The beating heart of Turkey which bares the footprints of many civilizations…
Ankara is located in the Central Anatolian Region, surrounded by the provinces of Kırıkkale and Kırşehir to the east, Çankırı to the north, Bolu to the northwest, Eskişehir to the west, and Konya and Aksaray to the south. Ankara covers an area of 26,897 km² between plains formed by the Kızılırmak and Sakarya rivers at an altitude of nearly 890 metres. To the north of the central parts of the city lie the Northern Anatolian Mountains. The plains consist of folds and depression zones enclosed by mountains, which run from the southwest to the northeast. The Salt Lake, a large shallow lake, and adjacent agricultural areas run along the southern tip of the Ankara plains.
Along with the Sakarya and Kızılırmak rivers, the Çubuk, İncesu and Ova streams water the plains of the city. In the city’s borders are also Mogan, Eymir, Karagöl, Kurumcu and Samsun natural lakes and Çamlıdere, Kesikköprü, Kurt Boğazı and Sarıyar reservoirs.
Ankara: Yesterday and Today
Archaeological excavations carried out in Ankara and its environs reveal that the history of settlements in the region dates back to Prehistoric times. Bronze Age settlements such as Ahlatlibel, Koçumbeli, Etiyokuşu, and Karaoglan, dated 3,000 BC, reflect the characteristics of the Central Anatolian culture of that time. Ankuva, frequently mentioned in Hittite sources, was probably located in the same place with today’s Ankara province.
Ankara was first settled as a city by the Phrygians. Gordion, the capital of Phrygia, is one of the most important ancient cities in Central Anatolia. According to the legend, Ankara was founded by Midas, the king of Phrygia. It was the Phrygians who gave the city the name
Ancyra, which means anchor. The remains found in the region reveal the importance of the Phrygian settlements, especially between 750-500 BC. After the disintegration of Phrygia, the city was ruled by Lydians and Persians respectively. The city was a small trade centre on the famous Kings’ Road, built during the rule of the Persian king Darius I (522-486 BC). After capturing Gordion, Alexander the Great – the king of Macedonia (336-330 BC) – arrived in Ankara in 333 BC. Defeating the Persian king Darius III (336-330 BC) in a bloody battle, he brought the reign of the Persian kings to an end. Later the Tectosages, a tribe of Galatians who settled in Anatolia from Europe in 278-277 BC, are known to have made Ankara their capital city.
Having conquered the city in 25 BC, the Roman Emperor Augustus made the region into a state of his empire and Ankara into its capital. With its important administrative and military functions, the city became a significant trade centre on the crossroads of the Roman trade routes in Anatolia. After the Roman Empire was divided in two in 395 AD, Ankara maintained its importance under the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperors and was beautified with the construction of many fountains, temples and other buildings of architectural importance.
In the late 11th century, the Seljuks started to invade the neighboring areas and they finally conquered the city in 1073, bringing to an end the rule of the Byzantine Empire. From that date, the city passed under the control of various Turkish beyliks (principalities), the Byzantine Empire and the Mongols, until the establishment of political stability by the Ottomans. Ankara became a centre of Ahi trade unions in 1300s and it remained an important trade centre in the Development Period ofthe Ottoman Empire.
After 1920 Ankara turned into the symbol of the Turkish War of Independence and it became the headquarters of the nationalists, from where the war was planned and directed. On 13th October 1923 it became the capital of the modern Turkish Republic.
The inner-city districts of Ankara are Akyurt, Altındağ, Çankaya, Çubuk, Elmadağ, Etimesgut, Gölbaşı, Keçiören, Mamak, Sincan, Pursaklar, Yenimahalle and the suburban districts are Ayaş, Bala, Beypazarı, Çamlıdere, Evren, Güdül, Haymana, Kalecik, Kazan, Kızılcahamam, Nallıhan, Polatlı and Şereflikoçhisar.
CULTURAL AND HISTORIC ASSETS
Anıtkabir (The Mausoleum of Atatürk)
The eternal resting place of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, was built in Anittepe (Rasattepe) between 1944 and 1953. The complex, bearing the characteristics of the Second National Architectural Period, was designed by Prof. Emin Onat and Ass. Prof. Orhan Arda. It covers an area of 750.000 m2 and is divided into the Peace Park and the Monumental Block.
The Peace Park contains 48,500 plants from 104 species brought from different regions of Turkey and abroad.
The Monumental Block is comprised of the ‘Lion Avenue’, ‘Ceremonial Square’ and ‘Mausoleum’. Entered through the Tandogan Gate via the Peace Park, ‘Lion Avenue’ has 24 lion sculptures on both sides and leads to the Mausoleum. At the end of the ‘Lion Avenue’ is the ‘Ceremonial Square’, which has a capacity of 15,000 people. The floor is decorated with 373 carpet and rug motifs made from black, red, yellow and white travertine.
The Mausoleum, based on a rectangular floor plan, is surrounded by columns on four sides. The words of two famous speech made by Ataturk, ‘Address to the Turkish Youth’ and ‘the Oration’, which he delivered on the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic, have been written on the facade of the Mausoleum in gold relief.
The floor and the walls of the ‘Honour Hall’ have been covered with coloured marble. The flat ceiling is ornamented with mosaic patterns from Turkish carpets and rugs of the 16th and 17th centuries. The symbolic sarcophagus is hewn from undecorated red marble. The burial chamber lies below the ‘Honour Hall’.
In the complex, there are also ten towers symmetrically placed and called İstiklal (Independence), Hürriyet (Liberty), Mehmetçik (Soldier), Zafer (Freedom), Barış (Peace), 23 Nisan (23 April), Misak-ı Milli (National Pact), İnkılap (Revolution), Cumhuriyet (Republic) and Müdafaa-i Hukuk (Defence of Rights). Each tower rests on a rectangular base and has a pyramid-shaped roof on top. They are decorated with frescos bearing geometric patterns from old Turkish rugs. On the inner walls of each tower are phrases from Atatürk and relief compositions depicting figures related to the name of a particular tower.
Between the Zafer and Barış towers rests the tomb of İsmet İnönü, the second president ofthe Turkish Republic.
Anıtkabir can be visited everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter.
The Ankara Citadel
The citadel sits on a hilltop overlooking the modern city and has no generally accepted date of completion. It is known, however, that its existence goes back as far as the second century BC and the Galatian Period. Afterwards, it was restored by the Romans who upgraded the buildings and defences.
The citadel has outer and inner walls, the latter of which were probably built by the Byzantines. Worn down by continuous Arab assaults, the castle went through a comprehensive restoration in 900 AD at the hands of the Byzantines. It is not known when the outer wall was completed. Following the conquest of the castle by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, the citadel underwent further renovation during the Ottoman era. The early Republican Period saw more refurbishment and a strengthening of the citadel walls.
The outer citadel contains 20 towers dotted along the walls, which are pierced by two main gates: the Outer Gate, facing west, and the Citadel Gate facing south. An old Persian inscription dating back to 1330, the era of llhanlilar (a Turkish principality), can be seen engraved over the citadel gate.
The inner wall is built around a rectangular base and was completed partly with Ankara stone and other materials. 42 pentagonal towers, the heights of which vary from 14 metres to 16 metres, stand along the inner wall. Old houses and the Alaeddin Mosque, dating from the Ottoman Period, are still found in good shape inside the citadel itself, and the area has a charming village-like atmosphere.
The Temple of Augustus
The temple is situated adjacent to the Haci Bayram Mosque in Ulus. It was built on the site of a sacred precinct of the Phrygian Goddess Cybele and God Men as a display of loyalty to Rome after Galatia was annexed to Roman Empire by Emperor Augustus. In the 5th century the building was converted into a church by the Byzantines.
