Ankara Orchard House, also known as SEMAHAT-NUSRET ARSEL ANKARA ORCHARD HOUSE, historic house museum and cultural center connected to VEKAM. The building, situated in the Keçiören district of Ankara, is one of the few remaining examples of Ankara’s civil architectural heritage.
The Orchard House was built in the early 1900s by Ali Gedikoğlu, Vehbi Koç’s uncle-in-law and a distinguished member of Ankara society. After Gedikoğlu’s death, his wife sold the house to Vehbi Koç. Semahat Arsel later inherited the somewhat dilapidated house from her father and donated it to the Vehbi Koç Foundation so it could be restored and used to teach future generations about the way of life and culture of the period in which it was built. It was restored in keeping with its original form in 2006 and opened up to visitors in the following year.
Maintaining the authentic architectural and decorative characteristics of its era, the Orchard House has been endowed with the legal status of a Priority Protected Immovable Cultural Asset. The outer walls of the ground and middle floors are constructed from andesite and Ankara stone, while the interior loadbearing walls from ground level upwards are timber.
The dining room, salon and bedroom are designed to reflect life in the Orchard House during the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the new Republic, with furnishings such as low copper tray tables, divans, rattan chairs, brass bedsteads and embroidered linen curtains. The other rooms are used by small groups for cultural activities, documentary presentations and meetings.
Ankara Orchard House, in partnership with the Contemporary Drama Association, has organized drama-based educational and awareness raising projects such as “The Changing Face of Womanhood in Ankara” and “Growing up in Ankara in the Early Days of the Republic.” An exhibition set up in the garden in a Mongol tent from May 22, 2015 to March 1, 2016, showed aspects of the Mongol lifestyle.