This article has been previously published as a part of book Antalya, Side and Alanya: TAN Travel Guide by Izabela Miszczak
Atatürk's House (tr. Atatürk Evi ve Müzesi) is a museum that aims at commemoration of the visits to Antalya of the first president of the Turkish Republic in the 30s of the 20th century. Although the current building is just a replica of the house where Atatürk actually stayed, the exhibitions inside may prove to be very enlightening, especially concerning the attitude of the Turks to Atatürk and his vision.
Atatürk in Antalya
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived to Antalya for the first time in March of 1930 with a very vital reason - he was just staying in Izmir, but the weather was extremely cold, so he decided to flee to the south for warmth and sunshine. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
The itinerary of the president ran through Isparta and Burdur, and he reached Antalya on the 6th of March, entering it from the side of Kepez, then a separate town, and now - a district of Antalya. If you ever go along this route, while returning to the Mediterranean coast from a trip to Pamukkale, be sure to find in a spot where the road turns left. You will be rewarded with quite an unusual view, commemorating the journey of Atatürk. The rock wall next to the road was carved in the shape of his face, next to which water cascades from a cliff, and on the other side of the monument the most famous words that Atatürk said about Antalya are written: "Without a doubt, Antalya is the most beautiful place in the world!" (tr. Hiç Şüphesiz ki Antalya Dünyanın En Güzel Yeridir!).
In Antalya Atatürk was enthusiastically welcomed by its inhabitants. Along the route, from Kepez to the center, people lined up to see the great leader with their own eyes. The joy was so great that, as a commemorative gift Atatürk received a whole villa just for himself. From its balcony he gave a speech and expressed his gratitude. However, he did not stay in this house for too long, because on the 12th of March he decided to return to Ankara.
During his stay in Antalya Atatürk spent the time visiting museums and ruins of ancient cities and, surprisingly, farmlands - hardly anyone knows that farming and agriculture became his hobby later in life. As a part of an intensive program he also came to Aspendos, where he was deeply moved by the deplorable state of the Roman theater. President's rebuke about this state of affairs quickly brought positive results, as the theater was restored and adapted to the organization of concerts and other cultural events.
Except for a brief visit to Antalya during a sea voyage by steamboat to Silifke, Atatürk's came to the city for the second time in February of 1935. This time the president sailed into the harbor and stopped for the night at his villa and in the evening the next day he sailed to Taşucu. In total he spent at his house in this city just seven nights.
Atatürk's House Museum
After Atatürk's death in 1938 his villa in Antalya was transformed into the Institute for Girls. In 1984 the building was given to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in order to transform it into a museum. Unfortunately, this decision coincided with the planned reconstruction of roads in the city and the building was demolished to make way for an widened Işıklar street. The villa was later rebuilt farther from the road and in 1986 opened to the public as a museum.
The villa is a two-storey house, with a living room, a bathroom, a kitchen and several other rooms located on the ground floor. There are seven rooms, including one with a balcony, on the second floor. Today, on the ground floor there is and exhibition of newspaper clippings and photographs devoted to Atatürk's visits in Antalya.
On the first floor the presidential bedroom and two offices are recreated. In addition, there is a large collection of postage stamps, coins and stamps bearing the likeness of the president. The core of the exhibition consists of personal items (including clothing and shoes), which belonged to Atatürk. They were transported to Antalya from Anıtkabir - the mausoleum of Atatürk in Ankara.
Atatürk's House Museum is situated on Işıklar Caddesi, in the center of Antalya. It can be reached by tram - Nostalji Tramvay line runs right next to the museum, and the nearest stop is called Belediye.
On foot you can visit the museum while strolling through Karaalioğlu park or visiting Kaleiçi district. The distance from Hadrian's Gate to Atatürk's House Museum is only 500 meters.
The museum is open to visitors daily except Mondays. From April to October, it is open from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and in the winter - from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. The admission to the museum is free of charge.