A Journey Through Historic Ankara

If you could travel back in a time machine to any city in the years 1923-1938, where would you go?

Ankara, of course. Invitations to the first ball of the Republic, menus and photographs documenting happy hours spent by ‘the Gazi’ at the Ankara Palas hotel, enthusiastically donned fedora hats, letters penned hesitantly in the new Latin script... Faded bus tickets to Atatürk Farm and Çubuk Dam, handkerchiefs stamped with the Kızılay star and crescent, receipts for items purchased from Koçzâdeler, original editions of Orhan Veli’s ‘Garip’ poems... All these historic details are part of a new exhibition, ‘City in a Black Kalpak: Ankara 1923-1938’, currently on at the Istanbul Research Institute. Curated by Ekrem Işın with Turan Tanyer as consultant, the exhibition sheds light on the memory archive of the early Republic in a bittersweet journey through photographs and memorabilia. Through March 28, 2010.

Ankara, Heart of Turkey
One of the stops on the journey is a documentary entitled ‘Ankara, Heart of Turkey’ that was shown all over the country in schools, movie theaters and town squares in 1934. The story goes like this: The Soviet Union sends an official delegation including director Seregi Yutkevich to the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Republic. Ataturk asks Yutkevich to shoot a documentary film comparing the old Ankara with the new. The documentary contrasts striking views of Ottoman Ankara with Ankara under the Republic and its 56-minute version is part of the exhibition.