Beyond Anitkabir: The Funerary Architecture of Atatürk: The Construction and Maintenance of National Memory, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Beyond Anitkabir: The Funerary Architecture of Atatürk

The Construction and Maintenance of National Memory, 1st Edition

By Christopher S. Wilson


162 pages

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There have been five different settings that at one time or another have contained the dead body of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, organizer of the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923) and first president of the Republic of Turkey. Narrating the story of these different architectural constructions - the bedroom in Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, where he died; a temporary catafalque in this same palace; his funeral stage in Turkey’s new capital Ankara; a temporary tomb in the Ankara Ethnographic Museum; and his permanent and monumental mausoleum in Ankara, known in Turkish as ’Anitkabir’ (Memorial Tomb) - this book also describes and interprets the movement of Atatürk’s body through the cities of Istanbul and Ankara and also the nation of Turkey to reach these destinations. It examines how each one of these locations - accidental, designed, temporary, permanent - has contributed in its own way to the construction of a Turkish national memory about Atatürk. Lastly, the two permanent constructions - the Dolmabahçe Palace bedroom and Anitkabir - have changed in many ways since their first appearance in order to maintain this national memory. These changes are exposed to reveal a dynamic, rather than dull, impression of funerary architecture.


'The book narrates and demonstrates very eloquently the interesting (hi)story of the transportation and location of the remains of the founder of Turkey, starting from the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul to Anıtkabır in Ankara. Wilson offers a highly interesting account of the Turkish national identity process providing new insights, fresh interpretation, and original information, at least for the non-Turkish readers, through a not-so-widely studied field, that of Turkish architecture…' Changing Turkey in a Changing World 'The visual content of the book is remarkable. It includes not only historical photographs of the different funeral processions, mourning ceremonies and related buildings from 1938 to 1953, but also original drawings of the competition entries. Wilson also provides four selfmade maps that illustrate the historical paths of the funeral processions in Istanbul and Ankara. With his discussion of the actual routes versus possible alternatives, he is able to add a new and fascinating spatial dimension to the analysis of the processions as rituals'. H-Soz-u-Kult (H-Net) 'Wilson.’s book is a timely addition to an interesting subfield of turkish studies, the study of memory in republican turkey'. Turkish Review

About the Author

Christopher S. Wilson teaches architecture and design history at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Adaptive Reuse & Renovation
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban