Ankara (Anchora)

It was just a small town before the republic. It was made the capital of the republic but it was a small town with a mere population of 30 thousand. When the National Parliament was opened and the delegates started to come to Ankara, they faced with difficulties in finding accommodation. Then followed them the diplomats but they also faced with the same problems. There were some hotels and restaurants but it was next to impossible for them to survive with only this volume of business; they would not be able to stand if it were not for the support of the government.

The independent Turkey had chosen for its capital the city of Ankara, that has been a settlement spot to many peoples since early ages and has been the centre of many a civilizations and is now right in the centre of the country.

Now it is a large metropolis. The state organizations and art societies like the national assembly, the government, ministries, general directorates, universities, opera house, ballet and theatres are here in this city. We trust no other city in the world had undergone such a rapid face change in such a short time. Some hand tools from the Paleolithic Age are found at the surface surveys held around the city. Ahlatlibel, Ataturk was very concerned with the archaeological excavations held there, was a settlement are in the Pre-Bronze Age in the south. The reliefs found in the Bahcelievler area prove that the Phrygians were here. The Phrygian earthenware household items found in the Ataturk’s Mausoleum tumulus excavations are now on the display in the Museum of Middle East Technical University. The Galatians were forced to settle down around Ankara after their coming to Anatolia in the Hellenistic Age. After this arrangement, the area was called Galatia. It is known that the population of the Galatians was about 20 thousand when they have come over from Europe to settle here in 278-277 BC. They were a Celt tribe. They settled in the area as three separate groups.

City of monuments and Statues

Its being located on the a location where it has been a settlement spot since the prehistoric ages and its being the capital today made Ankara a city of monuments, statues and large buildings. Throughout the recent years the city changed its grey shell into a more colourful look.

We like to start telling about Ankara from its old part. There mainly two centres in the city; Ulus and Kızılay Squares. Ankara spreads out from these two focal points. The city does not have an industrial life as equally large as its size. The industrial plans are more centred around Kırıkkale area. After having separated Kırıkkale from Ankara and having also made it a city, it used to be a province associated to Ankara, the industry has also been separated from Ankara, where it stood as an attachment.

The Historical Town

The historical town is around Ulus Square. The most important museums of the country are here. There are many mosque, turbeh (tomb), medresseh and bath structures.

Temple of Augustus

It is from the Romans. The name of the temple, next to Haci Bayram Mosque and Turbeh, is spoken as “Temple of Emperor Augustus and Goddess Rome“ in the Roman sources. It was situated on the most magnificent plain (acropolis) of Ankara at the end of the Hellenistic Age. Before this temple, the cella/naos walls of which are almost intact even today, was dedicated to Augustus and the Goddess Rome, there used to stand another temple in its place devoted to Men and Kybele.

Roman Baths

The Roman Baths found on the Çankırı Caddesi were kept under a tumulus, for this reason they have been preserved very well and are in very good condition today. It was built in 21 1 -217 AD with stones and bricks, it has been used continuously until X century with several repairs in between and its dimensions are 80-m x 130-m. The Column of Julianus, made in the honour of the Roman Emperor Julianus’s visit to the city, is made by placing 15 round shaped stones with grooves all around, on top of each other. It is a simple column.

There are many more Seljuk and Ottoman arts too in the old city. The Alaaddin Mosque in the Castle is one of the oldest. Its minbar carved out of walnut wood is one the most beautiful specimens of Seljuk wood carving mentorship. The Haci Bayram Turbeh is a religious place of visiting with 8 sarcophaguses of himself and his relations. It made of red Ankara stone. The front face is of white marble.

Ankara Castle

It is more like an eagle’s nest with its being built on steep rocky slopes. The inner and outer walls are from the Byzantines. It is on a hill on the east of the plain overlooking Ankara. It is spread over a large area with its 20 towers outer walls, but very little of it reached today. But the inner castle, about 43,000 sq. m., is in a better shape. There are 42 towers on the inner walls. The lower part of the walls is of marble and the upper part is of Ankara stone. The houses built around the Alaaddin Mosque have made the core of the city in the course of time.

Old Ankara Houses

The old Ankara houses in the Kaleiçi Mahallesi, are planned to make the most use out of a small area as they are situated in narrow and steep locations surrounded by the high city walls. They are two or three storey houses made of wood, mud bricks and normal bricks.

