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The Map For Ankara and its surroundings

Turkey's capital, Ankara, despite its long history, is a thoroughly modern, well-planned city. The city is distinguished by its wide avenues, green parks, elegant shops, embassies and government buildings, and a large number of first class restaurants and hotels.

The city has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age. The very fine Museum of Anatolian Civilizations details the ebb and flow of cultures that have passed through the area, from the Hittites, the Phrygians, Lydians and Persians to the Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and Ottomans. A small provincial town until Kemal Ataturk named it the capital of the new Republic on October 13, 1923, Ankara developed very quickly. It is the only city in Turkey with an urban development plan dating back to the 1930s. Ataturk's Mausoleum dominates the modern part of Ankara. The imposing limestone structure, completed in 1953, represents a fusion of ancient and modern architectural concepts.


In addition to the numerous mosques, museums and recreational areas, visitors enjoy touring the Citadel and browsing through the old shops in Cikricilar Yokusu near the Ulus area. On the street of Bakircilar Carsisi, you can find many interesting old and new items: copper objects, jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiquities and embroidery. In Cankaya, the Atakule Tower, 125 meters tall, offers a magnificent view of the city.

ankara.jpg (25016 bytes)Long ago, in the 3rd century BC, the Galatians were the first to make "Ancyra" of those times, their capital. Much later on, in 1923, M. Kemal Ataturk chose the same district to be the capital of newly founded Turkey, and "Ankara" thereafter remained the strategic heart of the country.

Today's modern city, situated at the core of Anatolia, hides an ancient site behind, dating back to prehistorical times. The remains from Urartian, Phrygian, and Hittite periods have beautified the area here, now fascinating the visitors by enlivening the respective periods.

For the ones who would like to go to the very beginning, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which is the third most important archeological museum after Paris-Louvre and London-British museums, is a perfect place to observe its wide collections of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti and Hittite works of art. The pieces exhibited here are unique in the world and it is exciting to see the lifestyle of the earliest humans with those beautiful objects.

Viewing the subsequent Phrygian period is possible by taking excursions to nearby locations, such as Gordion (Yassihoyuk), the capital of the kingdom, not far from Polatli. Excavations have brought to light the advanced artistic works of this civilization which dates back to the 10th century BC, and which had an important influence on artistic works of the successive ages.

Next came the Lydian invasion which was followed by the Persian settlement continuing until the death of Alexander the Great, who had stayed in Ankara after he gained the rule of Asia.

After Galatians, Romans and Byzantines conquered the land, they erected plenty of monuments some of which are still remaining. This includes the most prominent Roman ruins, the Temple of Augustus from the 2nd century AD, built in the Corinthian style and dedicated to the Emperor. It is a remarkable and important sight with the "Political Testament of Augustus" on its walls, inscribed in Greek and Latin. In the 5th century, this temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines. The original high walls are still standing.

The ruins of a Roman theater and the Roman baths of the 3rd century AD, are other interesting figures together with the Column of Julian, a memorial from the 4th century

Captured by the Arabs, Seljuks and Ottomans in succession, Ankara has many artistic examples of those periods inside its borders, such as the Alaeddin, Arslanhane, Kursunlu, Ahi Ervan and Haci Bayram mosques, built during the 12th and 15th centuries. Kocatepe Mosque is the most recently built mosque and has a capacity to hold 20,000 worshippers.

Ankara_Castle_c.JPG (9653 bytes) Ankara Castle

The walls of Ankara Castle which once enclosed the fortified city proper are now lost in the centre of the sprawling metropolis. Although they encircle the city's highest hill they are not visible from every point but wait to be discovered by the discerning eye.

Almost all of the historical remains in the city are situated around the old citadel, "Hisar", where, according to legend an anchor was found while it was being constructed, from which the city took its name "Ancyra". Inside its walls it contains examples of old Turkish houses alongside the ancient ruins. There is also a covered bazaar, called "bedesten", close to the gate "Hisar Kapisi".

The principal monument and dominating sight in Ankara is Anitkabir, the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. The building composed of limestone stands in majesty, with its beautiful architectural style and is reached by a ceremonial road adorned with fine statues and reliefs. Nearby is a museum, housing some of the personal belongings of Ataturk. Ataturk's house located at Cankaya, has been converted into a museum.

