Must-See Statues for Art Lovers in Türkiye


5 Minute

Humans have called the lands of Anatolia home as far back as our history goes. This is why Türkiye is known as the cradle of civilizations. This variety of cultures that have existed in Türkiye reflect on the art displayed at Türkiye's many museums today. One of the most impressive of these works of art are no doubt statues. Requiring a high level of expertise, craftsmanship, and artistry, statues also require quality materials such as marble which means that many well-preserved examples have survived. Let’s take a look at some of the must-see statues for art lovers in Türkiye!

Balıklıgöl Statue, Şanlıurfa Museum, Şanlıurfa

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We start our list with the Balıklıgöl Statue, one of the earliest examples of sculpture art. Found in Balıklıgöl in the center of Şanlıurfa, this unique statue measures at 1.80 cm. Dating back to 11,500 years ago, this artwork is also known as the oldest human-sized sculpture. 

So who did this statue represent? The sculpture still remains a mystery as to who it belongs to, and awaits visitors at the Şanlıurfa Museum today.

Tarhunda Statue, Adana Archeology Museum, Adana

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The Hittites, a deep-rooted civilization of Anatolia, became one of the prominent civilizations in the art of sculpture thanks to their skills in stonework. Especially for temples, palaces, and monumental gates, the Hittites often used figures of gods, goddesses, and kings in their sculptures, and produced gigantic statues and reliefs. In this magnificent statue, which reaches 2 meters in length, the Storm God Tarhunda was depicted. In the work dated to the Late Hittite Period, Tarhunda is shown as being pulled in a vehicle by two bulls.

Today, you can visit this valuable heritage left to us from the Hittites in the Adana Archeology Museum.


Cybele Statue, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

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Phrygians are one of the important civilizations that ruled in Anatolia after the Hittite civilization. Phrygians made a name for themselves by using high techniques in architecture and engineering and were also very successful in art. Although there are not many examples of Phrygian sculpture art today, we can say that the Phrygians were under the influence of Greek, Late Hittite, and Assyrian art. Phrygians, who created very original works by adding their own interpretations, worked on the figure of Kybele (Matar), which they generally saw as the mother goddess. In this work, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Phrygian sculpture art, the Goddess and figures playing a musical instrument on each side can be seen.

You can visit this statue at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.

Priest Statue, Ephesus Museum, İzmir

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Ancient Egypt had a very rich culture and art world. Emphasizing its unique styles and techniques in the art of sculpture, this civilization left countless works behind. As seen in this example of a bronze sculpture, the position of standing forward with one foot in front of the other is one of the distinctive features of Egyptian sculpture. Thanks to this feature, the sculpture becomes more balanced and powerful. Another interesting feature about the artifact, dated to the 6th century BC, is that it was found in Ephesus.

You can visit this statue, which gives very valuable information about the relations between different civilizations, in the Ephesus Museum.

Dionysus and Satyr Statue, Burdur Museum, Burdur

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One of the important centers that comes to mind when it comes to sculpture art is Aphrodisias. Aphrodisias was known for its famous sculpture school, which was active between the 1st century BC and the 5th century AD. The ancient city became one of the most important sculpture centers of Rome due to the rich marble deposits around it and the talented artists of Aphrodisias. Apart from Aphrodisias, high-quality statues were sent to other ancient cities. The Statue of Dionysus and Satyr, which proves this, was located in the Antonine fountain, one of the symbols of the Ancient City of Sagalassos.

Today, you can visit this work, which carries the traces of Aphrodisian sculptors, in the Burdur Museum.


Bronze Mars Statue, Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep

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Most of the bronze sculptures made in ancient times have not survived. The main reason for this is that bronze sculptures were melted and then used in other areas. Therefore, it is very lucky that this statue has survived to the present day, almost without any damage. In this work, dated to the Roman Period, the god of war Mars is depicted. The facial expression of the statue -which has a helmet and spear, the symbols of Mars- is quite impressive.

You can visit this statue, which is a unique value with its extraordinary iconography, at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum.


Hadrian Statue, Museum of Troy, Çanakkale

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Hadrian is one of the important and well-known emperors of the Roman Empire. However, unlike other emperors, he traveled around his lands, met the people, and made donations to the public buildings of those cities. Troy is one of those cities. Hadrian provided financial assistance to the reconstruction of the Odeon in Troy. For this reason, the Trojans made this statue to express their gratitude to Hadrian. The Medusa figure in the middle of Hadrian's armor is very striking.

You should definitely see this valuable work, which is one of the stars of the Museum of Troy.