The lower storey is built with thick walls, small windows against the winter conditions, and the upper storey is with thinner walls and more airy with summer in mind. The wide eaves and the summer rooms called “Cihannüma” are the distinctive properties of Ankara houses. Mostly geometrical patterns are used for ceiling decorations. One can find historical, clean and neat restaurants around old Ankara where you can enjoy delicious and tasty meals of the Ottoman cuisine.

Towards Kızılay

Let us walk towards Kızılay along the Atatürk Boulevard. The Youth Park, with its large pond where you can enjoy a row-boat-ride or water- cycle-ride, with its Luna Park, restaurants, ice skating ring and pond- side tea gardens make an important leisure and recreation spot within the city. Especially the large Luna park attracts the interest of young ones as well as of the elderly The grand Opera House, the Radio House, the School of Language and History, Geography, Statue of Glory are the historical and monumental buildings we shall see. Kızılay, with is illuminated shops windows, tasty pastry shops and especially with its Sakarya Street, used to be the most important shopping centre before the opening of the new shopping malls. The Sakarya Street has been closed to the car traffic and is now a recreation area. The florists, fish market, doner kebab shops, beer houses; handicraft souvenir displays are one after another on the way.

and Çankaya…

Past the National Assembly is a long strolling street with many a fashionable shops in Tunalı Hilmi Street where is a new shopping centre recently popped up. Cankaya is now sort of a terrace where you can view Ankara. There are two large shopping centres where one can enjoy, rest and shop; Karum and Atakule. There are 155 shops in Atakule, and a Dreamland amusement centre. The rotating top of the 125-meter high tower completes its tour , in two hours, it has an outdoor viewing terrace and a restaurant wit a café-bar. And Karum also offer to its customers a wide variety and enjoyable shopping possibility with its 382 shops.

We must call Dikmen Valley too. Just to spite the surrounding cement blocks, it manages to create a feeling of relief with its large green parks and ponds. The people of Ankara rush there in summer nights. The city of Ankara is now green already, in spite of the ash-grey plain surrounding it. The green area percentage compared to population is increasing day by day. The green parks around Çankaya-Dikmen are the best specimens for this.

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Anıtkabir – The Ataturk Mausoleum

The Mausoleum is on the Anıttepe hill, second highest after the Ankara Castle. It is a heap- tumulus from the Phrygians times. Past the large ceremonial area and the ceremony road you see the Mausoleum where you climb up by a wide flight of stairs. There are 10- meter high towers on both sides of the stairs. The three groups of statues before the tower represent the sorrow of the people because of Atatürk’s death. From through the towers it leads to the Road of Lions. There are 24 Hittite lions on sides of this road. The road opens to the Court of Glory. This court is surrounded on its three sides with galleries and there are eight towers all around. On the left side of the Court of Glory is the Ataturk’s Mausoleum. There are a number of Phrygians tumuluses around the Mausoleum. Three of these are excavated out and the findings are displayed in the Museum of The Middle East Technical University. The Guven Monument, the Republic Monument and the statue of Sinan The Great Architect are only some of the many monuments that decorate the city. The statue tradition of Ankara is continuing by being altered to a modern understanding with the new “Pavement Statues” made by the young sculptors.

Ataturk Orman Çifttliği – Ataturk Forest Farm

It was made in 1925 by the order of Ataturk over a land of 102 thousand acres. There are restaurants, tea gardens, the largest and the best- looked-after zoo of the country there.


It somehow made a wrong image with those who do not know and those who have not been there to see it themselves. They say “It has no green. It is dry around it”. Alas, in fact it is not so. It is the nearest lake to the city (25-km) that offers the citizens some water shores.

The big large cap fishes caught there are sold in the fish markets in Ankara. There are lots of picnic sites around the lake, as well as many a restaurants and tea gardens. They offer delicious dishes at the restaurants made of the crayfish from the lake, but meat-and-charcoal brazier (et-mangal) is more widely preferred at the waterside restaurants around the lake. Should you feel like to spend a night there, a hotel is at your disposal. On the way from Gölbaşı to Kırşehir, you get to Beynam Forests on the Bala road. Beynam is the nearest natural forest to Ankara.

Keskinkopru Lake

You get there by turning to Bala past Gölbaşı on the Konya highway. Very rare bird species live here. You will either hear them or eyewitness them. The lake is suitable for water sports. You may try to do surfing, water-skiing and diving. The water goes as deep as 29-m but in spite of this, deep-water fishing is not practised. Water temperature is 18 degrees C in July. On one side of the lake are the facilities of Ankara Municipality.

