Ankara to become a cultural destination

Ankara to become a cultural destination

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Ankara to become a cultural destination

AA photos

Turkey is one of the most important places in the world in terms of archaeology, according to Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay.

“That’s why we have to highlight the significance of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, in terms of archaeology,” Günay said. Günay discussed the ongoing excavation work at the ancient Roman theater at Bentderesi in Ulus and answered questions from journalists. He also took information about the latest developments at the site and talked to representatives of municipality.

The excavation has been going on since 2009, Günay said. “We always knew that this was the site of an ancient theater; however, the ministry situated a building on it. We demolished the building in 2009 and started to build a new archeological site with the sponsorship of the municipality and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.”

Ankara was an important settlement site in the ancient Roman era, Günay said. “This settlement is an ancient one, which the [modern] city is situated around. Archeologists have discovered a Roman bath and theater in front of the [modern] prefecture [building].”

Günay also criticized the cultural politics pursued by earlier governments. “This is a very important site. It is really shameful that the municipality built a building on this site in earlier years. This shows how careless the cultural politics we had in the past were.”

The site is currently being restored with exclusive excavation work, Günay said, adding that when the excavation is complete the site will become a venue hosting cultural events. The venue will also be used by local residents of Ankara as an art and culture space.

“The artifacts that are unearthed during the excavation will be displayed at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The ancient history of Ankara will make the city as attractive as other cities in Turkey. This will bring a new fresh breath to tourism in Ankara,” Günay said.


Ertuğrul Günay discusses a new museum that
is planned to be built at the Atatürk Culture
Center (AKM) in Istanbul. The ministry awaits
approval of the museum plan. Hürriyet photo

A new museum at Istanbul’s AKM

Günay also discussed the new museum that is planned to be built at the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM) in Istanbul. The ministry is currently awaiting approval of the museum plan from the Environment and Urbanization Ministry, and work on the museum will be starting on 2013, he said.

A country like Turkey needs a larger museum than the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and recently a great deal of effort has been made in the capital to make the historical part of the city more significant, Günay said.

A new civilizations museum, which will gather archaeological artifacts from around Turkey together at a new venue in Ankara will be a world leader, Günay had earlier said, the Anatolia news agency reported.

“Our dream is to have the largest museum in the world. The museum that we are planning to build will not only be the largest in the Middle East and Balkans, but will be the largest museum in the world,” Günay said. Ankara is the capital of the Turkish Republic and it will welcome a new museum for the Republic’s centennial in 2023 that features artifacts from the Roman, Selçuk and Ottoman eras. “We think Ankara will host such a museum with pride,” Günay said.

Ankara as a tourism destination

Tourism trends in Turkey are related to the current political situation, Günay said. “That’s why tourist figures are increasing. In 2011 many reservations to North Africa were canceled, and tourist decided to come to Turkey instead,” he said. Currently the European tourism market has shrunk, but other markets have developed. This year we do not expect very large growth like we saw in 2011. We also want Ankara to become a historical destination for tourists.”