Ankara (anchor), the capital and second largest city (after Istanbul) of Turkey, is located centrally in Anatolia. Ankara is not only the centre of Turkish government, but also a crucial trading, highway and railway crossroads. Visitors to Ankara can typically expect cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Most people are familiar with the areas long-haired Angora goat, as well as Angora rabbit and cat (mohair) wool. Ankara’s famous Muscat and Kalecik Karasi grapes of the Çankaya district yield the wonderful Kavaklidere wine. Ankara is also known for its sweet pears and exceptional Bali honey.
Archaeological sites of the Bronze Age Hatti, 2nd millennium BC Hittite, Phrygian, Lydian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods are spread throughout the city. They are testaments to Ankara’s importance through antiquity and to the present. Rather interestingly, Ankara was also occupied by a Celtic race, the Galatians, in 278 BC.
You can visit the historical centre of Ankara, which is located on a small hill on the bank of the Ankara Çayi. There you can admire the great, open views of the typically steppe vegetation and the pretty forest to the south. The ruins of the old castle and the citadel complete the picture.
Very worthy of visiting are the 20 BC Temple of Augustus and Rome (Monumentum Ancyranum) and the imposing mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (who founded the Republic of modern Turkey) at Anitkabir, on a hill at the Anittepe quarter. The Roman Bath and the Column of Julianus, both in the Ulus district, are also superb.
Typically Turkish mosques include the landmark, classical Ottoman style 20th century Kocatepe Mosque, the 12th century Alaaddin Mosque with its wonderful carved walnut mimber (pulpit ) and the late 14th/early 15th century Ahi Elvan Mosque by the citadel. Also the 15th century Haci Bayram Mosque by the Temple of Augustus, for its unique 18th century Kütahya tiles.
The modern arts museum (Cer Modern) of Ankara is truly exceptional, as it contains a huge permanent exhibition and also periodically hosts additional modern and contemporary art collections.
A restored covered bazaar houses the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri) by Ankara Castle, the charming Ethnography Museum (Etnoğrafya Müzesi) is on Talat Paşa Boulevard (opposite the Opera House), while the nearby State Art and Sculpture Museum (Resim-Heykel Müzesi) contains an amazing collection of 19th century-to-date Turkish art.
Posted : Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save