Thousand-Year-Old Mummies in Aksaray, Turkey

(ORDO NEWS) — Mummies of cats, babies and adults in Aksaray, which is the gateway to Cappadocia with its historical cultural riches and is known as the first settlement in Central Anatolia, enchant visitors to the museum where they are exhibited.

The Aksaray Museum, which houses the first and only mummy department in Turkey, exhibits a total of 13 mummies consisting of cats, infants and adults from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries, discovered during excavations in Aksaray and its environs.

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Director of the Aksaray Museum Yusuf Altyn provided information about the mummies, which are kept in showcases with special heating and cooling systems.

“With 13 mummies in our Aksaray Museum, we are the only museum in Turkey with a section of mummies,” Altın said. “There is one mummy each in the Amasya and Nigde museums, but in our museum there is the only section exhibited in this way… in our country.”

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“The mummies in our museum were found as a result of excavations in churches in the Ihlara Valley. Some of our mummies were found in churches built about a thousand years ago, in the church of Chanly,” he said.

Altyn noted that the technique of embalming in Turkey is different from the Egyptian one.

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“Of these mummies, the mummy of an infant is a very technical work in itself. Because the technique of mummification in our country is different from the technique of mummification in Egypt.

In this technique, after the death of a person, the internal organs of the corpse are removed, the wax is melted, and the corpse is covered with a layer of glaze.

Then it covered with cloth and a shroud. In this form, it is buried in the ground, and after drying, the corpse is preserved for centuries.

We bring mummies from these excavations to our museum and exhibit them. In particular, we exhibit embroidery of necklaces, boots and shrouds on them. ”

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Yusuf stated that the cat, which was loved by its owner, was also preserved through the mummification technique, and that the cat’s mummy was found during excavations.

“We have another mummy, the cat mummy, which especially attracts the attention of our children. The cat mummy was waxed and preserved, probably because the owner loved it. Therefore, we exhibited it in our museum,” he said.

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“All of our mummies are from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. So they are almost a thousand years old.”

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