The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is a real gem, showcasing many of Turkey's best ancient treasures and providing excellent insight into the incredible amount of history that has played out here. Housed in a 15th-century bedesten (similar to a caravansary), the museum covers every major civilization that has had a presence in Anatolia, going back nearly 10 millennia. Highlights of the vast collection include finds dating back to 7500 BC (famous mother goddess figurines among them) from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, one of the oldest human settlements ever discovered; Hatti and Hittite artifacts, such as stylized stag and bull sculptures and drawings; and clay cuneiform tablets (the earliest written records found in Anatolia) from the Assyrian trade colonies period. Another renowned piece is a clay tablet recording a copy of the 13th-century BC Treaty of Kadesh, the world's first known peace treaty (the original was etched in silver), found at the ancient Hittite capital
Hattuşa. A significant collection of monumental stonework from around Anatolia, including well-preserved neo-Hittite reliefs depicting the epic of Gilgamesh, from the archaeological site of Karkamış in Gaziantep, is also on display. Note that the museum has been undergoing a major restoration since 2011, and, as of this writing, only a small representative section is open to visitors. The museum is expected to reopen in full by mid-2014.