Area: 30.715 km²
Population: 4.036.626 (2000)
The history of Ankara and its surroundings stretches back to the Hatti civilisation of the Bronze Age. Two thousand years before the time of Jesus, the Hittites become the dominant power of the region, and were then followed by the Phyrgians, Lydians and Persians. In the 3rd Century BC, a Celtic race known as the Galatians made Ankara their capital city. The name Ankara comes from the word 'Ancyra', which means 'anchor.'
Ankara gained prominence under the leadership of Ataturk during the national resistence which followed World War I. It was declared the capital of the new Turkish Republic on October 13th 1923 when the National War of Independence freed Turkey from foreign occupation.
Occupying one of the most prominent parts of the city is Anitkabir, the magnificent mausoleum constructed to commemorate Atatürk. This structure, which was completed in 1953, is a synthesis of antique and modern architectural themes, and proves the elegance and strength of Turkish architecture.
The oldest parts of the city surround the Castle. The Alaaddin Mosque found inside its walls is still one of the best examples of Selcuk art and wood craftsmanship, in spite of the fact that it was restored by the Ottomans. The area has experienced a rejuvenation with the restoration of many interesting old Turkish houses, and the opening a several art galleries and fine restaurants which feature examples of traditional Turkish cuisine. Near the gate of the castle is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which is a beautifully restored portion of the old bazaar. It contains priceless artifacts belonging to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras as well as the Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartu and Roman civilizations.
Ankara has a vibrant cultural and artistic life with many select ballet, theatre, opera and folk dance performances. The city's Philharmonic Orchestra, which always plays to a packed house, is especially famous.
The huge list of primary tourist attractions includes: Anitkabir, the Ataturk Museum, the Ataturk Memorial (Zafer Aniti-Sihhiye), the MTA Natural History Museum, the Security Memorial, the Ethnographic Ataturk Memorial, the Natural History Museum, the Archeology Museum of Middle East Technical University, the State Painting and Statue Exhibit, Memorial Park, the Botanical Garden, Abdi Ipekci Park, Guven Park, Kurtulus Park, Kugulu (Swan) Park, the National Sovereignty Park, Ahmet Arif Park and sport facilities such as the Municipal Ice Skating rinks and the Indoor Pool at 100 Yil. There is also a Toy Museum (Cebeci-Ankara University Education Faculty), the Hittite Memorial, Atakule and the Turkish National Parliament buildings.
Outside the city
This charming district is famous for its historical houses, silver craftsmen and for its carrots. Within the district are many places of interest, including the Bogazkesen tomb, Suluhan, the Old Baths, the Sultan Ala'addin Mosque, the Aksemseddin Mosque, the Kursunlu Mosque, the Rustem Pasa Baths, the tomb of Gazi Gunduzalp (Hirkatepe), Kara Davut's Tomb (Kuyumcutekke) and the tomb of Karaca Ahmet.
The Tekke Highlands
The historical Gazi Train Station and the Etimesgut Train Station, which was used by Ataturk on his travels to and from Istanbul, are both interesting sites. Ahi Mes'ud and Ahi Elvan, both great important people, named this district and Ahi Elvan's Tomb is found in the courtyard of the Elvankoy Mosque.
The villages in this area all have a fascinating historical background, with many sites worth seeing. For example: the tumuluses and artifacts found in the villages of Selametli, Gokcehoyuk and Bezirhane; the Roman burial sites and columns in the village of Taspinar; the Byzantine coins and artifacts found in Karaoglan; and the remains of churches belonging to the early Christian period in the villages of Yurtbeyi and Karaoglan.
Kazan It is not exactly known when Kazan, 45km from the city centre, was first established. Excavations have uncovered a number of historical artifacts demonstrating that the area has been used by number of different civilizations for settlement.
The village of Yassihoyuk and the surrounding area, which lies 20 km northwest of the present-day Polatli, can truly to considered a birthplace of history. There are 86 tumuluses and royal burial sites in the area, as well as numerous artifacts from the city.
