Main Page


Ancient writer Pausanias who lived in the 2nd century BCE claims that the city of Ankara was founded by the Phrygian King Midas. Although the identity of Midas mentioned here is controversial, archaeological research in Ankara supports that the city was founded during the Phrygian period. In terms of number of tumuli found, Ankara is the second largest Phrygian settlement after Gordion. Thus, it must have been one of the most important Phrygian cities. A great majority of the orthostats and steles shown on this page were found in the immediate vicinity of these tumuli and likely to have been a part of the structures related to the tumuli. All finds are in Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.

Kalaba Lion
It was discovered in 1860 by G. Perrot at a fountain in the village of Kalaba, about 3 kilometers north of Ankara. The slab was reused along with other old dressed blocks to build the fountain.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

Etimesgut Lion
It was discovered in 1898 by J. W. Crowfoot and J. G. Anderson at the railroad station of Paşa Çiftligi (today Etimesgut), 18 kilometers west of Ankara. The relief was found in the deserted village along with fragments of late classical sarcophagi. There are four clamp holes at the top.

Yalıncak Lion
This relief was also found in 1898 by J. G. Anderson and J. W. Crowfoot, in Yalıncak village, 10 km southwest of Ankara. The slab was reused in a fountain at the village and was removed from the fountain in 1941. There are four clamp holes at the top.

Hacı Bayram (Ahi Yakup) Sphinx
It was discovered in 1931, while the pavement stones were being laid in Ahi Yakup Street at Hacı Bayram, 200 meters east of the Temple of Augustus in the Ulus area of old Ankara. There are two clamp holes at the top.

AOÇ (Fidanlık) Griffin
It was found 1.5 m underground in 1931 during the construction work for an irrigation canal in Atatürk Orman Çiftliği. An ancient road or paved area was discovered near this relief. There are two clamp holes at the top and one on the right side.

AOÇ (Fidanlık) Bull
This relief was found a year after the griffin relief in the same area. There are three clamp holes at the top; one is for attachment to another block at the left. (160 x 103 x 42 cm)

Küçükevler Horse
It was found in 1940 in Küçükevler district of Ankara, to the west of present-day Anıtkabir. It was used as a cover slab in a Byzantine tomb unearthed during the foundation excavation of a house. The back side was flattened during reuse, possibly even before Byzantine time. It has two clamp holes at the top.

Griffin (Half)
This piece was found in 1941 during landscaping work at the western slope of the Ankara citadel. It depicts the rear part of a griffin. The tail ends in a bird's head, as in the other griffin reliefs. At the top, there are one full and one half clamp holes.

Bahçelievler Kybele
It was found in 1959 on the side wall of a Roman grave in Anıtevler district.

Kybele with Griffin (Etlik Kybele)
It was discovered in 1968 in Ankara Etlik during excavation works. The relief is cut in half and has only the left side.

Lion (Half)
It is a relief of a lion that is only half visible. Find location and date are unknown.

It was found in 1969 about 500 m west of a tumulus at the intersection of Atatürk Orman Çiftliği and İstanbul Roads.

Ziraat Bank Lion
The lion relief was found in Ulus, Ankara during the construction of Ziraat Bank building, after which it was named.

Güterbock, H. G. & N. Özgüç. 1946. Ankara Bedesteninde Bulunan Eti Müzesi Büyük Salonunun Kılavuzu.
Buluç, S. 1986. 'Ankara Kabartmaları', IX. Türk Tarih Kongresi (I. Cilt), Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 423-433.
Buluç, S. 1988. 'The architectural use of the animal and Kybele reliefs found in Ankara and its vicinity', Source. Notes in the history of art 7, 16–23.
Roller, L. E. 1999. In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, Berkeley.

Image sources:
H. G. Güterbock & N. Özgüç, 1946
S. Buluç, 1986, 1989
L. E. Roller, 1999
Tayfun Bilgin, 2014
Paul Willams, 2019

Copyright © Bora Bilgin (

Pictures taken by me or my associates (Bilgin, Anıl, Özer) can be used for non-commercial and academic
purposes with a reference to this website (contact me for higher resolution images or for any other question).
Citation: Bora Bilgin,