I interrupt the long drive from the north to Syria to visit two museums worth seeing.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara displays excellent artefacts from the Stone Age to the Hittites and Phrygians. The finds at Çatalhöyük are fascinating. A Neolithic city (roads were probably not yet invented, you had to go from roof to roof to get into a house). Not only a fat mother deity made of clay was found here, but also wall paintings. Not only hunting scenes and leopards, one shows the stylised city and in the background the volcano Hasan Dagi with Strombolian eruption. This is certainly the oldest artistic representation of a volcanic eruption! The bronze buffaloes and deer decorated with electrum (from Alacahöyük, early Bronze Age) are also beautiful. Monumental are the huge stone blocks of the Hittites, decorated with reliefs… And after the Phrygians, around 700 BC, the Anatolian civilisations seemed to end… At least in this museum.
The museum of Antakya has a huge collection of beautiful Roman mosaics. Apart from that, the city is horrible, concrete blocks and the river stinks like a cesspool.
Backpacking trip Middle East and Caucasus 2008