Monday 8 January 2024

Ataturk Mausoleum

Most people think that Istanbul is the capital city of Turkey, and it has a population of around 20 million as opposed around five million in Ankara, however they would be wrong.

Today we drove 500 kilometres across Turkey to Ankara, which has been the capital city since October 1923. After War of Independence, the Turkish nationalists abolished the Ottoman Empire and moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara. 

The leader of the nationalists was Mustafa Kemal Pasha who then became known as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which means Father of the Nation.

We visited his Mausoleum in the centre of Ankara. 

It is a massive structure and sits in a dominant position on the top of a hill overlooking the whole of the city. 

The area is guarded by ceremonial soldiers at every corner, as well as serious looking CIA types with curly earpieces and bossy voices. 

The reason that the place looks deserted is because we were the last people to leave, and they were herding us rapidly towards the exit. 

The actual tomb is underground, but there is a large hall with a ceremonial sarcophagus. 

There was also a museum with a wax model of Ataturk at work at his desk, and best of all, a glass case with a cane gun in at that was right out of a James Bond movie. It looked just like an elegant walking stick but was really a deadly weapon. There was no explanation as to whether it belonged to the great man, or whether his guards walked along with him twirling the canes as they marched. 

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