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
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
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 So§¼t 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".
You can purchase "Ancient Civilizations and Treasures of Turkey" book and other Turkey related books from Explore Turkey Bookstore.