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Anatolian Civilizationsá

Anatolia, the land of sun and history, is one of the rare places in the world which have been inhabited ever since the first man was seen on the earth. The Palaeolithic Age, which we call the Stone Age, reigned between the years 600.000-10.000 B.C. in Anatolia and was followed by the Mesolithic and Neolithic Ages. The men began to leave their caves between the years 8000-5500 B.C. during the Neolithic Age, and to establish villages on the meadows. We can conduct studies on this culture in ancient localities of habitation such as Diyarbakir, Catalhoyuk, Konya and Burdur Hacilar. The men lived the Chalcolithic age, which we call the metal-stone, after Neolithic Age. The early Bronze Age followed the metal-stone age and it was lived through very gloriously in Anatolia. An indigenous tribe called Hatti lived in central Anatolia during this age. We see the golden works of art of this magnificent civilization belonging to the years 2300-2000 B.C., in the royal tombs in Alacahoyuk. A civilization similar to this one was lived in Troy II during the same age in Anatolia.

The Hittites who came to Anatolia in the ears of 2000 B.C. lived in principalities for a while, and then in the years of 1800 B.C., they, established a state and made Hattusas the capital. We can study the art of the Hittite people who created a great civilization in Anatolia between the years 1800-1200 B.C. in the localities such as Hattusas (Bogazkoy), Yazilikaya and Alacahoyuk.

The Hittites were destroyed by the unceasing attacks of the sea tribes during the years 1200 B.C., But their usage and customs survived until 650 B.C. in the south Anatolian cities such as Malatya, Maras, Kargamis, Zincirli, which are called the late Hittite city-states. When the Hittite State ceased to exist, the Urartu people founded a state in eastern Anatolia, made Van the capital city and stepped on the scene of history (860-580 B.C.). The works of art made of ivory and bronze which showed their master workmanship were discovered as a result of the excavations carried on in the Fortress of Van, in Urartu cities such as Toprakkale, Altintepe and Cavustepe. When the Urartus were utterly destroyed by the Ischits in the year 580 B.C., the Phrygians founded a state in central Anatolia, with Gordion as the capital, but they also disappeared from the scene of history at the beginning of the 8th century B.C. by reason of the raids of the Kimmers. The Phrygian works of art found in the tomb of their legendary King Midas, are exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. The Lydians succeeded the Phrygians by founding a state in western Anatolia and made Sardes the capital. When the Lydians were defeated by the Persians in the year 546 B.C., the whole Anatolia was conquered by the Persians.

Anatolia was taken over by Alexander the Great when he defeated the Persians in 333 B.C., and by his inheritors after his death. So, Anatolia was the site of the Hellenistic period between the years 330 and 30 B.C. We observe that the Kingdom of Pergamum developed and became more powerful during this period. Many works of art created during the Hellenistic Period were inspired by the style of art, called the Pergamum style. Since Attolos III. the king of Pergamum, had no inheritors, he ceded his territory to Rome in 133 B.C., and Anatolia was wholly integrated to Roman territory in this way. Anatolia was furnished with magnificent structures during the Roman period, too. The structures of the Hellenistic Period and those of the Roman Period are seen to exist in an intermingled manner with each other in antique cities.

When Rome was divided into two as the Eastern Rome and Western Rome in the year 395 A.D., Anatolia was left in the possession of the Eastern Roman Empire. The most important works of art belonging to this empire. briefly called Byzantium, are the magnificent works in such as Hagia Sophia, Chora and Hagia Irene. The exquisitely beautiful Anatolia mosaics are seen here. In many localities of ruins, the works of art belonging to the Anatolia period are seen to have succeeded the works of art belonging to the Roman period.

The Seljukians who defeated the Anatolia people in 1071 during the pitched battle in Malazgirt, took possession of Anatolia gradually. They founded the Seljukian State of Anatolia and made Konya the capital. Medresses with magnificent stone doors, caravanserai inns and mosques have also survived until today from the time of the Seljukians. The most famous ones among these are Buruciye in Sivas, The Medresse With Double Minarets in Sivas. Yakutiye in Erzurum, The Medresse With Double Minarets in Erzurum, the Medresse With Fine Minarets in Konya, the Medresse of Karatay Saib Ata. The mosques such as the Grand Mosque of Divrigi, the Grand Mosque of Malatya, the Mosque of Alaaddin in Konya, the Grand Mosque of Beysehir are some of the mosques belonging to the Seljukian period. In addition to these, many caravanserais built in order to provide halting places for the caravans and monumental tombs which have survived standing magnificently until today, are the most beautiful examples of the Seljukian art. Owing to the fact that the Seljukiyans were left powerless by the Mongolian invasion and ceased to exist officially later, the principalities subjected to the Seljukians declared themselves independent in certain places. One of them was the Ottoman principality which declared independence in Sož╝t in the year 1299. The Ottoman principality became more powerful day by day and enlarged its territory continually thus transforming itself from principality to an empire. The Ottomans ruled over Anatolia for 600 years between the dates 1299 and 1923 and they provided training facilities for architects, like Sinan the Architect, leaving behind magnificent works of art such as the Mosques of Selimiye, Suleymaniye, Sultanahmet and many other architectural works such as palaces, kiosks and fortresses. They created wonders in handicrafts of carpet making, tile-making and miniature, besides the architectural works.

The Ottoman State collapsed after the World War I and the young was founded in its place in 1923, with Ankara the capital city. In addition to many antique cities that can be visited in Turkey there are other interesting places which have a varied history, namely Cappadocia, the Mount Nemrut, Lycian Region. The Black sea is a land of greenness in itself. It is an inconceivably beautiful travel to experience through history in the crystal blue waters during the Blue Voyage from Bodrum to Antalya.

Turkey, which is a paradise of nature, history and sun, will keep on being a candidate for becoming the most interesting country for Tourism, with all these riches of hers.


Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Ancient Civilizations and Treasures of Turkey".

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