Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the centre of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the centre of Turkey's highway and railway networks, and serves as the marketing centre for the surrounding agricultural area. Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The hill which overlooks the city is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which adds to the picturesqueness of the view, but only a few historic structures surrounding the old citadel have survived to the present day.
The oldest settlements in and around the city centre of Ankara belonged to the Hatti's civilization which existed during the Bronze Age. The city grew significantly in size and importance under the Phrygians starting around 1000 BC, and experienced a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, (the capital of Phrygia), after an earthquake which severely damaged that city around that time. In Phrygian tradition, King Midas was venerated as the founder of Ancyra, but Pausanias mentions that the city was actually far older, which accords with present archaeological knowledge.
Historically, the production of Mohair from the Angora goat; and Angora wool from the Angora rabbit; have been an important part of the city's economy. These fabrics have been exported from Ankara to Europe and other parts of the globe for centuries.
The Central Anatolia Region is one of the primary locations of grape and wine production in Turkey, and Ankara is particularly famous for its Kalecik Karası and Muscat grapes; and its Kavaklıdere wine, which is produced in the Kavaklıdere neighbourhood within the Çankaya district of the city.
|Atakule Observation Tower|
Walking up the hill to the citadel gate, you find many interesting shops selling spices, dried fruits, nuts, and all kinds of produce; the selection is huge and very fresh. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kızılay, on Tunalı Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum. Foreign visitors to Ankara usually like to visit the old shops in Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu near Ulus, where myriad things ranging from traditional fabrics, hand-woven carpets and leather products can be found at bargain prices. Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Bazaar of Coppersmiths) is particularly popular, and many interesting items, not just of copper, can be found here like jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery.
|Temple of Augustus and Rome|
- Ankara Citadel. The foundations of the citadel or castle were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop and the rest was completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuqs further 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 recreational areas to relax. Many restored traditional Turkish houses inside the citadel area have found new life as restaurants, serving local cuisine. The citadel was depicted in various Turkish banknotes during 1927–1952 and 1983–1989
- Temple of Augustus and Rome. The temple, also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum, was built between 25 BC - 20 BC following the conquest of Central Anatolia by the Roman Empire and the formation of the Roman province of Galatia, with Ancyra (modern Ankara) as its administrative capital. After the death of Augustus in 14 AD, a copy of the text of Res Gestae Divi Augusti was inscribed on the interior of the pronaos in Latin, whereas a Greek translation is also present on an exterior wall of the cella. The temple, on the ancient Acropolis of Ancyra, was enlarged by the Romans in the 2nd century. In the 5th century it was converted into a church by the Byzantines. It is located in the Ulus quarter of the city.
- Atakule. is a 125m (410 feet) high communications and observation tower located in the Çankaya district and is one of the primary landmarks of the city. As the district of Çankaya is itself on a hill, the tower can be spotted from almost anywhere in the city during clear days. The tower's design came from architect Ragıp Buluç and construction lasted from 1987 to 1989. The top section of the tower houses an open terrace and a revolving restaurant named Sevilla, which makes a full 360 degree rotation in one hour. On top of Sevilla is another restaurant, Dome, which is non-revolving and located directly under the cupola. Under the terrace is a café, named UFO. The bottom structures house a shopping mall and several indoor and outdoor restaurants.
- Anıtkabir. Located on an imposing hill, in the Anıttepe quarter of the city, is where the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, stands. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural styles. An adjacent museum houses a wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and during the establishment of the Republic
- Kocatepe Mosque, the largest mosque in the city. Located in the Kocatepe quarter, it was constructed between 1967 and 1987 in classical Ottoman style with four minarets. Its size and prominent location have made it a landmark for the city.