The central Anatolian plateau, ochre-hued, cleft
by ravines and dominated by volcanic peaks, forms the heartland of Turkey. Covered
with wheatfields and outlined with ranks of poplars, the boldly contoured steppe
has a solitary majesty. This plateau was one of the cradles of human civilization.
At Catalhoyuk, remains of settlements from as early as the eighth millennium B.C.
have been unearthed. The homeland of many people and the historic battleground
of East and West; here the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines,
Seljuks and Ottomans all fought for their sovereignty and established their rule.
In the 11th century, the migrating Turks from the east made the plateau their
own. During its turbulent history, Central Anatolia has endured invasion by great
conquerors, such as Alexander the Great and Tamerlane. In the course of ten millennia
of habitation, the denizens of the area have reflected in their art - from the
vigorous paintings of Catalhoyuk and the confident lines of Seljuk architecture,
to, more recently, the impressive modern form of Ataturk's mausoleum - the dramatic
contours of the surrounding landscape.