148 km from Ankara, Sereflikochisar was first settled between 1400-1300 BC. In the Selcuk era there was a castle around the hill right next to the town, and a second castle on an even higher hill. The Salt Lake, which is the second largest lake in Turkey is also in this district. The Hirfanli Dam and lake found to the north provide irrigation for this arid region and there is fish farming as well. The Salt Lake, the Kursunlu Mosque, Kochisar Castle, and Parlasan Castle are all popular tourist destinations.
Turkish Airlines (THY) at Esenboga
Istanbul, Izmir, Balikesir, Isparta and Burcdur, Zonguldak, Adana, Elazig and Diyarbakir. As with all reservations in Turkey, the fast trains get booked up quickly, as do sleepers, so booking ahead is strongly recommended
Information: (+90 312) 311 0620/23
The mausoleum of the Republic's founder and leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Anitkabir was built on the hill of Rasattepe and has an impressive entrance. It was designed by architects Prof. Emin Onat and Doc. Orahn Arda, and completed in 1953. Ataturk was removed from the temporary burial site at the Ethnographic Museum and brought here with great ceremony the same year.
Within the Anitkabir complex are the Tower of Independence, the Tower of Liberty, The Road of Lions, Mudafaa-i Hukuk Tower, the Soldier's Tower, the Tower of Victory, the Tower of Peace, the April 23 Tower, the Misak-i Milli Tower, the Reform Tower and the Victory Reliefs. The hallowed Mausoleum hall itself is a colonnaded temple with huge bronze doors but little in the way of decoration. Opposite is the tomb of Ismet Inonu, the first prime minister of the Turkish republic and president after Ataturk's death.
The Anitkabir museum is located between the Tower of the National Pact and the Tower of the Revolution. A number of Ataturk's personal belongings are exhibited, including clothes that he wore, and gifts presented to him by visiting foreign dignitaries.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 310 53 61
Opening hours: Winter - 0900-1200 & 1300-1700. Summer - 0900-1230 & 1330-1700, closed Mondays.
Anatolian Civilisations Museum
Located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazari area, the Museum consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Pasa bazaar storage building, and the Kursunlu Han. Because of Ataturk's desire to establish a Hittite museum, the buildings were bought upon the suggestion of Hamit Zubeyir Kosay, who was then Culture Minister, to the National Education Minister, Saffet Arikan. After the remodelling and repairs were completed (1938 -1968), the building was opened to the public as the Ankara Archaeological Museum.
Today Kursunlu Han, used as an administrative building, houses the work rooms, library, conference hall, laboratory and workshop. The old bazaar building houses the exhibits. Within this Ottoman building, the museum has a number of exhibits of Anatolian archeology. They start with the Paleolithic era, and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian Trading Colonies, Hittite, Phrygian and Urartu periods. There is also an extensive collection of artifacts from the excavations at Karain, Catalhoyuk, Hacilar, Canhasan, Beyce Sultan, Alacahoyuk, Alacahoyuk, Kultepe, Acemhoyuk, Bogazkoy Gordion, Pazarli, Altintepe, Adilcevaz and Patnos as well as examples of several periods.
The exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble and bronze works date back as far as the second half of the first millennium BC. The coin collections, with examples ranging from the first minted money to modern times, represent the museum's rare cultural treasures.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 324 31 60 / 312 62 48.
Opening hours: 08.30 - 17.30, closed Mondays
This museum was founded in the Namazgah area of Ankara, on a hill with a Muslim graveyard, and was opened to the public on July 18, 1930. The courtyard was closed in November 1938 when it served as the temporary burial site for Ataturk, and reopened when his body was moved to Anitkabir. This section is still preserved as a tomb in symbolic respect of the memory of Atatürk, as the Museum served as his tomb for 15 years.