The temple is surrounded by a Corinthian peristasis, with 8 columns on the short sides and 15 columns on the long sides. The building’s monumental gate survives to the present-day and leads to the inner part of the holy building and a covered passageway, called a pronaos. At the other end of the temple is an opisthodomos with two Corinthian columns. Of great interest is an account of the achievements made by Emperor Augustus during his life, known as an ‘Index rerum gestarum’, which is inscribed into one of the temple walls in ancient Greek and Latin.
The Roman Baths
The city’s Roman Baths are located on Çankırı Street, stretching between Ulus Square and Yıldırım Bayezid Square. The palaestra, surrounded by porticoes on all sides, is a large square area. The frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and caldarium (hot room) are all connected to the palaestra. With its various yards, furnaces, service parts and water tanks, the building was a monumental structure.
All that remains of the building ، today are the heating and service areas. Coins, inscriptions and Corinthian column heads found during excavations suggest that the baths were constructed during the time of the Roman Emperor Caracalla (211-217). They were used in the Byzantine Period after being restored. A large collection of Roman inscriptions collected from the city are exhibited in the palaestra.
The Column of Julian
The column is located in a small square between the Governor’s Office and the Financial Directorate in Ulus. The 15-metre ; high column consists of brick rings built on a stone base, and topped by a Corinthian column head from the Byzantine Period. ,The structure is thought to have been built in 362 to honour a visit to the city by Emperor Julian’s.
The Zafiran (Saffron) Han
This caravanserai was built by Hadji ibrahim Bin Hadji Mehmed in the Atpazari quarter and also includes a small Islamic chapel (mesjid) inside.
This medieval inn, situated in the city’s Hacidogan Neighbourhood, was built by Şeyhulislam Mehmet Emin Bey in 1685. The han (inn) consists of two wings, the first of which is a two-storey rectangular building with a courtyard in the middle. Today, only a few of the shops are standing on the east and south sides.
The second wing, situated on the southern side of the inn is a narrower single-storey building. It is thought that this part of the structure, which is completely buried under the earth, includes stables and storage rooms. The walls of both wings were made of rubble stone. On the west side of the inn is a market place with three sections.
The Karacabey Baths (Hamam)
Situated on Talatpaşa Boulevard, these baths were originally built as a double bath complex in 1444. The western dome has adjacent changing rooms, whereas the eastern dome has a different style of construction and contains private hot rooms and a caldarium (communal hot room).
The Akköprü Bridge
Spanning the Ankara Creek in the Varlik Neighbourhood, this is the oldest bridge in the city. It was constructed by the Seljuk ruler Alaeddin Keykubad I in 1222, when Kizilbey was Ankara’s governor. The bridge formed part ofthe road connecting western Anatolia with Ankara.
In Seljuk times, soldiers enlisted in the army or departing pilgrims were bidden farewell by their loved ones on the bridge. The structure is made of basalt blocks and is supported by seven peaked arches.
The Ancient City of Gordion
Situated 96 km southwest of Ankara in the village of Yassihoyuk, Polatli, Gordion was first inhabited in the late 3000 BC (Early Bronze Age). This particular ancient city has various layers of settlement belonging to the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Persians and the Romans. According to legend, the man who made Gordion a capital city for the first time in 8th century BC was the Phrygian King, Gordias. The city enjoyed rapid growth and dazzling prosperity during the reign of King Midas (725-695 BC). Having been destroyed by the Cimmerians in 695 BC, Gordion was rebuilt as a commercial and military centre under the reign of the Lydians. The city was captured by the Persians in 546 BC, Alexander the Great in 333 BC and the Galatians in 278 BC. It was abandoned soon afterwards, only to be occupied by the Roman army in 189 BC. During the Roman Period, Gordion gradually lost its importance and became an insignificant settlement.
The ancient Gordians buried their deceased in a tomb called tumulus. Over 80 tumuli lie scattered across a large valley to the east of the village of Yassihoyuk. These ancient tombs vary in size and were built out of wood covered with a large pile of earth.
The largest tumulus in Gordion is believed to be that of King Midas. It is the second biggest tumulus found in Anatolia, and measures 300 metres in diameter and 55 metres in height. A male skeleton, nine wooden tables, three big cauldrons, 166 bronze containers in various sizes and 145 fibulas, lying beside the head of the skeleton, were found in the burial chamber, which was made out of wood and enclosed on four sides.
The most important tumulus of the rest in Gordion is constructed using a special piling technique. Called the P tumulus, it is 80 metres in diameter and 12 metres in height and is estimated to date back to around 700 BC. The burial mound is thought to be that of a child, as a small skeleton and some wooden toys shaped like lions, horses and deer were found in the burial chamber. 40 ceramic containers were also extracted from the tumulus. Most of the artefacts recovered in the Gordion excavations are on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Gordion Museum.
According to the famous legend of Gordion, the Phrygians were in search of a new leader. They were told by an oracle to crown the first person to enter the city on an ox-cart. That person happened to be Gordias, whose ox-cart then got tied to a column by a knot of ivy. The ox-cart became the focus of another legend, as it was said that the one who managed to untie the knot would become the ruler of Asia. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great made his way to Gordion to try and undo the knot. Unsuccessful, the impetuous Macedonian king drew his sword and cut the knot in two, going on to fulfill the prophesy by conquering much of Asia. However, his untimely death at the age of 33 was thought by some to have been caused by his unorthodox method of undoing the Gordion Knot.
A Roman mosaic dating from the 3rd century AD was unearthed in Kayabaşı village near Polatli and transferred to the yard of the Gordion Museum. 6.60-m wide and 7.70-m long, the mosaic has animal figures in the centre surrounded by geometrical ornamentation.
Rock Reliefs of Gavurkale
Near Haymana, 60-km southwest of Ankara, the faint rock reliefs of Gavurkale depict two gods standing on their feet opposite a sitting goddess. There are also remnants of a burial chamber which is 2 metres below the surface.
This tumulus is located near Oyaca, Haymana. The close proximity of the tumulus to a Hittite cult centre, 8 km west of Gavurkale, indicates that the area may also have been an important Hittite settlement. Excavations carried out in the locality resulted in the recovery of a monumental potern (underground passageway), which is a common Hittite architectural feature; a hidden cistern built in the same style and some remains dating back to the beginning of the Early Bronze Age.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The museum building was created by converting two Ottoman buildings located to the south-east of the Ankara Citadel in the Atpazari Square. One of these buildings, which was a bazaar, was built between 1464-1471 by Mahmut Pasha, one of the principal viziers of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. The rectangular building was covered by ten domes and surrounded by 102 shops covered by arches. The second building, Kurşunlu Han, was built as a charitable foundation ofthe Üsküdar soup-kitchen of Mehmet Pasha, another principal vizier of Sultan Mehmet. It appears to be a typical Ottoman Han (Inn) with a yard in the middle surrounded by porticos and a two-storey room.
Under Atatürk’s initiative, the repairs were carried out to the museum in 1938 and it was reopened as the Ankara Archaeological Museum in 1968. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is now one of the most significant museums in the world with its unique collections and works exhibited in chronological order. The collections include artefacts uncovered at excavations at Karain, Çatalhöyük, Hacılar, Canhasan, Beycesultan, Alacahöyük, Karaz, Mahmatlar, Eskiyapar, Elmalı, Kültepe, Acemhöyük, Boğazköy, Gordion, Pazarlı, Altıntepe, Adilcevaz and Patnoz, which belong to the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze ages, Assyrian Trading Colonies, the Hittites, Phrygians and the Urartians. Displays also include artefacts belonging to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, as well as Hittite reliefs from the city portals at Alacahöyük, Malatya, Kargamış and Sakçagözü, which date from the Late Hittite Period.
