Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turkey - Ankara (2004)

Date of visit: 23rd November 2004

It was a journey of 279km on the road from Cappadocia to Ankara, a day before on 22nd November and another 454km from Ankara to Istanbul after a sightseeing in Ankara was completed. We mostly spent so much time on the road on the last few days of our stay in Turkey but in total, we traveled over 2000km covering many important cities in Turkey in a week. In the beginning I made a small complaint to myself as bus journey as compared to local flights inter city is a much convenience and relaxing way of travelling. However, air flight is different from overland travel as you had more opportunities to see the view of other country, their culture, their style of farming, the roads etc etc.

We were touring Anıtkabir (literally mean, "memorial tomb"), a mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. The photos that I shared in this entry are mostly a memory of Zuri and me, thus, I specially dedicated all entries in Turkey and Istanbul to her. Who knows that 1 day another opportunity come by for us to travel together again.

Anitkabir was designed by architects Professor Emin Onat and Assistant Professor Ahmet Orhan Arda, whose proposal beat 48 other entries from several countries in a competition held by the Turkish Government in 1941 for a "monumental tomb" for Atatürk. The site is also the final resting place of Ismet Inonu, the second President of Turkey, who was interred there after he died in 1973. His tomb faces the Ataturk Mausoleum, on the opposite side of the Ceremonial Ground.

Wall Relief of Anitkabir

The mausoleum was depicted on various Turkish banknotes during 1966-1987 and 1997-2009. Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers lists Anıtkabir as one of the fifty civil engineering feats in Turkey, a list of remarkable engineering projects realized in the first 50 years of the chamber.

Anitkabir has been characterized mostly by monumental, symmetrical, cut-stone clad buildings with great emphasis to detailing and workmanship in construction. In addition, Anıtkabir features Seljuq and 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. Archaeological excavations (during construction) unearthed artifacts belonging to the Phrygian civilization, which were carefully excavated and put on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, also in Ankara.

The construction of Anıtkabir, which took 9 spanned within 4 stages, commenced in 1944. The 1st stage of the construction, comprising the preparatory excavation and the construction of the retaining wall of the Lions Road completed in a year. Upon its completion, the 2nd stage comprised of the mausoleum and the auxiliary buildings surrounding the ceremonial ground commenced and completed on in 1950. At this stage, due to problems related to the mausoleum's masonry and concrete structure foundations, some revisions was made. 

The 3rd stage of the construction was building the roads leading to the mausoleum called The Lions Road, and the ceremonial ground seated at the mausoleum's upper-level stone pavement, the grand stairs, placement of the grand tombstone and building services. Laying the Hall of Honour pavement, vaults under the side linings, and Hall of Honour perimeter stone profiles and fringe decorations was the last stage which was completed on 1 September 1953.

From Anitkabir, we had a short tour in Ankara and had lunch before adjourned to Istanbul on the long road. We stopped for lunch, but, in overall I had not really enjoyed Turkish food as not too much hot and spices item added to it. We had to pour on pepper for better taste and I kept on regretting not bringing any chili padi along the journey. It was different when we were in Italy 2 years later as we stopped majority at a Chinese Restaurant which share similar Asian taste. Tips: bring soy sauce and cut chillies along :)

Below photo is 1 of the beautiful view of a newly constructed bridge along Ankara - Istanbul road.

Road from Ankara to Istanbul

Everybody started to smile broadly when the itinerary were coming to close. We had so much fun and great friendship with everyone in a group during a short period of time. Till we meet again, my friend, adios!

The end of Turkey's trip in 2004.
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