History and Archaeology of Turkey



By the Editors of the Madain Project

Modern-day Turkey (Türkiye), which is one of the world's earliest continuously inhabited areas, was the location of significant Neolithic sites such as Göbekli Tepe. The history of Turkey dates back to ancient times, with the region being home to several important civilizations. One of the earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Hattians, who lived in central Anatolia around 2000 BCE. The Hittites, another ancient civilization, established a powerful empire in Anatolia around the 17th century BCE. Over time, the region was inhabited by several ancient civilizations, including the Hattians, Hittites, Anatolian people, Mycenaean Greeks, Persians, and many others.

During the Bronze Age, the Mycenaean Greeks settled along the western coast of Anatolia, while the Phrygians settled in the central part of the region. Later, the Lydians established a kingdom in western Anatolia, and their capital, Sardis, became an important city in the ancient world.

In the 6th century BCE, the Persian Empire conquered Anatolia, which led to the rise of several powerful cities in the region, including Miletus, Ephesus, and Halicarnassus. Alexander the Great later conquered the Persian Empire, and after his death, Anatolia became a battleground for various warring factions.

The Roman Empire later conquered Anatolia, and the region became a center of Christian culture during the Byzantine era. The Seljuk Turks, who were originally from Central Asia, conquered Anatolia in the 11th century, and their empire lasted until the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. After the Mongol invasion, the Ottoman Turks established a powerful empire in Anatolia, which lasted until the early 20th century when Turkey became a modern republic.

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Archaeology of Turkey

Featured Article Constantinople

Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in 324 CE as the new capital of the Roman Empire, replacing the historic city of Rome. The city was strategically located on the Bosporus Strait, which connected the Mediterranean and Black Seas and provided a natural defensive barrier against invaders. Over the centuries, Constantinople became one of the most important cities in the world. It was a center of trade and commerce, as well as of culture, learning and also a hub of religious activity. During the Middle Ages, Constantinople was repeatedly attacked by foreign powers, including the Persians, Arabs, and Crusaders. However, it was able to withstand these attacks and remain a powerful city. In 1453 CE, Constantinople was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Mehmed II. The city was renamed Istanbul and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Explore

Featured Article Tomb of Sultan Suleiman

The Mausoleum of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent is part of the Suleymaniye Mosque Complex. Located in Istanbul, Turkey, it was built in the 16th century CE. The complex was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and is considered one of his greatest masterpieces. The mausoleum itself is a large domed structure with an octagonal base, built of finely carved white marble. The dome is supported by four large pillars and is covered in intricate calligraphy and geometric designs. The interior of the mausoleum is adorned with beautiful blue and white Iznik tiles, which are arranged in intricate patterns and designs. The walls of the main chamber are covered in intricate tilework and calligraphy, and the ceiling is decorated with beautiful frescoes and stained glass windows. The Mausoleum of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and design, reflecting the opulence and grandeur of the Ottoman Empire at its height. Explore

Featured Article Lions' Gate of Hattusa

The Lion's Gate is a notable architectural feature of the ancient Hittite city of Hattusa, located in present-day Turkey. This gate was built during the Hittite Empire's heyday in the 14th century BCE and served as the main entrance to the city's fortified inner citadel. The gate is named for the two large stone lions that flank the entrance and are believed to have been protective symbols of the city's gods. It is one of the several other gates bearing the carvings of the Lions. The gate features several architectural elements that were typical of Hittite architecture, such as the use of cyclopean masonry, where large, irregular stones are used to build walls, and the incorporation of relief carvings into the stonework. Overall, the Lion's Gate is a remarkable example of the Hittite Empire's architectural and artistic achievements. Explore

Featured Article Pergamon Altar

The Pergamon Altar was an ancient Greek monumental altar located on the Acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon (modern-day Bergama in Turkey). The altar was constructed during the second century BCE and is dedicated to Zeus and Athena, the two most important deities of the Greek pantheon. The altar is famous for its elaborate and intricate friezes, which depict the Gigantomachy (the mythical battle between the Olympian gods and the Giants) and the Telephus myth (the story of the Greek hero Telephus). The friezes are considered to be some of the finest examples of Hellenistic art and are known for their dynamic composition, detailed carving, and dramatic depiction of figures in action. In the 19th century CE, German archaeologist Carl Humann led an excavation of the altar and had the friezes removed and transported to Berlin, where they were reassembled and put on display in the Pergamon Museum. The Pergamon Altar is considered one of the most important works of art from the ancient Greek world. Explore

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