk’s sarcophagus in the distance.
There are numerous side exhibitions in the museum giving a history to Ataturk’s lifestyle – including this room showing one of his favourite cars.
Following his death on November 10th 1938 in Dolmabahçe, Ataturk’s body was transported to Istanbul by boat and then held in reverence in a procession through the streets before being moved to Ankara. His body was carried in the gun carriage above.
Fine words written by his colleague and friend, Ismet Inozu explaining the feelings of loss experienced by a nation at news of Ataturk’s death.
The giant carvings on the wall below the mausoleum are intended to portray Turkey’s passage between its ancient past and the future envisaged by Ataturk.
After climbing the stairs to the mausoleum, take a second to look behind you at the striking view over the massive, intricate courtyard looking towards Inozu’s tomb and the skyline of Ankara. Before his death – and before the mausoleum was built – Ataturk is reported to have enjoyed visiting this hill summit for peace and solace.
About Ataturk and the Anitkabir
For full information about Ataturk and his stunning achievements and vision, take a second to read https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kemal-Ataturk/The-Turkish-republic.
To learn more about the fascinating story behind the design, planning and construction of the Anitkabir, visit https://theculturetrip.com/europe/turkey/articles/why-anitkabir-is-ankaras-most-monumental-site/
Cost of travel – As noted above, bus or plane – though flights are probably recommended
Cost of site visit – Free
Opening hours – 09.00-17.00 (15/05-31/10): 09.00-16.00 (01/11-31/01): 09.00-16.30 (01/02-14/05)
Time to view site – Takes around two to three hours to see everything
More details – https://www.anitkabir.com.tr/
Other places to visit in Ankara
Even though Ankara isn’t the largest of cities, a day isn’t long enough to see anywhere in any particular detail. However, other points of note in the capital include the parliament building – the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi) which is just a short walk from the Anitkabir.
As well as the huge and imposing Kocatepe Mosque (Kocatepe Camii), the biggest mosque in Ankara – and again, just a short walk from the Anitkabir.
If you walk a little past the mosque and up the hill and you’ll reach Ankara castle. On the way up the hill, if you have time, you’ll also go past the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time.
You can find more things to do in Ankara and its environs on this link.