The road from the Republic Monument in Ulus to the Ankara Citadel also leads to the museum which is located at the address: Gözcü Sok. No: 2/Ulus. The museum is open everyday from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in summer; and from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. in winter.
The State Museum of Painting and Sculpture
The building, designed by the architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoglu, was built on Namazgah Hill near the Ethnography Museum between 1927 and 1930. The museum, opened in 1980 after restoration, houses distinguished examples of Turkish classical and contemporary works of art from the early 19th century onwards.
In the museum there is also a library of plastic arts, as well as painting, sculpture and ceramic ateliers, which are available for the use of professional and amateur artists alike. International exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, printing and photography, as well as periodic guest exhibitions are displayed in three galleries.
The museum on the Opera Square in Ulus is open everyday except Monday from 8.30 a.m. to
The Ethnography Museum
The building that houses the museum was designed by the architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu, and was built on Namazgâh Hill in 1927, and opened in 1930. The walls of this rectangular, two-storey and domed building are made of coarse sandstone. The four columns of the portal provide three entrances to the building, and carry a marble facade decorated with engravings. The eguestrian sculpture of Atatürk standing in front of the building was made by the Italian sculptor, Pietro Canonica, in 1927.
The courtyard of the museum is kept as the symbolic tomb of Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, as his tomb was kept there from 1938 to 1953, when it was transferred to a specially-built mausoleum, the Anıtkabir.
The museum exhibits precious examples of Turkish traditional handicrafts, such as wood, metal and fabric works from different regions of the country. The museum also provides visitors with a library specializing in Anatolian ethnography, folklore and art history.
The museum on the Opera Square/Talatpaşa Boulevard is open everyday except Monday from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in summer; and from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. in winter.
The Museum ofTurkish War of Independence (The first TBMM building)
The museum is housed in a two-storey building on Cumhuriyet Street in Ulus, which was designed by the architects Salim and Hasip beys and completed on 23 April, 1920. It belongs to the First Period of National Architecture, and the outer walls are covered by Ankara stone (andesite).
The building served as the first Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) until 1924, and was opened as the TBMM Museum in 1961. Since 1981 it has been open to the public as the Museum of Turkish War of Independence.
The museum consists of the presidential boardroom, the chamber of ministers, the commission chamber, a private room, administrative rooms, the assembly hall, a mescit or prayer hall, the office of the chairman of the assembly, a photography room, storerooms for various works of art and an exhibition hall.
The museum is open everyday except Monday from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in summer; from 8.45 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. in winter.
The Republic Museum (The second TBMM building)
Situated on Cumhuriyet Street in Ulus, this two- storey building was designed by the architect Vedat Tek and completed in 1924. The assembly was moved from the first parliament building because it had become too small, and parliament continued to meet in the new building until 1960. Wooden ceilings, doors, arches and tiles used in the building are decorated with Seljuk and Ottoman patterns. The lodges in the building reflect the architectural characteristics of the time.
The assembly building was opened to the public as the Republic Museum in 1981. Documents, photographs and some personal possessions belonging to Atatürk, İsmet İnönü and Celal Bayar are exhibited in the assembly hall. The furniture remains faithful to the original throughout the building, including the rooms where Atatürk’s principles and reforms were discussed. In the assembly hall, a wax figure of Atatürk depicts him giving part of his ‘Great Oration’ between 15-20 October, 1927. The museum is open everyday except Monday from 9.45 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
The Anıtkabir Atatürk and War of Independence Museum
The building located between the Misak-i Milli and inkilap towers in Anitkabir was opened as the Anitkabir Atatürk and War of Independence Museum in 1960. The museum exhibits Atatürk’s belongings, clothes, medals and awards, along with presents from World leaders and possessions donated to the museum by his adopted children A. Afet Inan, Rukiye Erkin and Sabiha Gokçen. It is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter.
The Atatürk Education Exhibition Area
This museum-like place was opened in Beşevler in 1981 and includes the Başöğretmen (Headmaster) Atatürk Archive, a library and exhibition halls with displays of documents, books and items related to the history of Turkish education. It is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Atatürk’s House Museum
A replica of the house where Atatürk was born in Thessaloniki was built in the Atatürk Farm and Zoo and was opened as a museum in 1981. The three- storey house has a stone flagged ground floor with a cellar and maids’ room; the first floor has an anteroom, a kitchen, a sitting room and a guest room and on the second floor there is another anteroom, a bronze bust of Atatürk, a notebook for visitors to write their feelings, Atatürk’s room with his possessions and an exhibition room containing personal photographs and documents belonging to Atatürk. The museum is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Presidential Atatürk Mansion Museum
The mansion house where Atatürk moved in 1921 was built in Çankaya in the late 1800’s. Additions were made to the building by the architect Mehmet Vedat Bey in 1924. As the first Presidential Mansion, the building has a special place in the history of the Republic. It served as the Presidential Residence until 1932, and the interior has been preserved with all its furniture and household items. The office of the Aide-de-Camp to the President should be contacted to make an appointment prior to visit the museum which is open everyday except Monday. (For appointment please phone: +90 312 470 24 85-86)
The Pembe Köşk Museum
This beautiful old villa purchased by the second president oftheTurkish Republic, İsmet İnönü, in Çankaya in 1924 hosted numerous social and cultural activities, including meetings held by Atatürkto discuss issues relating to his reforms. Today, the house serves as a museum containing personal effects and portraits of İsmet İnönü.
The museum can be visited on national holidays by appointment from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (For appointment please phone: +90 312 428 18 41)
The Çengel Han Rahmi Koç Museum
The Çengel Han was built in 1522 by Damat Rüstem Pasha, the husband of Mihrimah Sultan, during the reign of Sultan Selim I. Situated in Atpazari Square and close to Ankara Citadel, the building is now open to the public as an industrial museum. The items displayed include electronic devices such as the first typewriter and television, industrial equipment dating back to 1850, and various vehicles. Most objects in the museum have been donated by Rahmi Koç, a Turkish industrialist. In the courtyard stands the first shop owned byVehbi Koç (a prominent entrepreneur) and a waxwork of the man himself. The museum is open weekdays except Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Beypazari Culture and History Museum
The museum is located in a house in the Beypazari District which was donated by Hafiz Mehmet Nurettin Karaoguz. It was repaired and opened as a private museum in 1997. The museum exhibits works reflecting the culture and history of Beypazari, as well as some historic pieces belonging to the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman periods. It is open everyday except Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Exhibition Area of the Education Association (Eğit-Der)
This exhibition place was established on Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Street in Dikmen in 1995 to collect, preserve and make use of educational documents. The collection includes legal papers and regulations, national and international treaties, documentation regarding treaties, scientific research papers, declarations, documents on conferences and meetings, a collection of magazines, newspapers and bulletins, almanacs, albums, national assembly and private commission meeting notes and memos on education. There are also documents of all kinds relating to religious education, private and general vocational education and photographs. It is open weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Cartography Museum
The Cartography Museum of the Cartographical General Headquarters, an office of the Defence Ministry which was established in 1971, has various atlases and maps, archives, old-fashioned tools and instruments used for drawing maps on display to the public in its Cebeci facility. The museum can be visited with the permission of the Headquarters on Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Ataturk’s Residence during the War of Independence
Located nearby the train station, this two storey building is the residence where Ataturk stayed and planned the manoeuvres of the Turkish Army during the War of Independence. The residence bore witness to Ataturk’s important decisions such as establishing the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920, and declaring the same day as the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Ataturk’s personal belongings, his office and meeting room can be seen on the first floor of the building. The ground floor exhibits objects and documents relating to the Turkish Railways. The Museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Meteorological Museum
The headquarters of the Chief of Staff during the War of Independence, located in Kalaba, has been converted into a museum where meteorological instruments can be seen. The museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Open-air Steam Locomotive Museum
Near the railway station by Celal Bayar Boulevard, the museum shows the history of steam locomotion through 10 out-of-service steam locomotives on display and a railway carriage used as a space to exhibit the documents including photos. It is open everyday from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. in summer; and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter.
