Ancient city of Gordium sheds light on Anatolian history

Ancient city of Gordium sheds light on Anatolian history

Ancient city of Gordium sheds light on Anatolian history

Ancient city of Gordium sheds light on Anatolian history
The ancient Turkish city of Gordium listed on UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage sheds light on Anatolian history. The city was the capital of the Phrygians.

Near the Turkish capital of Ankara, Gordium in Ankara’s Polatlı village is home to a history of 4,000 years. It is known for its cemeteries and ancient remains that are over two-millennia-old. They were discovered by two German brothers during railway construction in the 19th century.


The biggest of the 128 tumuli in the region is the tomb of Midas, which is located opposite the Gordium Museum. The museum displays artifacts unearthed in tumuli during excavations. There are also artifacts from the Polatlı tumulus and the Hacıtuğrul tumulus.

Around 750 antique materials including mosaics and pebbles, which were found during the archeological excavations are now exhibited at the Gordium Museum.

The cemeteries around the museum narrate the lifestyle of the Phrygians, which were believed to have settled in Gordium, as it was their political and cultural capital in Anatolia after the collapse of the Hittite dynasty.

The tomb of Midas, or the Great Tumulus, was built in 740 B.C. for the father of the Phrygian King Midas and is the second biggest tumulus in Anatolia.

The burial chamber in the tumulus is known as the oldest timber structure in the world. Three different trees including pinewood, cedar wood and juniper were used in the tumulus. The tumulus was found in 1957 and 310 artifacts such as fibulas, containers, boilers, pitchers and wooden tables were found inside.

This type of burial tradition has similarities to the Kurgan tradition of the Turkic culture. The dead ones are buried with their belongings and their loved ones bring gifts to their cemeteries.

These things can be seen today at the Gordium Museum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

[HH] 10 percent of city unearthed

Professor Brian Rose, chief of the archeological excavation team, told Anadolu Agency they have found materials showing history before two millennia and prior to the medieval period.

“This city has two big entrance gates. Restorations continue on the main entrance gate. The other southern gate, built in the ninth century B.C., was found five years ago. We are working on it,” he said.
Rose said works on the artifacts also continued in laboratories.

“Penn University undertook in this research in 1950. We have been carrying out works for 70 years in 2.5 months a year. In the ancient Phrygian capital, we have only discovered 10 percent of its historical traces,” the professor said, noting the process needed attention and patience.

An Italian team is also working on the main entrance to the ancient city.

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