• Cross-shaped glazed tile from Kubadabad Palace - Early 13th century - Karatay Tile Arts Museum, Konya
  • Seated Female Figurine - 6th Millenium BC - Nigde Museum

Anatolia. Home of eternity



07 10 '15 > 17 01 '16

More info


Centre for Fine Arts
Rue Ravenstein 23
B-1000 Brussels

Opening hours

Tue>Sun: 10:00>18:00
Thu: 10:00>21:00

25 12 '15 & 01 01 '16


T 02 507 82 00


Adults: 14€
Seniors >65: 12€
Groups: 12€
Youth <25: 6€
Children <12: 2€
Schools: 1€
Combitickets Anatolia + Imagine Istanbul: 20€

Free entrance
People in wheelchairs and the person accompanying them
Children <6 

Train + entrée expo
On sale in Belgian stations

Ticketing FNAC


Ed. Lannoo 45€

Guided tours

Max. 15 pers.
Duration: 1:30
+ special guided tours for family
95€ > 75€
T 070 344 577

Adult 4€
Chil 3€


Thu > 21:00


EUROPALIA, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, in partnership with BOZAR

Curators: Ridder Marc Waelkens & Zülküf Yılmaz

Anatolia has long been a bridge between Europe and Asia, where numerous migrations have resulted in a fascinating cultural exchange. It is perhaps the greatest cradle of cultures in the world and has an extraordinarily rich heritage, thanks to an uninterrupted and twelve millennia-long succession of civilisations. However different these civilisations were, it is remarkable how cults and rituals were passed down, some even to this day. 

This continuity of cults and rituals form the leitmotiv of the exhibition, which is divided into four themes: the cosmos; nature; the world of gods; and divine interventions. Each theme spans 12 millennia of rituals, from the earliest Anatolian civilisations to the Ottoman Empire. More than 200 objects, many of which have never been shown before, from more than 30 museums from the remotest corners of Turkey will illustrate the diverse, opulent Anatolian heritage and will introduce the art of the guest country.

The first chapter encompasses the religious interpretation of the cosmos and the veneration of celestial bodies in multiple Anatolian cultures. We will show, for instance, remarkable ritual objects from the Alacahöyük site (Bronze Age) from the Museum for Anatolian Civilisations (Ankara), carvings and sculptures from classical antiquity from the Archeological Museums of Istanbul, but also miniatures and artworks from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods from the Topkapı Palace, illustrating the worship of the heavens, constellations, sun and moon from the earliest civilisations onwards. 

The second chapter looks at the worship of natural phenomena (mountains, rock formations, springs, rivers, fountains) and the rituals performed to ensure the annual regeneration of nature. Reliefs or sculptures of river gods, nymphs and the tree of life illustrate nature’s central place in the rich artistic expression of the different civilisations and religions that succeeded each other on Anatolian soil, from the Bronze Age until the Ottoman period. 

The third chapter addresses the divine. We show the evolution from the oldest schematic images of man (10th millennium BC), via Neolithic mother goddesses in terracotta and aniconic stone idols (3rd millennium BC), to the  correct anthropomorphic representations of divine beings. Perfect body shapes and an accurate representation of movement were only seen as of the 5th century BC in representations of Olympian gods.

This section also includes typical ‘oriental’ representations of deities: winged divine beings, animal gods, ‘Betyls’ (e.g., the famous Artemis of Ephesus) and the local Neo-Hittite goddess, Kubaba. She was later transformed into the goddess Cybele, who from the 2nd century BC, was one of the most important protective goddesses of Rome and whose cult spread throughout the Empire. 

Within monotheistic religions, we show how the first Christians coped with pagan idols and imagery, and how the image of Christ evolved over time. Given the prohibition in Islam to depict Allah and the Prophet, the Turkish Seljuks and Ottomans replaced imagery with calligraphic representations of their names through so-called ‘word portraits’ or images of the Prophet’s feet or sandals. But within Turkish Islam – especially under the Seljuks – we see greater tolerance towards images of humans and animals in sophisticated secular architecture and crafts. We will exhibit refined mosque furniture and cult objects, as well as exquisite miniatures and textiles from different periods. 

The places of worship of diverse Anatolian civilisations are also illustrated, based on the architectural remains of temples, Byzantine churches and mosques, elements from their interiors and exclusively, objects used in worship. We pay equal attention to offerings and altars, religious festivals and games, and to the phenomenon of pilgrimage, which has continued uninterrupted from classical antiquity to the present day Hadj. 

The fourth and last section looks at divine interventions in the world of humans. This includes among others, gods, saints and rituals ascribed with healing powers and how for centuries humans have tried to protect themselves against misfortune, including the Evil Eye. We also look at the relationship between religion and politics, with the personification and deification of ancient cities, and the cults of both living and deceased rulers, with masterpieces that illustrate the cult of Roman Caesars. To conclude, exclusive objects show how the rulers of both Byzantine and Ottoman courts demonstrated their superiority over their subjects via court ceremonies and ceremonial attire.

Thursday Night @ BOZAR

As from Thursday 29 10 ’15, EUROPALIA TURKEY launches the Thursday Nights @ BOZAR! On those evenings, a wide range of performances will jazz up the exhibition halls. While visiting the exhibition Anatolia & Imagine Istanbul, you will have the opportunity to discover various artists that will share their artistic projects with Turkish overtones. > programme.

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas visited our exhibitions in BOZAR... > more info

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