The Railways (TCDD) Museum and Art Gallery
The two storey stone building, constructed in 1924, was opened as an art gallery and railway museum after extensive restoration in 1990. Its ground floor is the art gallery while the first floor is the railway museum which displays documents related to the history of railways in Turkey. The museum on the Talatpaşa Boulevard is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Mehmet Akif Ersoy Museum
Mehmet Akif Ersoy was a poet who wrote the lyrics of the Turkish National Anthem. The house where he lived during the War of Independence was converted into a museum in 1949. Situated in the Hacettepe University campus in Sihhiye, the two-storey timber building is typical of an old Ankara house, with a courtyard surrounded by high walls. The museum has an exhibition of the poet’s belongings and photographs. It is open weekdays except national holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Aviation Museum
Model planes, aviation photographs, documents, clothing and aviation equipment are on display in the Etimesgut Aviation Museum, which was first opened in 1998. The museum can be visited everyday except Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Alagoz Headquarters Museum
The farm house used by Atatürk as his headquarters during the Sakarya Campaign was turned into a museum in November 10, 1968. The two-storey building has 12 rooms, which include a dressing room, library, officers dining quarters, kitchen, communications room, living quarters for the staff and Atatürk’s dining rooms and bedrooms. The museum is located in Alagoz village and is part of the Polatli Anitkabir Headquarters.
The MTA Museum of Nature History
The Mineral Research Institute (MTA) converted part of its facilities on the Eski§ehir road into a museum in 1968. The museum, housed in a three-storey building, has a rich collection of the present day across the country. There is also a collection of over 3,000 fossils on display in the museum which is under restoration.
The Middle East Technical University (METU) Museum
Created in 1969, this museum houses archaeological finds from within the university campus grounds and other historically important artefacts discovered in excavations supported by the university. The foyer area of the museum contains an admin office, warehouses, service facilities and an exhibition hall where relics brought from the Phrygian necropolis, and other antique sites, such as Yalincak and Ko؟umbeli, are on display. The museum also owns a rich collection of ethnographic handicrafts including timber window frames, doors, locks, old drills, rugs and copper kitchenware. It is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
The Gordion Museum
Established in Yassihoyuk in 1963, the museum exhibits hand-made pottery dating back to the Bronze Age, as well as metal and weaving implements belonging to the early Phrygian Era, the period that ended with King Midas’s death. A typical dwelling dating from 700 BC is exhibited in a panoramic glass display case in the centre of the new hall. The remaining section of the new hall hosts imported Greek ceramics from 600 BC and 400 BC and other items of importance from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In the final section, visitors can browse a collection of Phrygian seals and silver coins. The museum is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
The Toy Museum
Established in 1920 as part ofAnkara University’s Education Faculty, the main function of this unique museum is to collect, maintain and display toys which are fast disappearing as a result of rapid social change. The museum functions as a research and education centre, as well as accomodating more than fifteen hundred items, including traditional and antique toys, manufactured toys and toys exported from Turkey. It can be visited by appointment on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (For appointment please phone: + 90 312 363 33 50/3212)
The PTT Museum
Besides a collection of all the Ottoman and Turkish stamps circulated up to the present-day, this museum, which is located in Aydinlikevler, has a display of foreign stamps from over 200 different countries. It is open except weekends and national holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Şefik Bursali House Museum
The prominent painter Şefik Bursali (1903-1990) became famous between 1934-1936 with paintings of Mevlana, the spiritual leader of the whirling dervishes, and landscapes reflecting the harsh steppe region around Konya – a city in Central Anatolia. The artist’s house has been converted into a museum displaying various personal items including his painting tools and materials, and photographs. It can be visited everyday except Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sakarya Monument to the Fallen and Museum
Located on the Şehitlerkaşi Hill in the Polatli District, this magnificent monument was erected in memory of the Turkish soldiers who lost their lives in the Sakarya Battle during the War of Independence. The columns rising on each side of the road with 420 steps symbolize the victory against the powerful enemy. At the end of the road are bas-relief sculptures and the museum. The monument, opened to visitors since 1973, can be visited by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artillery and Missile Academy Headquarters should be contacted to make an appointment prior to visit.
Prof. Dr. Ülker Muncuk Museum
This museum was founded in Gazi University, Faculty of Vocational Education in 1974 to exhibit local clothes, embroidery, lace, jewellery, handmade socks and documents collected from different regions of Anatolia. It is open weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Agriculture Museum
Agricultural tools and equipment used in and around the Polatli District are on display at this museum, which was opened in 2001. The museum in the Victory Park also includes a small zoo with nearly 20 different species of animal. It is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Turkish Aviation Association Museum
Inaugurated on May 19, 2002 at the Youth and Sports Festival, an event which was dedicated to the Turkish Youth byAtatürk, the museum is used to exhibit medals, awards and trophies relating to aviation and model planes. It is open everyday except Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Museum of the Turkish Agriculture Bank
The Bank’s headquarters in Ulus were designed and constructed by the Italian architect Giulio Mongeri between 1926 and 1929. The building is constructed in a style typical of the first National Architectural Period following the establishment of the Republic. It was converted into a museum on the 118th anniversary of the bank’s foundation in 1981. It is the only museum of its kind in Turkey, and it has various historical bank documents and banking equipment in its collection. It is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) Museum
The former TRT Radio Museum, which had a collection of outdated radio and electronic equipment, was relocated in 1981 to its new premises in the Oran neighbourhood. In 1994 it became the new TRT Museum, with the largest current exhibition, “the Independence Gallery”, dedicated to decorations, costumes and military equipment used in the production of the most elaborate TV serial, “ Kurtuluş”, ever produced by TRT about the War of Independence. The film exhibits are accompanied by light and sound effects which make them well worth seeing. The museum can be visited from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
The Hittite Monument
The Hittite Monument in Sihhiye was erected in 1974. It is a huge representation of a 24 cm high ritual object discovered in excavations at the Hittite site of Alacahoyuk. The original object is now in the city’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The figure, which has become the symbol of the Hittites, actually belongs to the Hatti civilization which dates from the Early Bronze Age (the second half of the 3rd millennium BC). The Hattians developed the practice of worshipping animal-shaped gods and the bull became their most important figure. The combination of the bull and the sky/sun symbol seem to symbolize the supreme god of the sky.
The Republic Monument
Standing in Ulus Square, this monument was made by an Australian sculptor, Krippel, in memory of the heroes of the Turkish War of Independence. The base of the equestrian statue of Atatürk bears reliefs depicting Atatürk and his soldiers, along with figures symbolizing Turkish women and the young Turkish Republic.
The Mimar Sinan Monument
This marble statue portraying the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan is located in front of the Language, History and Geography Faculty in Sıhhiye and was made by the sculptor Prof. Hüseyin Anka in 1956.