Ankara today is a center of history and culture. The Ethnographical Museum and the Sculpture and Painting Museum are noteworthy for their wide collections of artifacts from the area. The performances of the well-known philharmonic orchestra and frequent artistic events include ballet, theater, opera and folk-dancing. In addition are two yearly international festivals: "The Arts and Music Festival" and the "Children's Festival", both held every April. Also present around the city are some sites of natural importance, such as the lakes of Golbasi, Cubuk Dam, Kurtbogazi Dam, Karagol for resting, and Mount Elmadag for winter sports. In addition, Kizilcahamam is a thermal and hot springs center for places such as Ayas, Haymana and Beypazari. The city has good excursion opportunities to the historical and natural sites of Cappadocia, Gordion, Hattusas, and Alacahoyuk.

Atakule, and Karum Center are excellent shopping centers. This city of such diverse features also possesses a wide variety of specialties. Ankara is known for its wool, goat, cat, pear and honey, and the land itself is special and should not be missed..


93 kms from Ankara on the Eskisehir road, is Gordion, the capital of the old Phrygian Kingdom. This ancient city took its name from King Gordios who was the founder of the state under the leadership of King Midas, the son of Gordios, and dominated central and southern Anatolia.


Through the excavations performed here, a high gateway and houses belonging to the royal family were found under the city mound. Also discovered were the tumuli, the most prominent one being the 53 meters high and 300 meters wide tumulus of King Midas of the Golden Touch. It is the second largest tomb of its type in the world.

Another special interest is the legend concerning the famous Gordion knot, the untying of which was prophesied to be possible only by the master of Asia. When Alexander the Great invaded the Anatolian peninsula, he cut this knot with his sword and gained the key to the continent.

The ruins are spread all over this ancient site, an area which is still being excavated for the interest of history-lovers. The local museum is a must-see where the archeological finds are on display, as well as at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara which houses many of the artifacts found in the region.


Formerly Europeanized as ANGORA, capital of Turkey, in the northwestern part of the country. It lies about 125 miles (200 km) south of the Black Sea, near the confluence of the Hatip, Ince Su, and Çubek streams.

While the date of the city's foundation is uncertain, archaeological evidence indicates habitation at least since the Stone Age, and a thriving Phrygian town was located in the area at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Alexander the Great conquered Ankara in 334 BC, and in the 3rd century BC the town served as the capital of the Tectosages, a tribe of Galatia (the ancient name for the region around Ankara). In 25 BC Ankara was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the emperor Augustus.

As a city of the Byzantine Empire, Ankara was attacked by both the Persians and the Arabs. In about 1073 Ankara fell to the Seljuq Turks, but the crusader Raymond IV of Toulouse drove them out again in 1101. The Byzantines, however, were unable to maintain their control, and Ankara became a bone of contention between the Seljuqs and their rivals among the Turkish frontier lords. After 1143, Seljuq princes fought among themselves for possession of the city. With the establishment of the Seljuq Empire, Ankara declined.

In 1356 the city was captured by Orhan (Orkhan), the second sultan of the Ottoman dynasty, and it became a part of the Ottoman domains in 1360. Ankara was besieged during the Anatolian campaign of Timur (Tamerlane). In 1403 it again became subject to Ottoman rule and, in subsequent centuries, regained its importance as a commercial and urban centre because of its location on the caravan route to the East. (see also Index: Ottoman Empire)

After World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nationalist leader, made Ankara the centre of the resistance movement against both the government of the Ottoman sultan and the invading Greek forces; he established his headquarters there in 1919. Ankara was declared the capital of Turkey in 1923.

The architecture of the city reflects its varied history. Remains from the Roman era include a bath, the Column of Julian, and the Temple of Roma and Augustus. Byzantine remnants include the citadel and a cemetery. The square Alâeddin Mosque, with one minaret, is located near the walled citadel and dates from the Seljuq era. Ottoman buildings are numerous and include the Haci Bayram Cami (1429), the Mahmud Pasa market (1464), and a 15th-century bazaar and caravansary that has been converted to house the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The modern city contains the huge Atatürk Mausoleum complex.

