Ankara is the cosmopolitan capital of Turkey located in the country’s central Anatolia region. There is much to do and see here and many landmarks and ruins to admire.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilisations is a wonderful place for visitors to learn about Turkey’s ancient past. There are impressive curated exhibits with artifacts from every significant archaeological site in Anatolia. The central hall has reliefs and statuary and the surrounding halls will take you on a wonderful journey through history from Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Assyrian, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and Lydian periods. Downstairs is a collection of Roman artifacts.
Anit Kabir is the monumental mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881 – 1938), the founder of modern Turkey. It sits high above the city in marble splendor. This complex consists of the tomb, museums and a ceremonial courtyard.
Head for a walk into the Citadel neighborhood through the main gate – Parmak Kapisi.
The Citadel is a most interesting neighborhood with a well-preserved quarter that has thick walls and fascinating winding streets that were shaped in the 9th century A.D. The inner walls date from the 7th century.
Once you have entered on the left you’ll see Alaettin Camil the citadel mosque dating from the 12th century.
There is a steep road that leads to a flight of stairs, leading to the Sark Kulesi from where you can get panoramic views of the city.
More fine views can be gotten from the Ak Kale or White Fort tower to the north.
The Ethnography Museum has found its home in a white marble post-Ottoman building dating from 1927, which served as Ataturk’s mausoleum until 1953. There is an equestrian statue in front and the mausoleum is preserved in the entrance hall. On the walls are photos of Ataturk’s funeral.
Here you’ll find and excellent collection that displays Anatolian jewelry, rugs, Seljuk ceramics and early 15th century doors.
Haci Bayram Camii is Ankara’s most revered mosque. Haci Bayram Veli was a Muslim saint who founded the Bayramiye dervish order around 1400. The mosque was built in the 15th century. The surrounding shops sell various religious paraphernalia.
The Painting and Sculpture Museum showcases the best of Turkish artists. The artwork ranges from angular war scenes to society portraits. It demonstrates that 19th and 20th century artistic developments in Turkey, paralleled those in Europe.
For a bit of relief from the city streets head for Genclik Parki right in the heart of the city. Families come here to relax. This is a classic Middle Eastern-style park with lovely tea gardens, many water fountains in bright colors and some unusual plastic dinosaurs.
For family fun there is the Luna Park which provides such amusements like wild rides.
A landmark and symbol of Ankara is Kocatepe Camii, one of the world’s largest mosques. It was built between 1967 and 1987 Amazingly in the basement you’ll find a supermarket.
Cer Modern is a huge artists’ park and gallery, exhibiting modern and challenging art from across Europe.
On the site you’ll also find an excellent cafe and shop. Cultural events are also staged here.
The Column of Julian was erected in honor of the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate’s visit to Ankara.
It sits proudly in a square surrounded by government buildings and usually topped by a stork’s nest.
There is not much remaining to the Temple of Augustus and Rome except for some walls. It was built in 25 A.D. to honor the Roman Emperor Augustus.
Another place to get away from the noise of the city streets is in Kugulu Parki located at the southern end of Tunalt Hilmi Caddesi.
It is wonderful to see all those swans and the beauty of nature all around.
The Victory Monument is a large equestrian statue that was erected to honor the soldiers of the War of Independence. It is one of the city’s landmarks.
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