The Ethnographical Museum has examples of Turkish art from the Selcuk period until the present day. There is a library for specialists in Anatolian ethnography, folklore and art history located in the museum. The building is rectangular with a single dome, and the stone walls covered with travertine. The pediment is marble with ornate carvings, and a staircase of 28 steps lead to main entrance. There are three entrances to the building which has 4 columns. The column-lined inner court is reached by passing through a domed hall. A marble pool in the middle of the open courtyard is surrounded by a number of large and small rooms. The two-story administrative building is adjacent to the museum.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 311 95 56
Opening hours: 0830-1230 & 1330-1730, closed Mondays
State Museum of Painting and Sculpture
Built in 1927 as the Turk Ocagi by architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoglu from the orders of Ataturk, it has paintings and plastic art of Turkish artists. Temporary exhibits of both foreign and Turkish artists are sponsored.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 310 20 94
0900-1200 & 1330-1700, closed Mondays.
Museum of the Republic
Originally planned to house the People's Republic Party, it was actually the second building for the Turkish National Parliament, as its first was too small to meet the needs of the developing Turkish Republic.
The building's interior sections are arranged around the three sides of the two-story Parliament Hall, located in the centre of the building. Exhibited here are the Parliament Hall with its original furnishings, the rooms where Ataturk's principles and reforms were discussed. Photographs and various personal belongings reflect the era of the first three Prime Ministers: Ataturk, Ismet Inonu and Celal Bayar. In the meeting hall, there is a wax re-incarnation of section of the Great Speech delivered by Ataturk, between the 15-20 October 1927.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 310 71 40.
09.00-12.00 & 13.30-17.00, closed Mondays.
Museum of the War of Independence (1st Parliament Building)
The building situated in Ulus Square housed the first Turkish National Parliament, from April 23 1920 to October 15 1924. It was later the headquarters of the People's Republic Party, and then the Law School. In 1952 it was turned over to the Ministry of Education and on April 23 1961 it was opened to the public as the Museum of the Turkish National Parliament.
The building consists of the hall, the corridor, the Chambers of the Ruling Council, the Committee Room, the Break Room, the Administrative Rooms, the Parliamentary Meeting Hall, Office of Parliament Head, the storage for photographs and other items, and the basement which is used as an exhibition hall.
08.30 - 12.15, & 13.30 - 17.15, closed Mondays
The Atatürk Museum In The Atatürk Model Farm
The Railway Museum
Built in 1924, this historic stone-cut building consists of two floors, each 340 square metres. Exhibited here are items demonstrating the technological developments of the state railroad.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 310 35 00.
1330-1700, except Sundays and Mondays.
The Ankara Ataturk Cultural Centre & Museum of the Revolution of the Republic
Opening on December 27 1987, the walls of the ground floor are covered with reliefs depicting the War of Independence, the reforms, the Republic of Ataturk, and his ideas concerning art, youth and independence. One by one the different sections of the wall are lit up and the visitor is taken on a tour of the reliefs with a musical accompaniment. These demonstrations have been prepared in Turkish, English, German and French.
In the basement, the War of Independence, reforms and development of Turkey and the relevant institutions that played an important role, are documented through words, pictures and models. There is also a 25-minute multimedia presentation documenting the Turkish journey from Central Asia, to the founding of a republic after the War of Independence, and all of Atatürk's reforms which followed.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 342 10 10
0830-1730, closed Saturdays and Sundays
MTA Natural History Museum
In the museum are examples from the fields of paleontology and geography, including fossils, minerals and rocks. There is also the skeleton of the Maras Elephant, the giant Amonit that lived in the vicinity of Ankara 193 million years ago, and the fossilised footprints of humans who lived in Anatolia 25,000 years ago and were found in Manisa.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 287 34 30
Weekdays - 0900-1700. Weekends 1000-1500.
The museum, found on the campus of the Middle East Technical University (Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi), has exhibits featuring the slowly disappearing folk art, and finds from archeological excavations. There are artifacts recovered from the Phrygian tumulus in Besevler belonging to the Chalcolithic, Early Bronze and Phrygian periods.
Museum Tel : (+90 312) 210 1010
Opening hours: 0830-1700, except Saturday and Sunday.