The Mithat Paşa Monument
This statue of Mithat Pasha seated in an armchair is located beside the General Headquarters of the Turkish Agriculture Bank in Ulus. In 1966 the bank commissioned Professor Hüseyin Anka to create a statue of the Grand Vizier Mithat Pasha, who founded the Turkish Agriculture Bank in 1863.
The Victory Monument
Situated on Atatürk Boulevard in Yenişehir, this monument was created by an Italian sculptor, Pietro Canonica, in 1927. It is a bronze statue of a uniformed Atatürk, standing and leaning on his sword. The base of the statue bears reliefs depicting victory wreaths.
The Security Monument
This memorial was made out of local Ankara stone in 1935 by Prof. Holzmaister, Prof. Anton Hanak and Prof. Jozef Thorek. A gift to the Turkish nation, the relief-covered monument is dedicated to the Turkish police and gendarmerie. It also contains sculptures representing the comrades who assisted Atatürk in organizing the revolutionary movement and winning the War of Independence. Other reliefs depict human intelligence and working farmers.
The Hacı Bayram Mosque
The mosque, situated next to the Temple of Augustus, was built by Hadji Bayram Veli between 1427 and 1428. The rectangular, stone- based building has brick walls and a tiled roof. It was constructed in the Seljuk style and repaired by the famous master architect Mimar Sinan. The cylindrical twin-galleried minaret rises adjacent to the southeast wall of the tomb. Inside the plaster niche rises from the ground up to the ceiling. The internal walls are decorated with Kütahya tiles up to the level of the lower windows. Adjacent to the south wall is the tomb of Hadji Bayram Veli, a revered local saint.
The Kocatepe Mosque
Construction of this mosque, which is located in the city’s Kocatepe quarter, began in 1967. The building is reminiscent of the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, with its four minarets, and of Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), with its central dome and cascade of semi-circular domes. The central hall is covered by the main dome, which is surrounded by four semi-circular domes. A marble fountain for ablutions beautifies the porticoed courtyard, which is positioned in front of the main gate in the north. The niche and the pulpit are decorated using white marble. The interior of the mosque was designed in classical Ottoman architectural style and is decorated with tiles, marble, brass and special paintings. The tinted glass ornamentation adds a special touch to the interior. Made from a special kind of glass, they form a transition from the classical Ottoman to a more contemporary Turkish style.
The Ağaç Ayak Mosque
The Ağaç Ayak Mosque was built on Ulucanlar Boulevard in about 1705. It is one ofthe finest Ottoman mosques in the city and has a short timber minaret and elegantly ornamented pews, decorated using various ochre paintings. The niche is embellished with geometrical shaped reliefs and the timber ceiling is a brilliant example of wood carving work.
The Ahi Yakup Mosque
The building was constructed by Ahi Yakup in the city’s İsmet Paşa Neighbourhood in 1391. It is a plain building based on stone foundations, enclosed by sun-dried bricks and topped by a tiled roof. Its niche is typical of 14th century Ankara mosques.
The Alaeddin Mosque
Dating back to 1197 and situated in the Ankara Citadel, the Alaeddin Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the city. Cut stone and rubble were used in the construction of the building and the roof is made from tiles. In the northwest corner rises a single galleried minaret. The pulpit, the antique column heads in the narthex and the restoration inscription on the gate are the important architectural features of the building.
The Ahi Elvan Mosque
Ahi Elvan Mehmet Bey, a prominent Ahi figure, had this mosque built in the city’s Koyunpazari quarter between 1331 and 1389. It has a rectangular floor-plan. While the walls of the mosque were constructed of stone and sundried bricks higher up, the interior was built using timber, creating a very solid structure.
The wooden ceiling is supported by 12 marble capitals each of which is securely mounted on timber columns. The wooden pulpit, ornamented with pentagon motives, is an elegant example of the Seljuk style of woodcarving.
The Sarikadi (Mimarzade) Mosque
This 18th century mosque is situated in Hamamönü. It is constructed on a stone base with walls of sun-dried brick and a tiled roof. The mosque bears the typical characteristics of the period it was built. The women’s pew, the niche, the ceiling and the windows are decorated by sülüs (large Arabic texts). The Influence of the Rococo style is noticeable in the plaster work of the upper windows and belowthe muezzin’s (the imam’s) pew.
The Taceddin Mosque
The Taceddin Mosque is also situated in Hamambnü neart^e Karacabey imaret, it was built by Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1901-1902. The complex is rectangular and has a cylindrical stone minaret resting on a square base rising in the northeast of the building. There is also a tomb located in the western part of the building.
The Aslanhane (Ahi Şerafeddin) Mosque
This mosque was built by Ahi Şerafeddin and the Ahi Hüsameddin brothers in the Samanpazari quarter between 1290 and 1291. The building, constructed of stone collected from Roman and Greek ruins, is composed of five rectangular prayer halls positioned lengthwise and enclosing a pointy roof made of lead. The single minaret adjacent to the northeast wall is cylindrical and made of bricks on a square stone base. The interior, including the ceilings, is made of wood, with engraved panels used throughout. The pulpit reaches to the ceiling and is decorated with fine tile work. It is one of the most impressive surviving pulpits from the Seljuk Period. The name “Aslanhane” – the lion house- is derived from an antique lion sculpture embedded in the wall of a tomb located in the eastern part of the mosque. Next to the mosque is another tomb called the Ahi Şerafeddin Kulahli Tomb.
The Cenab-i Ahmed Mosque
This mosque was constructed in the İç Cebeci quarter in 1566 by Cenab-i Ahmed Pasha, a military governor of Ankara during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent. It is a classical Ottoman mosque with a square floor covered by a single lead dome which is carried by walls of cut stone. The narthex is supported by four marble columns which are connected to one another by three pointed arches, forming a sturdy structure that carries three smaller domes. The mosque’s windows are edged with colourful paint work and encircle the building in three rows.
The Çiçekçioglu Mosque
Located in the Alparslan neighbourhood, this mosque is a typical example of those built in Ankara in the late 17th and early 18th century.
It has sun-dried brick walls, a tiled roof, a decorated ceiling, window-top inscriptions and a pulpit.
The Karacabey Mosque
This mosque was built by Karacabey in the 15th century in the Hamamonu quarter. The mosque is part of a complex including a tomb, a fountain and a double bath (hamam). The Karacabey Mosque, which is the only example in Ankara of a mosque with an exedra, is covered by five domes, which are supported by stone and brick walls. The minaret is a remarkable example of its kind, with splendid glazed bricks and tiles. The tomb of Karacabey is located beside the mosque.
The Zincirli Mosque
Situated in Ulus on Anafartalar Street, this mosque was built on a stone base with brick walls and a tiled roof. The wooden ceiling was constructed using a special technique. The building has the typical characteristics of a late – mid 17th century mosque, with its ceiling, niche, pulpit and facade.
Built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, only a few examples of old Ankara houses are left intact today. The best examples are in the city’s older neighbourhoods and inside the castle’s walls in particular. They are typically two-storey and made out of wood and sun-dried bricks. On the ground floor are the servants’ quarters and a courtyard; while on the first floor are rooms for the landlord’s use. The guest rooms and bedrooms are located on the first floor too. A staircase with only one side open, called a seyregah or sergah, often leads to a covered terrace. The ceilings, the doors and some other parts of the interiors are decorated with geometrical, ‘rumi’ and ‘hatai’ patterns based on Seljuk ornamentation. Today some of the houses are being used for touristic purposes.
