Archaeological Museum

The museum is located in the aid han district of the old city. It is on the southern slope of the citadel hill in the refurbished buildings of an Ottoman han and bedistan these are the Kursunlu Han and the Mahmut Pasa Bedesten. Both are thought to have been constructed in 1471, during the sultanship ofjı Mehmet the Conqueror. The bedesten or covered Bazaar is used as one of the exhibition halls and is a large, dame-topped centra] chamber surrounded by rows of shop stalls. The ten domes are supported by four thick columns, When Atatürk declared that the two buildings should be used for the establishment of a central Hittite Museum, reconstruction work began and most of the shops of the bedesten were removed. Several of them have been kept in thetr original state on the west side. The Kursunlu Hart building has three stories and wos once used as an inn for weary travellers along the caravan route. Today the building is used for storage of archaeological finds, restoration and photographic studio space and as a seminar hall and library.

The museum displays are in two sections. The central hall includes the large stone reliefs and sculptures that have been brought In from various archaeological sites; the side and end areas surrounding display the smaller finds. The monumental art of the Hittites, taken from the major Hittite centers is found in the central hall. These sites include Aslantepe, Karkamiş, Alacahöyük, Sakçagözü and others, The prehistoric Paleolithic and Neolithic periods are represented in the first section of the museum, which is on the right from the main entrance. A very Interesting display is the replica öf a Stone Age house that was excavated at the Neolithic site of Çatal Höyük. Other displays from this period include wall paintings and a variety of smaller articles. The most interesting of the items In the Neolithic display cases are the fertility figurines. These items date to 6500-5600 B.C.

The next section of the museum contains artifacts from the Chalcollthic period which is dated from 5000 to 3000 B.C. Many of the finds, including pottery with geometric designs, figurines arid such were recovered at the site of Hacilar. The Early Bronze Age Is represented with special distinction by the metal «sun-disks» that were found at the royal tombs of Alacahoyuk and Horoztepe. Another example of the artistic skill and competence in working with bronze is the figure of a mother suckling her child. The familiar Hittite synibols and figurines were created at this time and continued into the later periods of the Hittite Empire.

The Old Assyrian Colony Period ond the Old Hittite and New Hittite Empire Periods are especially well represented in the museum. The collection is the best in the world in relics dating from this period in time. Assyrian pottery is amazing in its similarity to modernistic sculpture. Vessels and pottery made In the shape of various animals are typical of the Assyrian works. The collection of Hittite monuments and stone work in the museum’s central hall is, indeed, impressive. The statuary, and inscriptions are displayed in this hall in the same position in which they were found.

The Phrygian collection, taken from the capital at Gordion and other cities controlled by these early people, including Alacahoyuk, Pazarli, Kültepe, Alisar and Ankara, is also very impressive. Phrygian works on display include cauldrons decorated with bull’s-heads, furniture, belt buckles and other metal and wooden pieces. The Urartian displays hold ivory, gold and silver pieces, jewelry inlaid with precious stones, cylinder seals, parts of a throne end other interesting objects. These date to the first quarter of the first millennium B.C., when the Urartians came to power in Eastern Anatolia, The museum lays claim to having the finest collection of Urartian artifacts in the world. The last section of the museum contains works and coins from the Classical Greek, Roman and Turkish periods.

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