The museum was established in 1963 beside the tiny village now known as Yassihoyuk. Today, the Gordion Museum offers a chronological exhibition with characteristic examples from each of the periods represented. There are three displays consisting of artifacts from the Early Bronze age, featuring King Midas and ending with the Phrygian Era. Among the exhibits are clay jars from the Late Iron Age, and cutting tools and instruments used in textile production belonging to the Late Phrygian Era.
In the Panoramic display, located in the new exhibition room, there is a typical structure dating back to the 7th century BC which was found in a strata belonging to the conquest of the city. The last section gives visitors a chance to see seals and coins recovered from Gordion.
The new excavations have been planted with trees that the Phrygians used to make their furniture: cedar, aromatic juniper, Turkish boxwood, yellow pine, walnut and yew. The newly arrived Mosaics and the Celtic Grave is another section. The Gordion Museum consists of the exhibition hall, the new exhibition hall, the Phrygian Mosaics, the Administrative offices, Toilets, Storage, the Laboratory, the Mosaics, the Celtic Grave and the living quarters.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 638 2188
Summer - 0830-1730 daily. Winter - 0830-1700, except Monday.
Alagoz Military Headquarters Museum
When the Turkish army was retreating to the Sakarya Line during the War of Independence, Commander-in-Chief Mustafa Kemal Ataturk set up his headquarters and directed the war from this farmhouse, decorated in typical Turkish taste.
The building, once used as a military headquarters, was donated by the sons of Mahmut and Serafettin Turkoglu, the sons of Turkoglu Ali, to be used as a museum and built by the National Education Ministry. The building and its garens were restored by the ministry and ceremonially opened to visitors on November 10 1968. Today it is a branch of Anitkabir Museum and some of Ataturk's garments and weapons are also displayed.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 641 65 13
Opening days to visit: Everyday except Saturday and Sunday.
State Meteorological Service's Museum
Used as War Department Staff Headquarters during the War of Independence, this historic building with its modern equipment serves over 1100 stations of varying size. The room in which Ataturk stayed and laid out strategy for the battles of the War of Independence have been turned into a museum called Ataturk's Room. The stove, table and curtains found in the room are all original. In addition, the Meteorology Museum with its old tools and devices used for predicting weather, is open to visitors.
Opening hours: 0900-1200 & 1400-1700.
The house in Kecioren which belonged to Vehbi Koc, was restored and opened in 1994 as the Research Centre. The archives contain a wide selection of books, documents, photographs and films regarding Vehbi Koc and Ankara. It is open to researchers and the public.
Opening hours: 0900-1730, except Tuesdays.
The Toy Museum The Toy Museum is part of the Education Science Faculty of Ankara University Museum.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 363 33 50
Cankaya Köşk Museum
Museum of the State Cemetery
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 221 0627
Opening hours: Summer - 09.30-17.00. Winter: 0930-1630. Weekends 10.00-17.00, except Mondays and Tuesdays.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 311 95 56 / 311 30 07
Opening hours: 0830-1230 & 1330-1730, except Mondays
The Museum of Professional Education Faculty of Gazi University
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 212 6 60/45
0830-1200 & 1300-1730, except Saturdays and Sundays.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 244 85 50 / 4059 / 4114
Opening hours: 0900-1630, except Mondays and Tuesdays
Mehmet Akif Ersoy House
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 305 21 23
0830-1200 & 1330-1730, except Saturdays and Sundays
Ataturk's Residence during the National Struggle
Tel: (+90 312) 309 05 15 / 40 84
Opening hours: 0900-1200 & 1300-1700, except Sundays and Mondays.
Mapping Museum of Ministry of National Defence
General Command of Mapping
The Postal Service Stamp Museum
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 316 62 63
Opening hours: 0830-1230 & 1330-1730, except Saturdays and Sundays.
The National Education Administration's Museum for the 75th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 310 37 50 / 4348
Opening hours: 0830-1230 & 1330-1730, except Saturdays and Sundays.
Sefik Bursali Historic House
Museum Tel: (+90 312) 441 2390
Opening hours: 0900-1200 & 1300-1700, except Monday.
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