The surviving Ayaş houses are concentrated around the marketplace and on the slopes of the valley to the north. These houses display architectural features typical of traditional Turkish houses. They are generally two-storey houses which are made of wood and stone or brick. The ground floor has a stable, a cellar and a servant’s room depending on the size ofthe house. The upper floors, which are the actual living areas, have two or three rooms around an anteroom, as well as the kitchen, bathroom and toilet. There are generally wooden ceilings throughout. The outer part of the house is furnished with various projections and the windows are screened by wooden latticework.
The old district of Beypazarı, built on steep slopes and valleys, is extremely picturesque with its marketplace, traditional houses and natural landscape. Century-old Beypazarı houses with the typical characteristics of Ottoman and traditional Turkish domestic architecture are generally two- or three-storey houses with bay windows and an attic, called a ‘kuşkana’. The main walls are made of stone and the upper parts of the houses are made of wood. Outer surfaces are plastered and the houses are covered with tiled roofs. The ground floors of the buildings consist of servant rooms and cellars. On the upper floors, a rectangular or square anteroom is surrounded by rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.
Güdül houses are also among the old Turkish houses still standing in the centre of Güdül District.
The Elmadağ Ski Centre is located on the northern slopes of Elmadağ Mountain, 26 km from Ankara. The snow reaches 30-60 cm and the resort ranges from the 1500-1850 m above sea-level. The ski season is between January and March. The ski pistes are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers.
Ankara has a distinct advantage over other nearby centres for hosting national and international meetings. Its location offers easy access for travellers, and its well developed infrastructure and transportation system, coupled with rich cultural heritage and natural resources make the city an ideal spot for congresses and meetings. The city also has a range of hotels, resorts, universities and public buildings, with well-established, state of the art facilities, which make ideal locations for successful events of any kind.
Camping and Caravanning
The camping and caravan sites at the Soğuksu National Park, the Eğriova and Benli plateaus, the Çubuk-Karagöl forest recreation park and the Bayındır Dam are equipped with up-to-date facilities for day and overnight use.
Located to the north of Beypazarı, Karaşar and Eğriova plateaus, including the highlands of Belenova, Kuyucak, Sarialan and Çukurören, offer excellent opportunities for recreation and sporting activities, such as trekking, hiking and camping. The scenery is beautifully unspoilt, with a range of interesting natural fauna and flora. There is a small lake for people interested in fishing, and with a bit of luck, you may hook a trout or two on your line. There are plenty of other locations worth exploring in the area, such as the Çamlıdere- Benli plateaus, 40 km east of Çamlıdere. This range spreads across a vast area including Yılanlı, Osmansin, Peçenekand Çukurören plateaus. The Sorgun Plateau, 23 km from the town of Güdül, and the Nallihan-Andiz range, 30 km from the town of Nallıhan, are other places suitable for outdoor sports. Last, but not the least, are the Salın (Maden), Ulucak and Başköy plateaus, which are 30, 40, and 45 km from the district of Kızılcahamam respectively. Covered by thick Black Pine forests, the ranges provide excellent conditions for nature lovers.
The temperature of the water at the Kizilcahamam spa is 47 °C in the main spring, 44 °C in the small spring, 19.5 °C in the mineral water spring and 37°C in the Acisu spring. The physical and chemical properties of the water fall into the category of hypo-thermal and hypo-tonic. People staying in hotels and other accommodation facilities nearby can also make use of the water for cures. It is thought that drinking the water has a therapeutic effect for the liver, gall bladder, digestive system and the metabolism, while bathing in the water helps ease complaints of the coronary and circulatory system, as well as rheumatism.
The water temperature reaches 43 °C at the Sey Hamami spring, which is located 2 km west of Güvem County on the Kizilcahamam-Çerke§ road. The water is rich in bicarbonate, sodium, calcium, fluoride and carbon dioxide. There are facilities at the spring for drinking and bathing treatments. The thermal water is known to have a positive healing effect on rheumatism, joint and calcification problems, stomach/digestive and circulatory system complaints, neurological defects, as well as liver, gall bladder and dietary disorders.
The Ayaş spa located in Ayaş District have a water temperature of51°C, compared to around 31°C at the nearby Ayaş Karakaya facility. The water from both springs is rich in sodium, calcium and carbon dioxide, and is recommended for treating rheumatism, neuralgia, gynaecological problems, gall bladder complaints, constipation, inflammation problems and kidney stones.
The water temperatures at the Dutlu-Tahtali springs at Beypazarı vary from 31 to 52°C. The water includes high levels of chloride, sulphates, sodium, calcium and carbon dioxide. It is believed that people suffering with dermatological problems or complaints relating to the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and high cholesterol can benefit from treatments at the springs.
The Melikşah springs in Çubuk have a water temperature of around 31°C. The Haymana springs have a temperature of 44.5°C are among the best known hot water springs in the area. They contain high levels of minerals, such as calcium, sodium, magnesium and carbon dioxide, which are believed to have a therapeutic effect for problems relating to the stomach, liver, pancreas, as well as high cholesterol and lung-related problems.
The Sariyar and Çamlıdere reservoirs are suitable for windsurfing.
The valleys of the Kirmir and Ankara creeks, the Eğriova and Benli plateaus and the areas around Lake Karagöl, Lake Mogan and Lake Eymir are among the best places for mountain biking.
Thought to date from the Byzantine Period, the so-called Byzantine caves were dug into the mountainside along the Kirmir Creek in Güdül. These tunnels are connected by stairs and the whole complex is similar to the famous Urgüp- Göreme caves in Central Anatolia. People lived in the caves and there is even an underground church. Some ofthe stairs leading to the upper sections of the cave system have been eroded away by the creek. Another spot worth seeing is the Tulumtaş Cavern which is located beneath the district of Gölbaşı, 15 km from Ankara between the villages of Incek, Hacılar and Tulumtaş. The Tulumtaş Cavern is 5 km long, 1-1.5 km wide and 30-40 m high. It was formed by chemical weathering of the limestone and calcium deposits have formed large stalactites and stalagmites on the ceiling and the floor of the cavern.
Fishing is permitted in the Kızılırmak and Sakarya rivers and their tributaries, as well as in the Kirmir Creek. Mogan, Eymir, Kerevit and Karagöl lakes and the Asartepe, Çamlıdere, Sariyar and Kesiköprü reservoirs are also popular with anglers. Main fish species are common carp, tinca tinca, sand smelt, leiciscus cephalus, coal cod, crayfish, catfish, esox lucius, lake trout, carp, miror carp, carp beam.
Trekking and Hiking
The Kirmir Creek Valley has a 30 km track ideal for trekking, while the Pazar Creek Valley has a splendid ecosystem and geological formations. These are two of the best places for trekking, although other good areas to walk are the Ilhan Creek Ağan Valley, which has a pleasant 22 km path through thick forest and breathtaking landscapes, and the Çubuk Creek Valley. With its canyon-like landscape and varied plant species, the Çubuk Valley area is particularly suitable for people with an interest in geology and rock formations.
The rugged and narrow İnönü Valley is flanked by rocky hills and dotted with orchards, plantations and vineyards, as well as some characteristic rural dwellings. Lake Mogan, Lake Eymir and the Çubuk Dam Reservoir are good places to take a stroll through lovely natural surroundings. The Soğuksu National Park, which forms a transition zone between the steppe and forest environments, has great biological and ecological importance.
Located in a basin on the boundaries of Bala and Haymana districts, 70 km south of Ankara, Lake Çöl (Çalıkdüzü) is a haven for aquatic birds. The lake covers an area of 1500 hectares and is fed by small streams. Many aquatic birds including great sand plovers and ruddy shell ducks over-winter at the lake. Flamingos, pintails and black-winged stilts are usually observed in the area after the breeding season. Mallard ducks, shovelers, red tails and woodpeckers are some of the other birds breeding in the vicinity.
