Welcome to Ankara, Turkey`s cosmopolitan capital which sits proudly in the country`s central Anatolia region. Not only it is a center of performing arts, but it is also a home to the Ballet and State Opera, the President Symphony Orchestra and several other national theatre companies.
‘The heart of Turkey’, may not have opulent Ottoman palaces or regal facades but the city hums to a vivacious and youthful beat, unmarred by the tug of history. Perfect for those who are looking for spend a memorable time for a short or longer duration, the capital city with more than 4 million of population can feel engulfing.
So start your trek at the Archaeological site of Roman Baths of Ankara, which are the ruined remains of an ancient Roman Bath complex in Ankara. Dating back to 3rd century, the layout of the Roman Baths ruins is still clearly visible. The area of the baths is now an open air museum where the ruins of temples and other Roman buildings are showcased. The museum allows the visitors to take a stroll among the ruins of an old wrestling court, check out a sarcophagus and take bath themselves. According to archaeologists, the area was in use for 500 years.
After exploring the relaxing chamber of Roman men, explore the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Get a perfect introduction of Museum of Anatolian Civilizations that will provide you an insight into Turkey`s ancient past. Showcasing the beautifully curated artefacts picked from every significant site, they are arranged in a chronological order starting with the Paleolithic and Neolithic displays to the right of the entrance, then continue in an anticlockwise direction. The museum is considered to be one of the top Museums today due to its rare and original collection.
Visit Ankara Castle that will transport you back to the Roman, Seljuk, and Ottoman Empires. Although the date of its initial construction is unknown, some believe the Hittites built the Ankara castle. The castle overlooking the city provides a 360 degree views from the peak.
The city is filled with amazing museums and historical monuments, but that is not all. Ankara offers spectacular shopping complexes, food and bunch of other exciting attraction that lure people from all over the world.
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Ankara city is located partly in the region of Mediterranean Sea, Black Tea and Central Anatolia and is full of historical landmarks, Turkish traditions, Ottoman architecture and culture. Some of the best landmarks of Ankara are:
Kocatepe Mosque- A magnificent structure curated with intrinsic details is a marvelous cultural wonder which is located in Ankara. The construction of the Kocatepe Mosque began in 1967 and was completed in 1987. Famous for its beautiful minarets that are 88 meters high, it is one of the largest mosques in the Ankara. The minarets of the mosque are visible from any corner of the city, when the weather is clear.
Ethnography Museum of Ankara -The museum is dedicated to the cultures and traditions of ancient Turkish civilizations. Built on a Namazgah hill between the years of 1925 to 1928, the museum exhibits artifacts belonging to the ancient civilizations and some belongings to the Ataturk Mustafa Kamal. These artifacts include Turkish cultural glass, handwoven clothes, and tiles, prehistoric manuscripts, ancient stone and wooden art pieces and weapons used by the ancient Turkish civilizations.
Hamamonu Restored Area-One of the earliest settled areas of Altindag in the capital city of Turkey, Hamamonu Restored Area is a home to many influential businessmen, political people and bureaucrats. Take a stroll along its beautiful path which represents the beauty of ancient buildings and vibrant Turkish culture.
Yeni Mosque- Designed by one of the most famous architects in Ankara, Yeni Mosque was constructed in the 16th century by Sinan. The construction has an incredible design on the inside, with a white marble covering the platform and the prayer place whilst the outside is made of traditional Ankara stone. The edifice represents the largest Ottoman mosque in the city.
Ankara is not only about grim museums and magnificent Mosques, but also a home to some of the most fashionable shopping streets and hangout zones. Striking a perfect cord taking the ancient relics with few modern artefacts, you can shop, drink, sample world-class cuisines and can experience the classy nightlife on tap.
Stop at the outdoor flower market for a fresh bouquet to brighten up your day. Since you’re in Turkey, you probably want to go to a bazaar like Cikrikcilar Yokusu and buy some traditional Turkish souvenir for your loved onesback home.
Check out the newest trends in the Cankaya district by walking across the cobblestone streets of the Old Quarter to explore the upcoming trends. Experience fine dining with lip-smacking cuisines and variety of dishes such as Shawarma: shaved street meat; Meze: a salad smorgasbord; Pide: pizza bread boats; and Turkish coffee: the strongest brew you’ll ever sip.
Go get some street food at the joints located near Ankara Castle and keep your tummy occupied with a Gozleme—a dish which is made of hand-rolled dough leaves and filled with a variety of tasty toppings. Right about the time you’re done with your Gozleme, you should be digging into a huge chunk of baklava.
From elite pubs to student stomping grounds and chill bar scenes, Ankara has classy nightlife on tap. For some of the best hangout points in the city, get to Kizilay when the night turns dark. With patio bars living the streets and local eats to fuel many hours in the neighborhood dance clubs, you’ll have a good time till sunrise.
Living up to its capital status, Ankara has plenty of drool worthy dishes to die for. The amazing platter needs to be devoured with utmost enthusiasm and joy when you are in town. The Ankara food culture is a fusion of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. The Turkish food is quiet diverse and offers something for every palate.
