Ulucanlar Prison is an important icon for Ankara
Built in 1925 as a prison, witnessed executions and prisoner revolts, Ulucanlar Prison, where important people in Turkish political and literary life stayed now hosts culture, art and new hopes in its corridors.
If there are a few places that witnessed the adventure of the Republic of Turkey, the most important of those is without doubt the Ulucanlar Prison. Ulucanlar Prison that hosted a lot of famous persons from Bülent Ecevit to Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, from Kemal Tahir to Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, from Ahmet Arif to Cüneyt Arcayürek, from Metin Toker to Osman Yüksel Serdengeçti in its cold wards has always been remembered with sorrow after executions of the people it witnessed. Ulucanlar was the subject of various movies thanks to its "human soul" hidden right under his cold face, tough conditions and uncannyness. Ulucanlar Prison, where several artists, authors and journalists stayed due to the ideas they defend throughout the 81 years it was open, has now been transformed fully into a museum and a center for arts and culture. After transfer of the prisoners in the closed prison to another prison, the whole area and some of the buildings herein were registered as “buildings that must be protected” by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board. This decision ensured granting of the works for restoring the prison and transforming it into a museum and center of arts and culture to Altındağ Municipality, a duty that we applied for several times before. As Altındağ Municipality, we completed the restoration works we initiated in 2009. We preserved all buildings with historical importance, all wards, visit rooms, cells, yards, corridors, all these areas where the prisoners used to eat or bath exactly. This place is literally going to be a living museum, a living memory of the political life of Turkey with its library, art galleries, meeting and conference rooms and film plateaus. Ulucanlar is not only a prison, it is a memory that contains several remembrances that mark Turkish political and social life. Accessing this memory is vital so that we do not live what we have seen and lived again. I think that opening Ulucanlar for visiting as a museum is therefore important and believe that the social memory must be read correctly. Certainly, the energy contributed by the Ulucanlar Prison Center for Arts and Culture to Ankara will be spread throughout Turkey. Ulucanlar Prison presents a trip filled with emotions for the political life of Turkey to all of its visitors with its new face. We are waiting for you all in Ulucanlar Prison Museum and Semi-Open Prison Center of Culture and Arts.