Ataturk’s Mausoleum: The legendary Ataturk succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver on November 10, 1938. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk then physically left his people, his homeland, in Istanbul, in the Dolmabahçe Palace. No burial place could contain such a man, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk did not choose his burial site, his body was embalmed and kept at the Ankara Ethnographic Museum on November 21 following his death. Thus, the Turkish government organized an international competition to realize the Mausoleum of Ataturk: 47 projects were presented (27 foreign projects and 20 international projects) with among others as participants Switzerland, Austria, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Turkey.
Two Turkish architects Emin Onat and Orhan Arda were selected.
Ataturk’s Mausoleum was built on Anittepe, a 906-meter hill overlooking the capital Ankara. Construction did not begin until 6 years after his death, in 1944, and 9 years of work will be necessary, i.e. 1953.
In order to build the Ataturk Mausoleum, marble of all colors (cream, red, pink, green, black) from all over Turkey was brought in as well as travertines (red, yellow, white, black). The Ataturk Mausoleum has a dimension of 750,000 square meters and is composed of 2 separate blocks: the Peace Park and the Ataturk Mausoleum block.
The Peace Park is so called because one of the best known proverbs of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK was: “PEACE IN THE HOMELAND PEACE IN THE WORLD“
The Peace Park has trees from 24 different countries, including France, Greece, Japan, Egypt, etc. In total, 48,500 trees, flowers and shrubs of 104 different species inhabit the Peace Park. By the road which crosses the park, one arrives in front of the stairs of the alley of the Lions. Afterwards, we can see two towers: that of the REPUBLIC on the right and that of independence on the left. There we can find an exhibition of photos of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as well as a model of the Mausoleum of Atatürk.
There is also a group of statues of 3 women: the one in the middle, with her hand on her face, mourns the death of ATATÜRK, those on both sides wear a crown of wheat ears which symbolizes the fertility of the land Turks as well as a container to collect the water from the April rains which is sacred. In front, a group of statues of 3 men, in the same way, the right statue symbolizes a Turkish soldier and next to him, a younger one holds in his hand a book, symbolizing education and culture, in other words , the intellectual. The last symbolizes the farmer.
The Ataturk Mausoleum in total has a dimension of 120,000 square meters and consists of 3 large parts:
- The lions alley: on the sides, 12 lions in white travertine, i.e. 24 in total in the form of Hittite lions, symbolizing the 24 states founded by the Turks historically
- The ceremonial square: capacity 15,000 people, the floor is entirely covered with red, black, yellow and white travertine, the whole forming almost 380 carpet patterns. The square is surrounded by multiple galleries which display his personal items, his boat, car, his cosmetics, giving an idea of the personality of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK.
- Ataturk’s Mausoleum: it is gigantic and made up of 44 columns. It shows a flag pole that was donated by a Turk living in the United States, owner of a flag pole factory.
Finally, in front of the huge tomb of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK, rests in peace the second president of the Turkish Republic, Ismet Inönü, who died on January 25, 1973.
His alpaca costume from the Independence War can be found at the Ataturk Museum, as well as gifts he received from other states. Atatürk’s Library, brings together the books that belonged to him. The other library contains photos of the major actions carried out by MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK.
Entrance to Ataturk’s Mausoleum is free. The monument is open all year round February 1 to May 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from May 15 to October 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from November 1 to January 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
However, backpacks are prohibited and are withheld at the entry.
Ceremonies and national holidays are organized every year at the Mausoleum of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK:
- May 19 (May 19, 1919 – start of the War of Independence)
- April 23 (April 23, 1923 – first national assembly)
- October 29 (October 29, 1923 – the proclamation of the First Republic)
- November 10 (November 10, 1938 – death of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK)
- According to Turkish tradition, foreign heads of state traveling to Ankara pass by the Mausoleum of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK and lay a wreath of flowers.
The Mausoleum of MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK is guarded for 24 hours. The soldiers in blue are from the Air Force, those in green are from the Army, and those in white are from the Navy.
The soldiers or conscripts must be 1’80 m height minimum. In fact they were chosen very carefully on the basis of their physical characteristics for this position.