20 km south ofAnkara in Gölbaşı District, Lake Mogan is one of the region’s most important bird breeding grounds. The lake hosts breeding populations of heron, red crested pochard and pintail. At the end of each autumn and at the beginning of spring, many other species, including coots, little grebes, great crested grebes, gadwalls, mallard and marsh harrier, can be observed around the lake.
The mountainous and wooded Soğuksu National Park is also an important breeding ground for birds such as the black stork, bearded vulture, lesser vulture, red vulture and several species of eagle.
Situated at the base of the Kavaklı Mountains, within the districts of Güdül and Dörtdivan, a 10-km long valley formed by the Savari stream, is a breeding ground for the black vulture. North of Beypazarı, a series of rocky cliffs in the İnönü Valley make fine nesting sites for black storks, night herons, lesser vultures and ravens.
In the districts of Beypazarı and Nallıhan, the Nallıhan Bird Paradise covers a marshy area beside the Sariyar Dam and rocky terrain to the north of the lake. The main species breeding in the area are night herons, black storks, bearded falcons and lesservultures. Little egrets and grey herons also breed in the vicinity of the lake.
Situated in Bala District, the Beynam Forest has been recognised as a special bird area due to the existence of breeding colonies of white-tailed and golden eagles.
Karacaören Village of Kızılcahamam offers enjoyable horse-rides along excellent tracks. There is also good horse-riding in the Karaşar- Benliova and Çamlıdere-Benli plateaus.
The GölbaşıTraining Centre, where Ankara’s universities have their aviation clubs, has a range of activities and facilities available for visitors.
The training hill is highly suitable for paragliding training thanks to its height and the predominant wind.
Botany and Flora
The interaction of topography and climate around Ankara has created conditions suitable for the spread of two different types of flora. The first are steppe plants which are prevalent on the plateaus and the lower areas with low precipitation. The spiky bushes, grasses and other plants that grow alongside the creeks and streams, such as oleanders, willows and poplar trees, also fall into this group. The steppe plants are generally short and found in clusters. They include species such as short grasses, weeds, rue, sweet broom, wild barley, poppies, daisies, marsh-mallow, thyme, spurge, dead nettle, wild rose and blackberry.
The second type of flora in the area is the forest species. Islands of woodland, such as the
Beynam Forest, spread into the steppe zones. Black pine, juniper and oak are abundant in these forests.
The flora found in the Ankara region is extremely diverse with almost 960 plant species, 175 of which, including species of crocus and cornflower, are endemic. The most common species of plant in the region are the chamomiles, the legumes, the grains (caryopses), the turnips and the dead nettles.
The wide variety of natural habitats in the Ankara region supports a highly diverse selection. The creeks, rivers, lakes and reservoirs are home to aquatic creatures such as carp, trout, freshwater mussels, crabs and terrapins; as well as birds such as cormorants, wild ducks, grey herons and moorhen. The woodland and forested areas in Nallıhan, Beypazarı, Kızılcahamam, Çamlıdere, Çubukand Güdül districts support large animals like bears, wild boar and deer. Although recently observed in the vicinity of Nallıhan and Beypazarı, wild sheep have sadly become extinct. Other mammals, such as wolves, foxes, badgers, rabbits, polecats, weasels and squirrels, as well as birds such as partridges, grey partridges, bustards, cranes, woodcocks, pigeons, stock-doves and quails can be observed in abundance throughout the region. The area is also home to birds of prey, such as hawks, falcons and eagles.
Nature Parks and Recreational Areas
75 km from Ankara in Kızılcahamam is the Soğuksu National Park which was established in 1959 and covers an area of 1,050 hectares. The park lies at an altitude of approximately 1,300 m and is in the important transitional zone between Central Anatolia and the dense green woodlands of Northern Anatolia. The landscape consists of many small streams and flat areas between the valleys. The wooded areas of the natural park support populations of wild boar, bear, wolf, fox, deer and marten. Tree species include Scots pine, yellow pine, oak and poplar, along with many species of sub-flora. Known locally as the ‘oxygen supply of Ankara’, the park has enough space to host 8,000 visitors in its picnic area.
The Atatürk Farm and Zoo (AOÇ) is one of the oldest excursion spots in the city. It was established in 1925 at the behest of Atatürk and attracts a great many visitors to its green fields, picnic areas, zoo and restaurants. Altinpark, in Aydinlikevler, has a fairground, culture and science centres, open-air and semi-enclosed amphitheatres, open-air and indoor sports facilities, restaurants serving Turkish food and dishes from other parts of the world, entertainment venues, an artificial lake, gardens and green houses.
Another recreation area which is popular, especially in summer, is Gençlik Park in Ulus, which offers facilities such as restaurants, cafes, game areas and a large pool.
Göksu Park is one of the largest parks in Ankara and includes open-air sport facilities, restaurants, walking tracks, a lake, an amphitheatre and a go-cart track. Harikalar Diyarı (Land of Wonders), in Sincan, is the largest recreation area in Ankara. It boasts a youth centre, a cultural centre, restaurants serving Anatolian dishes and seafood, country cafes and barbeque cafes. There are also sculptures of cartoon characters which are very popular with children. There are many other nice parks and open-air recreation areas, such as the Botanical Park and Seğmenler Park in Çankaya, Güvenpark in Kızılay, Kuğulu Park in Tunalı, Abdi İpekçi Park, Demetevler Park, Cemre Park in Demetevler, Kurtuluş Park and Dikmen Valley.
The lakes of Mogan and Eymir, located in Gölbaşı, 25 km south of Ankara on the Konya motorway, with their natural beauty, clean air and lakeside restaurants, are ideal destinations for those who would like to take a day-trip from the city. The sunset over Lake Mogan and the many species of birds that make it their home are worth watching. You can also enjoy delicious dishes made with fish caught in the lake.
Situated 40 km from Çubuk, at the base of Yıldırım Mountain, Karagöl is a small but very deep crater lake. It is a superb recreational spot with wonderful views in summer, as well as in winter. Karagöl is surrounded by pine and poplar trees.
The Salt Lake near Şereflikoçhisar, which provides half of Turkey’s salt supply, is also worth seeing. ‘The wedding dress of the steppes’, as it is called locally, has some beautiful views, especially at sunset when the crystals in the salt sparkle like diamonds, reflecting the last rays of sun. In the vicinity of the Çubuk Dam, 15 km from Ankara on the Çankırı motorway, there are woodlands, picnic areas, walking tracks and country cafes. Bayındır Dam, 12 km from Ankara on the Samsun motorway, is another popular local spot on account of its natural beauty and serenity. The Kurtboğazı, Sarıyar, Kesikköprü, Hirfanli, Asartepe and Çamlıdere reservoirs, and the Çamkoru and Beynam forests, are some other lovely picnic areas around Ankara.
The old shops on Çıkrıkçılar Hill near Ulus are very popular with tourists. Bakırcılar Bazaar is another interesting road where you can find a wide range of products such as carpets, rugs, clothes, antiques, jewellery and ornaments. Walking up towards the Ankara Citadel, you can stroll among the shops selling products such as spices, tit-bits and dried fruits.