Government is the main business in the city, but Ankara is also Turkey's second most important industrial city after Istanbul. Factories producing wine and beer, flour, sugar, macaroni products, biscuits, milk, cement, terrazzo (mosaic paving), construction materials, and tractors are well established. Service and tourist industries are expanding rapidly.

Ankara is an important crossroads for trade and forms a major junction in the road network of Turkey. The city lies on the main east-west rail line across Anatolia. Esenboga Airport, to the northeast, provides international services.

The city is the seat of the University of Ankara (established 1946), Hacettepe University (1206), and the Middle East Technical University (1956). The National Library is also located there, as are the state theatre and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra.

Several of Ankara's museums, which present a panorama of Anatolian history, are housed in renovated Ottoman buildings. The most important of these are the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (with its world-renowned Hittite collection) and the Ethnographic Museum (with its holdings related to Turkish history, folklore, and art). The Atatürk Mausoleum contains the Atatürk Museum, which displays many of Atatürk's personal effects. Pop. (1990 prelim.) 2,553,209.


            The city of Ankara lies in the center of Anatolia on the eastern edge of the great, high Anatolian Plateau, at an altitude of 850 meters. The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppe land, with forested areas in the northeast. It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale and Kirsehir to the east.

            The region’s history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium B.C. by the Hittities, in the 10th century B.C. by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century B.C. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning, “anchor,) one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts. The city subsequently fell to the Romans, and to the Byzantines. Seljuk Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for the Turks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073, he annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory. The city was an important cultural, trading, and arts center in Roman times, and an important trading center on the caravan route to the east in Ottoman times. It had declined in importance by the nineteenth century. It again became an important center when Kemal Ataturk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation. By consequence if its role in the war and its strategic position, it was declared the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on October 13th, 1923.



            Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum): Located on an imposing hill in the Anittepe quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment 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 important moments in his life and in the establishment of the Republic. (Anitkabir is open everyday, and the museum everyday except Mondays. During the summer, there is a light and sound show in the evenings).


            The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is close to the citadel entrance. An old bedesten (covered bazaar) has been beautifully restored and now houses a marvelous and unique collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and Roman works and showpiece Lydian treasures. (Open every day, except Monday. During the summer, the museum opens every day).

            The Ethnography 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 Painting and Sculpture Museum is close to the Ethnography Museum and houses a rich collection of Turkish art from the late 19th century to the present day. There are also galleries for guest exhibitions. (Open every day, except Monday).

            The Liberation War Museum, diagonally across the street from Ulus Square, is in what was originally the first parliament building of the Republic of Turkey. There the War of Liberation was planned and directed as recorded in various photographs and items on exhibition. In another display are wax figures of former presidents of the Republic of Turkey. (Open every day, except Monday).

            The Museum of the Republic, close to the Liberation War Museum, is housed in what the second parliament building of the Republic. The exhibition here records important events in the early republican period. (Open every day, except Monday).

            Ataturk’s House is on the grounds of the Presidential Palace in Cankaya and was Ataturk’s house after the founding of the Republic. The house is much as it was in Ataturk’s day, and exhibits photographs that record important events. (Open Sundays and on religious and national holidays, 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm).

            The Natural History Museum can be found on the grounds of the MTA(Mineral Research and Exploration Institute) on the Eskisehir road in Ankara. The displays record the evolutionary development of the world. (Open every day except religious holidays).


            PTT Museum collections were begun between 1880 and 1888 by then Postal Director Izzet Efendi. The Museum in Altindag was opened in 1982, and contains a postal display, a telegraph and telephone display, and a stamp display. (Open weekdays).

            The TRT Museum (Turkish Radio& Television Broadcasting) has exhibits from the beginning of radio in Turkey, including antique phonographs and radios. It is located in the TRT General Directorate building in the Oran district. (Open Mon., Wed., Fri., 11 am – 3 pm).

            Mehmet Akif Ersoy Museum, on the Hacettepe University Central Campus, commemorates the famous national poet who, in this house, wrote the text of the Turkish national anthem, as well as songs of independence, and many poems. (Open weekdays from 10 am – 12pm and 2 pm – 4 pm).

