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Ethnography Museum

From political history and the country’s first independent leader to coffee and jewelry, the contents of this all-encompassing museum teach visitors about Turkey.

The Ethnography Museum is an ideal location to learn about Turkey. The majestic building houses countless exhibits that tell the story of the Turkish people. The country’s culture, traditions and history are portrayed in the museum, which sits on a sacred hill that once housed a Muslim cemetery. Famously, the institution was the initial resting place of Atatürk, the first President of Turkey. 

Architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu designed and completed the structure at the end of the 1920s. In 1938, the sarcophagus of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader who fought for independence, was transferred to the museum, where it stayed for 15 years.

When you arrive at the museum on the hill, marvel at its elegant design. A graceful set of steps has small statues on either side. The façade is ornate, with arches, columns and square windows generating a regal feel. Look up at the dome and spiral atop the institution. In front of the entrance stands an equestrian statue.

Enter the main hall to see photos of Atatürk’s funeral along the walls of the former mausoleum. His remains have since been transferred to Anitkabir. Learn about his role in Turkey’s successful fight for independence. Go a little farther back in time as you inspect the traditional clothes and costumes worn by Turks from former eras: gold and silver earrings, embroidered headdresses and elaborate coats.

Find out about the importance of coffee in the history of the country at one of the cultural exhibits. Browse the old coffeepots and porcelain cups on display. There are also halls devoted to weapons, manuscripts, jewelry and other traditional themes.

The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from morning until evening. There is a small fee for entrance.

The Ethnography Museum is north of the center of Ankara. Ride a train to Sihhiye Tren Istanbul or travel along the metro line to either Sihhiye or Maltepe. Take a bus to one of the stops near the museum’s entrance. While in the area, make sure to visit the State Art and Sculpture Museum and Gençlik Park.


Guide to Exploring Ethnographic Museum


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