The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Turkish: Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi) is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazari area in Ankara, Turkey. It consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Pasa bazaar storage building, and the Kursunlu Han. Because of Ataturk's desire to establish a Hittite museum, the buildings were bought upon the suggestion of Hamit Zubeyir Kosay, who was then Culture Minister, to the National Education Minister, Saffet Arikan. After the remodelling and repairs were completed (1938-1968), the building was opened to the public as the Ankara Archaeological Museum.
Today, Kursunlu Han, used as an administrative building, houses the work rooms, library, conference hall, laboratory and workshop. The old bazaar building houses the exhibits. Within this Ottoman building, the museum has a number of exhibits of Anatolian archeology. They start with the Paleolithic era, and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman periods. There is also an extensive collection of artifacts from the excavations at Karain, Catalhoyuk, Hacilar, Canhasan, Beyce Sultan, Alacahoyuk, Kultepe, Acemhoyuk, Bogazkoy (Gordion), Pazarli, Altintepe, Adilcevaz and Patnos as well as examples of several periods.
The exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble and bronze works date back as far as the second half of the first millennium BC. The coin collections, with examples ranging from the first minted money to modern times, represent the museum's rare cultural treasures.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations reaching the present time with its historical buildings and its deeply rooted history was elected as the first "European Museum of the Year" in Switzerland on April 19, 1997.
History of buildings
The Anatolian Civilizations Museum is in two Ottoman buildings located near Ankara Castle, in the historical Atpazari district of Ankara. One of the buildings is Mahmut Pasa Bedesteni and the other is Kursunlu Han (inn, caravanserai).
The Mahmut Pasa Bedesteni was built by Mahmut Pasha, one of the ministers (viziers) of Mehmed II the Conqueror during 1464-1471. The building does not have any inscriptions. In some sources, it is recorded that pure Angora garments were distributed here. The design of the building is of the classical type. There are 10 domes covering a rectangle designed to enclose the location, and there are 102 shops facing each other.
According to historical records and registry books, the Kursunlu Han was built as a foundation (vakif) to finance Mehmet Pasha's (Mehmet the Conqueror's vizier) alms giving in Uskudar, Istanbul. It does not have any inscriptions either. During the repairs of 1946, coins of the Murat II period were discovered. The findings indicate that the Han existed in the fifteenth century. The Han has the typical design of Ottoman Period hans. There is a courtyard and an arcade in the middle and they are surrounded by two-storey rooms. There are 28 rooms on the ground floor, 30 rooms on the first floor. The rooms have furnaces. There is a barn with an "L" type on the ground floor on west and south directions of the rooms. On the north side of the han there are 11 shops and 9 shops on east side and 4 shops facing each other within the garden. The inn (han) was built by Mehmet Pasha and in 1467 Mehmet Pasha was promoted to Prime Minister (Grand Vizier). Upon orders by Mahmut Pasha the vaulted bazaar was built. He kept his position until 1470. He had his mosque, soup kitchen and madrasa in Uskudar, and his body is buried there.
These two buildings constituting the museum today were abandoned after the fire in 1881.