            The TCDD Open-air Locomotive Museum, near the railway station by Celal Bayar Blvd., shows the history of steam locomotion through the locomotives on display. (Open weekdays).

            The Cartography Museum, located in the Harita Genel Konutanligi building in the Cebeci quarter, has old and new maps. (Open Tues. and Thurs. from 9 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm).

            The Meteorology Museum on Sanatoyum Ave. in Kalaba, shows the history of meteorology in Turkey. (Open weekdays).

            The Education Museum follows the history and technology of education in Turkey. It is located in Ankara Gazi University, in the Besevler district. (Open weekdays)

            The Toy Museum in Cebeci houses toys of all kinds made of wood, metal, porcelain, paper, etc. (Open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm).

            METU Museum on the campus of Middle East Technical University has archeological artifacts and ethnographic displays. (Open weekdays, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm).

            T.C. Ziraat Museum at the Ulus branch of the bank displays a rich collection of coins and money in a building of architectural beauty. (Open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm)


                Ankara Citadel: The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop, and completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel, being the oldest part of Ankara, contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. There are also lovely green areas in which to relax. It is well known that the Ankara region was the cradle of wine in Hatti and Hittite times around 2000 B.C.. Many restored traditional Turkish houses in the area of the citadel have found new life as restaurants, serving local and international dishes and wine.

            Roman Theatre:The remains, including pro-scene (stage), and scene(backstage), can be seen outside the citadel. Roman statues that were found here are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The audience area is still under excavation.

            Temple of Augustus: The temple is in the Ulus quarter of the city. It was built by the Galatian King Pylamenes in 10 A.D. as a tribute to Augustus, and was reconstructed by the Romans on the ancient Ankara Acropolis in the 2nd century. It is important today for the “Monument Ancyranum, “ the sole surviving “Political Testament” of Augustus, detailing his achievements, inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. In the fifth century the temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines.

            Roman Bath: The bath, situated on Cankiri Avenue in Ulus, has all the typical features: a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (cool room) and caldarium (hot room). They were built in the time of Emperor Caracalla (3rd century A.D.) in honor of Asclepios,the god of medicine. Today only the basement and first floors remain.

            Column of Julian: This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362 A.D., 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.

            Monument of the Republic: Erected in 1927 in Ulus Square, it is a symbol of the struggle for independence on the part of Ataturk and the Turkish people in the War of Liberation.

            Monument to a Secure, Confident Future: This monument, in Guven Park, was erected in 1935 and bears Ataturk’s advice to his people:” Be proud, hardworking, and believe in yourself.”

            Victory Monument: Erected in 1927 in Zafer Square in the Sihhiye quarter, it shows Ataturk in uniform.

            Hatti Monument: Erected in the 1970’s in Sihhiye Square, this impressive monument symbolizes the Hatti gods and commemorates Anatolia’s earliest known civilization.


            Haci Bayram Mosque: This mosque, in Ulus, next to the Temple of Augustus, w

as built in the early 15th century in Seljuk style and was subsequently restored by Sinan in the 16th century, with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Haci Bayram Veli, whose tomb is next to the mosque.

            Aslanhane Mosque: This Seljuk mosque, near the citadel, was built in the 13th century. The mosque has a mihrap(prayer niche showing the direction to Mecca) of Seljuk tiles, and an unusual double colonnade of wooden columns. Next to the mosque is the tomb of Ahi Serefeddin.

            Ahi Elvan Mosque: Found in the Ulus quarter near the Citadel, this mosque was built and finished during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. The finely carved walnut mimber (pulpit) is of particular interest.

             Alaaddin Mosque: This mosque is inside the Citadel walls. It has a carved walnut mimber, the inscription on which shows that the mosque was built in the 12th century by the Seljuk ruler, Mesut.

               Yeni (Cenab Ahmet) Mosque: This is the largest Ottoman mosque in Ankara and was built by the famous architect Sinan in the 16th century. The member (pulpit) and mihrab(prayer niche) are of white marble, and the mosque itself is of Ankara stone (red porphyry), an example of very fine workmanship. Yeni Cami is on Ulucanlar Avenue

            Kocatepe Mosque: This is a recently constructed mosque of great size in classical Ottoman design with four minarets. Built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter, its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark.