Çubuk Baraj Gölleri – Cubuk Dam Lakes

They are on the way to Esenboga Airport. Çubuk Dam Lake is one of the nicest day- excursion sites with its green and relaxation facilities. It is 48-km to north of Ankara and near the Çubuk town.


Another lake near Çubuk town is this Karagöl. Past Çubuk, first some fruit tree gardens, and then some curvy road through the forest, there you come to Karagöl, 74- km from Ankara. It is a small crater lake and it is forests all around. There are arranged picnic sites with timber tables.


The mountain, 1855-m) iis the winter sports centre of Ankara and its environments. It is only a 18-km drive from Ankara. There are skiing facilities up on the mountain as well as hotels, restaurants and ski-rental services. Karagöl (a crater lake, on the Çubuk road, 74-km to Ankara), Bayındır Dam (on Ankara-Samsun highway, 13-km to Ankara), Eğmir Lake are places of interest with their natural beauties and extensive facilities.


It is one of the most frequently visited recreation site with its dense pine tree forests 75 km out of Ankara. There are accommodation facilities and restaurants in this large forest. Here are The Grand and Little Thermal Springs showing similar properties. It is understood that people used them since the Romans. These thermal facilities have been supported with new and quality addition during recent years. The facilities house indoors and outdoors thermal pools, health units under doctors’ supervision, physical treatment centres, fitness centres, mud baths, restaurants and bars, and conference rooms. Kızılcahamam is not known with its thermal baths only, but also with its natural soda waters; to be one of the first in Turkey.

Soğuksu Milli Parkı – Soguksu National Park

The Soğuksu Milli Park in Kızılcahamam is a mountaineering tourism area. The highest peak (1789-m) is the Arhul peak. The highest temperature in summer is 35.6 and the lowest in winter is 14.6 degrees C. There are numerous hot and cold water springs. It is mostly black-pines in its rich-in-variety green blanket. There are wild rose, strawberry and hazelnut, wild pear, juniper, oak and various wild flowers too. There exist wild animals too in this national park area. And for the bird specimens, you can see falcons, pheasants and quails. Near the park there is a partridge and hazel hen growing facility. There are also in the picnic site some wooden tables, fireplaces, waste bins, drinking water fountains, toilets and shelters against sudden rain showers. One small charming museum is also there for your visit. There are two lakes nearby. One is Eğrikaya Dam Lake and the other is Karagöl (it has no other common similarity except for their names with that Karagöl near Çubuk). Karagöl is a small lake down by the slopes of Işık Dağ. It is surrounded by forests. This easy-to-climb Işık Dağı (Mountain of Light), Karagöl and Sofular Deresi with its deep valley make ideal trekking tracks.

Gordion – Yassıhoyuk

The ruins of Phrygian capital Gordion is 29-km northeast of Polatli that is 94-km from Ankara. The findings from Gordion are displayed in the museum on the site and in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul and in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. These findings prove that the capital’s history dates back till the middle of VIII century BC: Its peak was between 725 and 675 BC. Ass Ear King Midas, famous for his ears, lived here. One other thing the city is famous for is “its knot”. Alexander The Great had beaten the Persians and gave Gordion its independence. While he was staying there over the winter in 333 BC he had cut the Gordion Knot with his sword that gave him the key to Asia. The temple where King Gordios’s chariot and the knot are said to be, could not be found until today. The surveys continue. A monumental gate and numerous buildings and houses and city wall ruins have been discovered out of the Kent Tumulus. The Kent gate is a monumental structure with its 9-meter part we have today. The north court is found open altogether, and the south court was not dug out for the sake of protecting the Persian wall. These courts were used as arsenals. We understand that it used to be the king’s residence in the third megaron. The mosaics displayed in the local museum are believed to be the oldest in the vyorld. Two limestone lion heads are displayed in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. The tumulus with its 300 meters diameter and 53 meters height is the second highest in Anatolia and in the antic world. The timber grave room underneath is in very good condition. The items found in the grave rooms are now on display in the museums in Ankara and Gordion.

Gavur Kalesi

The castle is on the 28th km on Ankara – Haymana highway and near Ikizce. There are a monumental grave room and a Hittite relief with three god figures. Its being holy is understood by a relief representing the most important ones of the Hittite gods and a grave room spared for the kings worshipping.

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