Besides shops and stores in central locations like Kızılay and Ulus, shopping malls in every part of Ankara host stores and shops, catering all kinds of customers. The most notable ones are Karum, Atakule and 365 AVM in Çankaya, Panora in Oran, MigrosAnkaMall in Akköprü, Maltepe Park in Maltepe, Ankuva in Bilkent, Armada and Cepa on the Eskişehir Road, Galleria in Umitköy, Arcadium and Koru Mesa Plaza in Çayyolu, Antares in Etlik, Optimum Center in Eryaman and CarrefourSA in Batikent.
Culture, Art and Entertainment
As the capital city, Ankara offers many artistic and cultural events as well as leisure activities. You can enjoy sports, cultural activities and folk events; visit art galleries, go to theatres, operas, ballets, jazz concerts, modern dance performances and enjoy listening to the concerts ofthe Presidential Symphony Orchestra. Ankara also hosts many domestic and foreign film festivals, the 23 April Children’s Festival, which is celebrated by children from all over the world who are hosted in Ankara for a week, art biennials and folk dancing and art competitions.
In Ankara, there is also a wide choice of entertainment with bars, clubs and modern discos where you can dance and enjoy yourself until sunrise. Gölbaşı, Ulus, Ankara Citadel, Kızılay, Bahçelievler, Tunalı Hilmi Street, Tunus Street, Kavaklıdere, Gazi Osman Paşa, Çayyolu Park Street and Koru Mesa Plaza are some of the locations where you will find many traditional or modern entertainment venues.
Although the etymological origins of the word ‘seğmen’ is ‘sekban’, who were an important part of the Ottoman army, the seğmen tradition can be traced back to the Oğuz Turks, who settled in and around Ankara. The Seğmens, used to lead and protect the caravans crossing the steppe and led a nomadic lifestyle, now participate in national celebrations and wedding ceremonies in their traditional local costumes and symbolize patriotism, bravery and trustworthiness.
Meat dishes have a special place in traditional Ankara cuisine. The most popular dishes are Ankara tavası ( lamb meat baked with noodle, tomato sauce, vegetables and spices) , orman kebabı (forest kebab) and meatballs with onions. The most common pastries are tandırböreği (oven pastry), ayböreği (moon pastry) and alt üst böreği (topsy turvy pastry). The regions traditional soups are toyga (made from rice and yogurt), tarhana (made with dried yogurt, tomato and pimento peppers), keşkek (made with wheat and meat) and milk soup. Sweet stuffings and desserts, such as saraylı, tiltil, baklava and kaygana are also popular specialities of the region.
Handicrafts and Souvenirs
Telkari is a technique of weaving fine gold or silver wire into jewellery and ornaments. It is an important traditional handicraft of the Ankara region, and has a 2500-year old history. Also known as filigre, this handcraft is still practiced in Beypazarı. Anothertraditional handicraft surviving in Anatolia is pitcher-making. The pitchers are made out of fired clay in the districts of Ayaş and Şereflikoçhisar. They have an open-pored texture, which allows water to seep-out slowly, keeping the water in the pitcher cool. Cotton weaving, along with fabric- and rug-making were practised widely in the past. These crafts are still kept alive in some districts although there have been changes to the quality of the products. Cotton headscarves, called ,bürgü’ are produced in Beypazarı; while in Ayaş and its surrounding villages, cloths, yazmas (thin headscarves), headscarves, and embroidered edges for various clothes are produced in the traditional way, but with new patterns and materials. Alpaca weaving using mohair from Angora goats and leather- work used to be important handicrafts, although they are no longer practised today.
Natural Symbols of Ankara
The Angora cat (felis domesticus angoriensis) is a pure bred species of cat, which originates from Ankara. The long, thin cat has medium-length silky fur, a small- or medium-sized head and a triangular nose. Long perpendicular ears, the tips of which are hairy, stand close together on its head. The cat’s large almond-shaped eyes can be green, yellow, copper or blue. Although generally thought to be white, their fur may be different colours. The Angora cat is delicate and not well-equipped for hunting.
The Angora goat was brought to Anatolia by Turks in the 13th century and has been bred in the region ever since. It adapted well to the dry climate and terrain of Central Anatolia. The goat’s shiny silver-white wool, called ‘mohair’ in many countries, is soft and an ideal fibre for the textile industry because it can be dyed very easily; it is heat-resistant and does not get dirty easily.
The Angora rabbit is short-necked with long ears that fall to the sides of its head. The characteristic eyes of the white rabbits are red. The rabbit is famous for its long, shiny hair, which can grow to 40 cm. Shearing starts when the rabbit is 2-3 months old and each rabbit provides 1 kg of wool per year. Highly heat-absorbent and light, wool from the Angora rabbit is particularly sought-after and hypoallergenic.
The Ankara crocus (crocus ancyrensis) is a perennial bulb with yellow or blue flowers. It blooms in the spring or autumn, and is known locally as the ‘announcer of spring’
The endemic love flower (centaurea tchihatcheffii), which grows in the eastern banks
of the Mogan Lake in Gölbaşı, has red, purple and pink blossoms which appear in spring. It is believed that this flower tells a desperate love story of a young couple.
Ankara has a continental climate with cold, wet winters and warm, dry summers. However, the climate varies considerably across the province, with a more continental climate dominating the south, plateau areas, whereas the warm and wet Black Sea climate affects the north of the province.
Average Annual Temperatures in Ankara on Monthly Basis (°C)
|23 5||24,3||18 0||14,4||8,0||1 9|
Annual Average : 12.5
By road: Located at the centre of the country’s road network, Ankara is easily accessible from all parts of Turkey by bus with its terminal, AŞTI.
By air: Esenboga Airport, for both domestic and international flights with a ten million passenger capacity per year, is located at a distance of 28 km from the city centre. The terminal building is equipped with the most modern technology and it offers a wide range of shopping and eating facilities, bank machines, car rental services and a parking area with a capacity to hold 4,336 vehicles. Passenger transportation to the airport from the city centre is provided by HAVA§ and EGO shuttle busses (Bus No: 442) every half an hour.
By rail: The train lines from the city are as follows: Ankara-lstanbul, Ankara-lzmir, Ankara- Balikesir, Ankara-Adana, Ankara-lsparta-Burdur, Ankara-Zonguldak, Ankara-Elazig-Diyarbakir.
By rail: The train lines from the city are as follows: Ankara-Istanbul. Ankara-Izmir, Ankara-
Balikesir, Ankara-Adana, Ankara-lsparta-Burdur, Ankara-Zonguldak, Ankara-Elazig-Diyarbakir.
Don’t leave Ankara without…
• Visiting Anıtkabir (the Mausoleum of Atatürk), the Ankara Citadel and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations,
• Tasting traditional pancakes and sipping tea at Pirinç Han,
• Taking a walk in the Soğuksu National Park,
• Going to a thermal spa,
• Seeing the houses of Beypazarı…
Useful Contact Details
Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism
Tel: (+90 312) 310 87 87 Fax: (+90 312) 310 03 42 Anafartalar Cad. No: 67 Ulus www.kulturturizm.gov.tr
Esenboğa Airport Tourist Information Office
Tel: (+90 312) 398 03 48
Tel: (+90 312) 306 66 66
Tel: (+90 312) 384 09 40
Bus Terminal (AŞTİ)
Tel: (+90 312) 207 10 00
Train Station (TCDD)
Tel: (+90 312) 444 82 33
Tel: (+90 312) 590 40 00
HAVAŞ (Ground Handling Services Company)
Tel: (+90 312) 444 04 87
Turkish Airlines Information and Reservation Office
Turkish Union for Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB)
Tel: (+90 312) 212 83 33-212 89 47
Fax: (+90 312) 212 39 99
Mebusevleri Ayten Sok. No: 28/3 Tandoğan
Fire Brigade: 110