Ankara is a city that sometimes gets forgotten when people think about visiting Turkey and thats a shame because the capital of Turkey has a lot to offer for visitors. If you want to understand Turkey’s long history and culture, Ankara is the perfect place to go to. The country’s best museums are found here and the citadel district gives you a glance into the past of the city before it was converted to a capital.
Ankara is also placed centrally which means that it serves as a great home base from which to travel to more places within Turkey. You can go south towards Konya, east toward Cappadocia or west to Safranbolu. Here are some places to visit in Turkey:
- Museum of Anatolian Civilizations: This museum alone is a good enough reason to visit Ankara since its the only place in the country where you can grasp the true history and culture of Turkey. Some very important discoveries from the site of Catalhoyuk include a wall painting which is thought to be the world’s first town map and even the statue of the goddess of fertility is displayed here. Also, there are hallways dedicated to the Hittite Empire of the Bronze Age as well as the Phrygian and Urartian Empires. The Stone Hall in the centre shows us the most important stone carvings and designs from that era. You will find intricately detailed stone reliefs here from the site of Carchemish where the Battle of Carchemish between Egypt and Babylonia occurred.
- The Citadel Neighborhood: A walk through this area is considered to be one of the most refreshing things to do in this city. This area dates back to the Byzantine era and has larger than life walls and fortifications that were built in the 9th century. Narrow cobblestone alleys are surrounded by houses from the Ottoman era. This entire area has been restored over the years and some are undergoing serious damage due to the elements. Once inside, the main attraction is the Easter Tower. If you go further down the roads you will find craft workshops, antique stores and cafes- perfect place to find that souvenir you wanted. The Aslanhane Cami is one of the most interesting mosques and has woodwork on the inside walls that are beautiful to see.
- Anitkabir: This is Turkey’s most visited location and is also considered a pilgrimage site. This is a mausoleum that uses marble in large dimensions to create a round plaza-like structure and has a large museum complex. Here you will find exhibits on the War of Independence that led to the birth of Turkey as a nation. This war was led by Ataturk and the mausoleum is covered with inscriptions of his speeches. His tomb also lies here so visitors need to respect the place reverentially as all Turks pay their respect to the first president of their nation.
- The Remnants of Ulus Roman: Ankara is considered a modern city but it hosts a settlement that has been there since centuries. During the Roman era, the settlement became popular and was called Ankyra and then emperor Augustus made it a capital of a Roman province. To understand the impact of ancient Ankyra, make sure you pay a visit to the Temple of Augustus and Rome. Some ruins of this temple remain to this day and are great to look at. The most detailed and extensive ruins left behind from these old days are the bathhouses from the Roman era. These imperial baths can be seen clearly even though they lay ruined today, a shell of its former glory.
These have been our top places to visit in Ankara, Turkey. We wish you a great journey to this beautiful city and remember, travel safe.