Mummies of a 1000-year-old cat and a baby are on display at Turkey’s Aksaray Museum
Visitors are captivated by the presence of mummified cats, babies, and adults at a museum in Aksaray, the main entrance to Cappadocia with a wealth of historical and cultural treasures. These artifacts serve as a reminder of Aksaray’s status as the region’s first settlement and provide a unique glimpse into the region’s rich history.
The Aksaray Museum, which houses Turkey’s first and only mummy section, has 13 mummies on display, including cats, babies, and adult humans from the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries discovered in excavations in and around Aksaray.
Yusuf Altn, Director of the Aksaray Museum, provided information on the mummies, which are kept in showcases with special heating and cooling systems.
“With 13 mummies in our Aksaray Museum, we are Turkey’s only museum with a mummy section,” Altn explained. “Each of the Amasya and Nide Museums has one mummy, but our museum has the only section exhibited in this manner… in our country.”
“The mummies in our museum were discovered as a result of excavations in Ihlara Valley churches.” Some of our mummies were discovered in churches built around a thousand years ago in anl Church,” he explained.
Altn pointed out that the embalming technique used in Turkey differed from that used in Egypt.
“Of these mummies, the baby mummy is the most technically demanding. Because the mummification technique used in our country differs from that used in Egypt. Following death, the internal organs of the corpse are removed, the wax is melted, and the corpse is covered with a layer of glaze. The fabric and shroud are then wrapped around it. It is buried in this manner, and the corpse is preserved for centuries after it dries. Our mummies from these excavations are displayed in our museum. We especially show the embroideries of necklaces, booties, and shrouds on them.”
Yusuf stated that a cat loved by its owner was also mummified and that a cat mummy was discovered during the excavation efforts.
“We have another mummy, the cat mummy, who is especially popular with our children.” Our cat mummy was waxed and preserved, most likely because its owner adored it. As a result, we’ve been displaying it in our museum,” he explained.
“All of our mummies date from the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries.” So they’re nearly a thousand years old.”