His life full of wars for independence of Turkish country and revolutions to raise the Turkish nation to level of modern civilization, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader in the Turkish War of Independence and Turkish Revolutions, and founder of Turkish Republic, died on November 10th 1938.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a great leader, who turned Turkey into member of modern civilization, with all institutions. To build a mausoleum that would represent his eminence, and thoughts about principles, revolutions and modernization, emerged as a common idea of the Turkish nation, during the great sadness following the death of Atatürk.
As there was an observation station on the site before building Anıtkabir, the name of Anıttepe was formerly Rasattepe.
There were barrows related to the Frig civilization, which lived in Anatolia in the 12th century B.C. on this hill. After the decision to build Anıtkabir to this hill, archeological studies were carried out and the barrows removed. The findings the from barrows are exhibited in Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
In the first stage on starting construction, the nationalization procedure was initiated. The construction of Anıtkabir was started in 9th November 1944, with a magnificent ceremony. Construction was completed in 9 years, in 4 stages.
Construction of First Stage: 1944 – 1945
The first stage, including the construction of the supporting wall of the lion road and the ground level, was started on November 9th 1944 and completed in 1945.
Construction of Second Stage: 1945 – 1950
The second stage, including the construction of the mausoleum and buildings that surround ceremony area, was started in 29th September 1945, and completed on August 8th 1950. At this stage, the “foundation project” of the monument body was decided to be prepared, in order to reduce the foundation pressure, according to the building’s construction system. By the end of 1947, foundation excavation and isolation were completed, and an iron assembly 11 meters high reinforced the concrete foundation system, which would prevents any kind of subsidence, were just about to completed.
The entrance turrets and most of the road arrangement, nursery facility, forestration work and watering system of the area were mostly completed.
Construction of Third Stage: 1950
The third stage of construction included the roads to the monument, the lion road, the ceremony area, stone plating of the upper part of the mausoleum, steps, placing the sarcophagus and installation work.
Construction of Fourth Stage: 1950 – 1953
Preparation of the honor hall, lower parts of vaults, stone profiles of the honor hall, and ornamentation of eaves were completed in the fourth stage of construction. This stage was started on November 20th 1950, and completed on September 1st 1953.
In the “Anıtkabir Project”, there was the vault section that rises over colonade. On December 4th 1951, the government asked architects if it was possible to finish the building earlier, in the case of lowering the height of 28 meter honour hall.
After the studies of architects, it was found possible to cover hall of honour with a reinforced concrete ceiling, instead of stone vaults. This would also prevent the technical problems arising from the weight of the vault.
In the construction of Anıtkabir, different colors of travertine were used as exterior plating material over concrete and marble for plating inside of the mausoleum.
The white travertine that is used in statues, lion statues and mausoleum columns were from Kayseri / Pınarbaşı, and white travertine used in inside walls of turrets were from Polatlı and Malıköy. Black and red travertines from Kayseri / Boğazköprü were used in plating of floors of ceremony area and turrets, and yellow travertines from Çankırı / Eskipazar were used for the victory reliefs and columns that surround the hall of honour and the ceremony area.
Cream, red and black coloured marbles used in floor of honour hall were from Çanakkale, Hatay and Adana, the tiger skin used in the hall of honour’s inside interior walls was from Afyon, and green coloured marble was from Bilecik. The sarcophagus stone in one piece, which weighed 40 tons, was taken from Adana / Osmaniye, and white marbles that plates the side walls of the sarcophagus were taken from Afyon.
ARCHITECTURAL PROPERTIES OF ANITKABİR
The period between the years 1940 and 1950 is called “2nd National Architecture Period” in Turkish architecture. In this period, more monumental, symmetrical buildings were erected, with cube shaped stones. Anıtkabir bears the signs of this period.
With the properties of this period, Anıtkabir also bears features of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture and ornamental details.
As an example, in the outer surfaces, where ceiling and walls unite, there is a border which is called saw tooth pattern in Seljuk. Also some ornaments such as passionflower and rosette, found in some places in Anıtkabir (Mehmetçik Turret, Museum Management), are from Seljuk and Ottoman art.
With all these properties, Anıtkabir is one of the best examples for that period, which covers approximately 750.000 m2. Anıtkabir can be separated into two parts: Peace Park and the Monument Block