            Ankara has many delightful parks and open spaces established in the early years of the Republic in accordance with Ataturk’s belief in the importance of trees and natural beauty. The most important of these parks are: Genclik Park (which also has an amusement park), the Botanical Garden, Segmenler, Anayasa, Kugulu, Abdi Ipekci, Guven, Demetevler, Cemre, Kale, Anit, Kurtulus(for ice skating) and Altin Park(fairground).

            Ataturk Orman Ciftligi (Ataturk Farm and Zoo) is now within the growing city and is a pleasant place to spend a day. There is also a replica of the house where Ataturk was born in Salonica, an excellent restaurant, and some cafes. Visitors can sample such famous products of the farm as its excellent beer, old-fashioned ice cream, yogurt, milk, and meat rolls.


            Erkeksu Ciftligi has a 9-hole golf courses set in a lovely, peaceful countryside environment located 40 km west of Ankara via Sincan.


Ankara is a center for opera, ballet, jazz and modern dance, as well as home of the prestigious Presidential Symphony Orchestra. Ankara also has a large number of theatres staging many ambitious productions. In addition to public and private galleries throughout the city, exhibitions are also held at the Ataturk Cultural Center. The city also has many cinemas showing the best Turkish and foreign films, and there are a number of film festivals on various themes throughout the year, in particular the International Film Days in March. Every year in April and May the city hosts the Sevda Cenap And International Arts and Music Festival with performances by the finest Turkish and foreign musicians. The Children’s Festival on April 23 is also quite an event, with groups of children from all over the world taking part. There is also an International Cartoon Film Festival and the Asian-European Arts Biennial scheduled sometime in the spring or summer. Altin Park is home to the Ankara Fairgrounds where lovely fairs are held year-round.


     Visitors to the city usually like to visit old shops in Cikrikcilar Yokusu near Ulus. The street of copper workers (Bakircilar Carsisi) is particularly popular, and many interesting old and new items, not just of copper, can be found here, such as jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery. Walking up the hill to the citadel gate, you find many interesting shops selling spices, dried fruits, nuts, and all manner of produce; the selection is huge and very fresh. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kizilay, on Tunali Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum, and in the Atakule Tower in Cankaya. From the top of Atakule (125 meters) there is a magnificent view over the whole city. There is also a revolving restaurant where the panorama can be enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion. The Galleria, in Umitkoy and Bilkent Center are other modern shopping opportunities.


            Twenty-five kilometers to the south of Ankara on the Konya road is Golbasi Lake,a  popular place to visit for its attractive scenery and its fine lake side restaurants. Incek, 15 km southwest of Ankara is a favorite rest area for Ankara residents, with its lovely fruit trees, green areas and picnic sites. Another favorite place for picnics is Karagol Lake, 68 km north of the city on the airport road, for which one should take the turn off for the town of Cubuk.

            The three dams around the city, Cubuk(15 km on the Cankiri Highway), Kurtbogazi(50 km on the Istanbul Highway) and Bayindir(15 km on the Kirikkale Highway) are pleasant places to visit for swimming and picnicking. There are also restaurants, and at Bayindir, good camping facilities. Other dams in the Ankara province include Sariyer, Kesikkopru, Hirfanli, Asartepe, and Camlidere.

            Walkers will delight in exploring the three main forests around Ankara, South of the city, on the Kirsehir Highway (54 km), is the Beynam Forest, while to the north, on the Istanbul Highway (82 km), is the Kizilcahamam Soguksu National Park and farther along in the same direction (110 km) is the Camkoru Forest. All are delightful retreats from the clamor of the city, and each provides many lovely places for picnics.

            Elmadag Mountain (1,855 meters), some 23 kilometers east of Ankara, can be seen from most parts of the city. The first snowfall on the mountain heralds the start of winter and the beginning of skiing, and other winter sports to be enjoyed at the pleasant resort center there.

Thermal Pas

            In the province of Ankara there are six thermal centers: Kizilcahamam Kaplica 80 km to the north, Haymana Kaplica 72 km to the south, and to the northwest are Ayas Kaplica (57 km), Dutlu Kaplica (85 km), Meliksah in Cubuk (30 km), 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.    



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