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Museums can be a real hit or miss attraction in any travel destination. There are some real stunning ones and others which make you wish you’d rather taken a walk in the park. The unassuming Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara Turkey, is one of the best we’ve seen in any travel destination for its unique collection and efficient layout.
To start off, Ankara is a destination already beyond the typical itinerary of Turkey. It is the capital city and a place of business, but one will notice far fewer tourists compared to the streets of Istanbul. The Museum showcases many ancient artifacts which attest to the various peoples across thousands of years who have occupied the Anatolian plains. What makes the place so intriguing in our estimation is its size, the impressive collection is just nice for a pleasant walk through of an hour to an hour and a half. This ideal length of viewing time will not disappoint, artifacts are well labeled and one can get right up to them, often without glass to examine the detail.
There are guided tours and audio guides available, but this museum is perfect for the self guided, independent tour. The impression one immediately gets is that Turkey is not a country of one, homogeneous, race, but a collection of cultures and races across the ages. Expositions include divisions into time periods such as the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and the Early Bronze. The Hittite civilization features heavily, with coins, carved stone reliefs, statues, coins and furniture. The greatest historic neighbor, the Assyrians are referenced in many of the agricultural and trade artifacts which are on display.
The 500 year old building which the museum is housed in is charming and offers amenities like a cafe, gift shop and rest rooms. Hours are 8:30am-6:15pm April to October, till 5pm November to March. It is found on Gözcü Sokak street near the Ulus Metro stop, just by the spice and vegetable market.