Ankara, The Capital
From Antiquity to Modernity
The city lies in the heart of Anatolia, an historical treasure at an altitude of 850 meters. Ankara, formerly named “Ancyra” by the Celts (meaning “anchor”), 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. As a result of being chosen as the base during the War of Liberation by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the city was declared the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Ankara is a modern city with a population of over 5 million, maintaining traces of civilizations dating back to the Bronze Age, to the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians. The Romans and the Byzantines also left their mark in the region. On an imposing hill in the center of Ankara, stands the mausoleum (Anıtkabir) of Kemal Atatürk, a fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations houses a unique collection of treasures dating back to 2000 B.C. Besides the historical monuments within the heart of the city such as the Roman Theater, Ankara Citadel, Temple of Augustus, Roman Bath and the Column of Julian, the city’s environs are also rich with ancient ruins. The capital of the Seljuk Turks, Konya, renowned for the mystic “Whirling Dervishes,” lies to the south east of Ankara.
Ankara is a center for opera, ballet, jazz and modern dance as well as the home of the Turkish Parliament, ministries, foreign embassies and several universities. Shopping in Ankara can be exciting in the old part of the town for buying old copper, jewelry, carpets and kilims, antiques and embroidery. Modern shopping malls are scattered in and around the city selling various new items. Small shopping areas, local markets and restaurants are other attractive sights one should not miss.
Ankara’s location makes it very convenient for “Weekend Escapes” to reach to skiing resorts, cultural and historical sites, and the seaside. For instance, Konya (home of Mevlana and sufism) is only 1.5 hours away by hi-speed train. Istanbul is 3.5 hours away by
hi-speed train (or by one hour flight). Cappadocia (known for fairy chimneys) can be reached in 3.5 hours by bus.
For a city guide of Ankara please visit www.goturkeytourism.com
Climate in Ankara
The months of highest rain is October-November and April-May. Snow is common between the end of November until the end of March.