On a hill overlooking Turkish capital of Ankara, is the
monument to the man without whom this land of dramatic
physical contrasts would have been reduced to little more
than a patch of steppe land. General Mustafa Kemal roused
a people already exhausted by Ottoman defeat in First
World War, drove the invading forces into the sea, and won
back for Turks their homeland.
Taking the name "Ataturk" of "Father of
Turks", Mustafa Kemal founded the modern democratic
Republic of Turkey, based on Western laws. It was Ataturk
who made the strategically placed Ankara Turkey's Capital,
and the city is monument to his vision of modern
Looking back over his country's 8000 years heritage of
civilization, Ataturk said: "The
nation is ready and resolved to advance inhaling and
undaunted on the path of civilization".
Even around Ankara, this path of civilization stretches
back long way; to Hittites, proud and warlike people, who
ruled an empire from Black Sea to Palestine in 2nd
Millennium BC, and Phrygians, Thracian people who
dominated Anatolian plateau in 1st millennium BC.
Hittite capital to Hattusas (now called Bogazkale) lies
200 km to North-east of Ankara. The craggy hill was ringed
by double walls and its gates were guarded by lion
statues. Close to Hattusas is Hittite open air sanctuary
of Yazilikaya, and also nearby is Hittite city of
To South-west of Ankara, near Polatli, is the site of
Phrygian capital of Gordian, where Alexander the Great cut
the famous Gordian knot that gave him the key to Asia.
Also at Gordian is the great earth tumulus of King Midas,
famed in the legend of Golden Touch.
Mirroring all Anatolia's civilizations is Ankara's
Archeological Museum, with its unique collection of
proto-Hittite sun discs and stag cult figures, Hittite relieves
and Phrygian metalwork.