House of Atatürk in Erzurum draws visitors
The Atatürk House Museum in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum, where the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk resided for 52 days on July 9, 1919 and laid the foundations of the national struggle during the Erzurum Congress, receives thousands of tourists in every season.
Built by the city’s wealthy in the end of the 19th century on Cumhuriyet Avenue’s Yukarı Mumcu neighborhood, the historical structure was used by the German Consulate General, the governor’s office and other institutions. It gained importance in the history of the Turkish Republic after Atatürk stayed there with his friends for 52 days.
The building has hosted its guests as the Atatürk House Museum for 34 years under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Last year, it was visited by 300,000 people including foreign tourists and 100,000 people in the first five months of this year.
The museum draws attention for its acoustic structure, personal items belonging to Atatürk, and materials from during the years of the national struggle.
The Atatürk House Museum is one of the most original and oldest Atatürk houses in Anatolia, said Erzurum Provincial Culture and Tourism Director and history teacher Cemal Almaz, speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency.
“This house has a unique atmosphere. Atatürk made the plans for the Erzurum Congress in this museum and held talks. Then he laid the foundations of the Turkish Republic with the other delegates,” said Almaz.
The culture and tourism director also said the building was a private property, adding that the house was opened to Atatürk by its owner when he came to the city.
He said the house was possessed by the state in 1924. It was a gift to Atatürk and opened as a museum in 1984.
“There is the room where Atatürk worked, the hall, where he met with the delegates and a bedroom. We try to keep its originality. Restorations have been made but we have given the utmost priority to protect its original structure,” said Almaz.
The building has witnessed the preparations for the national struggle, said the culture and tourism director.
“The National Pact, which was the most important step toward democracy, was planned in the Erzurum and Sivas congresses. The word ‘Republic’ was first mentioned in this building,” he said.
Almaz said the number of visitors to the museum increased every other day.
“Visitors of Erzurum come to see this building, too. We host a record number of visitors. Students in the city visit the museum in groups. We have nearly 300,000 visitors a year,” he added.
Speaking about the rooms and objects in the building, Almaz said it was home to original letters, newspaper clippings and other original pieces.
“From the Seljuk to the Republic, the memory of Anatolia is here,” he added.