Attractive capital of the Turkish Republic

Categories: ankara Central Anatolia Turkey

Though many non - Turks don't know it: It is not Istanbul, but Ankara in western Anatolia in an extremely dry climate zone that is the capital of the Turkish Republic. The core area of the Turkish city of Ankara, which covers about 2,500 square kilometres, is part of the province of the same name and has about five million inhabitants. This makes Ankara the second largest city in Turkey by population. Like Istanbul, the city formerly known as "Ankyra" or "Angora" can look back on an ancient history. Hittites, Phrygians and the Galatians, who were among the Celts, had settled here.
Ankara - Mausoleum Anitkabir© yusuftatliturk / Fotolia

In the 2nd century BC the area was annexed to the Roman Empire. After its division in 395 AD, Ankara was part of Byzantium for almost 700 years. It was followed by Arabs, Seljuks and finally, from 1356, the Ottomans as rulers. In the battles following the Ottoman defeat in World War I, Ankara became the centre of the resistance (war of liberation) led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) and played a central role in the founding of Turkey as a modern republic. In 1923, it was officially named the capital. All these historical and subsequent phases have left their mark on the cityscape.

Sacral buildings worth seeing are in particular the large mosque Kocatepe Camii, completed in 1987, the (forest) mosque Arslanhani Camii, dating from the 13th century, and the particularly magnificent mosque Yeni Camii (16th century). Interesting secular buildings include Roman baths, the remains of the Byzantine castle (Hisar) towering above the city and the late Roman, 15-metre-high Julian Column. Almost ten times as high is one of Ankara's architectural landmarks, the Atakule television tower (125 m), which offers its visitors a spectacular panoramic view. A must for every Ankara guest is a visit to the impressive mausoleum (Anitkabir) of Atatürk.

Nearby, the Atatürk Museum provides information about the life and work of the revered and almost omnipresent founder of the republic. This is not the only museum worth seeing in the city. Among the many museums in the city, the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi in the Hisar district, which is considered a premium institution for the pre-Ottoman period in Anatolia, the Kurtulus Savasi Müzesi Liberation War Museum in the Ulus district of the old town, and the nearby Cumhuriyet Müzesi Republic Museum in the former building of the National Assembly are particularly worthy of recommendation.
Ankara - The Kocatepe Mosque in the evening light© Koraysa / Fotolia

Ankara is a lively, cosmopolitan city, not least because of its numerous universities, with numerous bazaars and shopping miles, a good gastronomic offer and a nightlife scene that does not shy away from comparison with Istanbul. Popular excursion destinations in the surroundings of Ankara are above all the small towns of Beynam, Beypazari and Gölbasi, which are known for their charming nature.

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