The beating heart of Turkey which bares the footprints of many civilizations.
Ankara is located in the Central Anatolian Region, surrouned by the provinces of Kırıkkale and Kırşehir in the East, Cankiri in the North, Bolu in the Northwest, Eskisehir in the West, and Konya adn Aksaray in the South. Ankara covers an area of 26,897 km2 between plains formed by the Kızılirmak and Sakarya rivers at an altitude of nearly 890 meters. North from the centre of town lie the North from the centre of town lie the Northern and depression zones enclosed by mountains, which run from the Soutwest to the Northeast. The Salt Lake, a large shallow lake, and adjacent tip of the Ankara plains.
Archaeological excavations carried out in Ankara and its environs reveal that settlement in the region dates back to Prehistoric times. Bronze Age settlements such as Ahlatlıbel, Kocumbeli, Etiyokusu, and Karaoglan reflect the characteristics of the Central Anatolian culture of that time. Ankuva, frequently mentioned in Hittite sources, was probably located in the same place that Ankara is today.
Ankara was first settled as a city by the Phrygians. The capital of Phrygia was Gordion and it is one of the most impotant ancient cities in Central Anatolia. According to legend, Ankara was founded by Midas, the king of Phrygia. It was the Phrygians who gave the city the name Ancyra, which meant anchor.
The remains found in the region reveal the impotance of the Pyrygian settlements, especially between 750-500 BC. After the disintegration of Phrygia, the city was ruled by Lydians and Persians repectively. The city was a small trade centre on the famous Kings’ Road, built during the rule of the Persian king Darius I (522-486 BC) arrived in Ankara in 333 BC. Defeating the Persian king Darius III in a bloody battle, he brought the reign of the Persian kings to an end. Later the Tectoseges, a tribeof Galatians who settled in Anatolia from Europe in 278-277 BC, are konwn to have made Ankara their capital city.
Sites to See
Anitkabir (Ataturk’ Mausoleum):
Lacated on an imposing hill in the Anittepe quarter ıf the city stands the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern archtectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accımplishment of modern Turkish architecture. There is a museum housing a superior wax statue of Ataturk; writings, letters and items belonging to Ataturk, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording impotant moments in his life and in the establishment of the republic. (Anitkabir is open everyday, and the museum every day except Mondays. During the summer, there is a light and sound show in the evenings.)
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations:
The museum is close to the the citadel entrance, an old bedesten (covered bazaar) has been beautifully restored and now houses a marvelous and unique collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittie, Phrygian, Urartian, and Roman works and showpiece Lydian treasures. (Open every day, expect Monday.)
The Ethnography Museum: The museum is opposite the Opera House on Talat Pasa Boulevard. There is a fine collection of folkloric artifacts as well as artifacts from Seljuk and Ottoman mosques (Open every day, except Monday.) The museum exhibits precious example of Turkish traditional handicrafs, such as wood, metal and fabric works from different region of the country. The museum also provides visitors with a library specializing in Anatolian ethnography, folklore and art history.
The Toy Museum: in Cebeci houses toys of all kinds made wood, metal, porcelain, paper etc. (Open wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.)
Column of Julian: This clumn, in Ulus, was erected in 362 AD, probably to commemorate a visit by Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital.
The Roman Baths:
The city’s Roman Baths are located on Cankiri Street, stretching between Ulus Square and Yildirim Bayezid Square. The palaestra, surrounded by porticoes on all sides, is a large square area. The frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and caldarium (hot room) are all connected to the palaestra. With its various yards, furnaces, service parts and water tanks, the building was a monumental structure. All that remains of the building today are the heating and service areas. Coins, inscriptions and Corinthian column heads found during excavations suggest that the baths were constucted during the time of the Roman Emperor Caracalla (211-217). They were used in the Byzantine Period after being restored. A large collection of Roman inscriptions collected from the city are exhibited in the plaestra.
The Republic Monument:
Standing in Ulus Square, this monument was made by an Australian sculptor, Krippel, in momory of the heroes of the Turkish War of Independence. The base of the equestrian statue of Ataturk bears reliefs depicting Ataturk and his soldiers, along with figures symbolizing Turkish women and the young turkish Republic.
Hatti Monument: Erected in the 1970’s in Sihhiye Square, this impressive monument symbolizes the Hatti dos and commemorates Anatolia’s earliest known civilization.
These parks are: Genclik Park (which also has an amusement park), the Botanical Garden, Segmenler, Anayasa, Kugulu, Abdi Ipekci, Guven, Kurtulus (for ice skating) and Harikalar Diyari (wonderland).
In the province of Ankara there are six thermal centers: Kızılcahamam Kaplica 80 km to the north, Haymana Kaplica 72 to the south, and to the northwest are Ayas Kaplica (57 km), Dutlu Kaplica (85 km), Meliksah in Cubuk and Malikoy in Polatli (80 km). All offer comfortable facilities in which to soak away your cares. The thermal baths have beneficial properties and are, of course, altogether pleasurable.
Don’t Leave Without
- Visiting the Anitkabir, the Ankara Citadel and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations,
- Tasting traditional pancakes and sipping tea at Pirinc Han,
- Taking a walk in the Soguksu Nation Park,
- Going to a thermal spa,
- Seeing the houses of Beypazari