Breakfast- A traditional Turkish breakfast usually includes feta cheese), black olives, tomato, honey or jam, bread, salami, sausage, bacon and hard-boiled eggs, as well as strong black tea in small glasses.
Lunch- A perfect palate for lunch in Ankara includes Lamb Döner Kebab with a pint of chilled Beer. Turkish flatbread is thick and fluffy, not like the typical “pita bread” that Canadians associate with Greek Gyros or Donairs. Most dine-in meals are served with a salad, typically with corn, tomatoes, radishes and pickles.
There are some of the hottest spots to dine-in. Restaurants like Yelken Balık serves authentic Mediterranean and Aegean cuisine. They offer an impressive selection of fish, which are perfectly marinated and fresh. JW Steakhouse is an American steakhouse, which is perfect for luxury dining. City`s another favorite Triyle is a go-to-spot for seafood is quite a fine dining affair with tastefully interiors and large windows. It`s Mediterranean and Aegean menu includes unique dishes such as fresh oysters on ice, İskenderun jumbo shrimp grilled with herbs and spices, stuffed calamari, and fish köfte.
After Turkish language, Kurdish is the second most spoken language in Ankara, Turkey. Spoken by approximately 15 million of total population, the language is most spoken in eastern provinces. However the young generation can speak and understand English language. You may also find restaurant’s menu and signage in English language.
The currency in Ankara is the Turkish Lira from 100TL notes to 10 kuru coins, but apart from Scottish notes Euros, Sterling and Dollars are accepted in all the major places. Turkish coins cover everything up to 1 TL, with notes starting from 5 TL. Major credit and debit cards are also widely accepted. You can also avoid individual transactional fees by withdrawing cash from an ATM.
Visitors seeking entry to Turkey need to apply for an E-visa which allows staying in the country for three months. Generally there are two types of tourist visas –a single entry and a multiple entry visa which allow single entry and multiple entries to the country. Earlier you could purchase a visa upon your arrival at the Istanbul airport counter by providing all the required documents, but since 2014, visitors need obtain their visa electronically after entering required information and making payment by credit card. After successful application, e-Visa is e-mailed to the applicant. Citizens of countries who hold EU passport can enter the country with national ID in accordance with ‘European Agreement on Regulations governing the Movement of Persons between Member States of the Council of Europe’.
Ankara has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with strong humid continental climate. Due to its inland and elevation location, the city has freezing, cold, snowy winters. Summers are dry and humid. The temperature dips during the night. Ankara receives rainfall mainly in the month of spring and autumn.
Esenboga International Airport is the closest major airport to Ankara, Turkey. Affiliated with modern amenities, it is one of the largest airports of the Europe which is located at 31 km from the center of Ankara, Turkey.
Ranked 4th in terms of total passenger traffic, Ankara Esenboğa Airport has been operating since 1955. The airport is connected with the city center –Kizilay and Ankara Intercity Bus Terminal. The airport is served by both domestic and international carriers. This makes it a perfect option if you want to plan a tour that takes in both destinations, rather than a simple trip to one city and straight back home again.
The connectivity of the airport with city center –Kizilay and Ankara Intercity Bus Terminal makes it easily accessible. You can take bus number 442 which is operated by EGO and runs frequently from 6 am to 11 pm. Transportation to the city or from the city to the airport can also be done by Taxi and through the Havas Bus line.
Other Transport Options
Turkish State Railways runs all trains in the city. It connects all cities with high speed trains and takes over 3 hours from Istanbul to reach the city. Kızılay Square and Ulus are the main train stations connecting all major cities in the country.
Ankara`s public transport is well developed and offers maximum connectivity with inter cities and popular places to visit. Ranging from buses, taxis to dolmus and the subway, everything is operated by EGO (apart from taxis). The public transport services are reliable, frequent and functional. Along with a free cable car connecting Sentepe with Yenimahalle, the subway in particular is a highly preferable alternative which helps to jump the city traffic by car.
Although buses offer the maximum connectivity, the local buses are economical and frequent, but can be little crowded and sluggish at rush hour. The buses in blue and red color are run by the municipality. Regular commuters can board a bus by using a prepaid book of electronic tickets at this service. The privately run buses are run by Halk Otobusu and are mostly in blue or green color. You can board a bus without any card, as it offers cash-service only.
Dolmus (Mini Buses)
Turkey`s Dolmus is another inexpensive way of travelling. A dolmus is like a shared mini-bus which follows specific routes in Ankara. Fares are pre-decided by the authorities on the basis of the distance travelled to your destination.
The cabs are in distinctive black and bright-yellow color in Ankara with a letter T in their license plates. The fares are determined according to a set tariff and distance travelled per km.
If you have the patience to brave the congestion, impatient commuters, one-way streets and sparse parking, then take a rented car. But if you don’t have the nerves to brave it, making effective use of public transportation is recommended.
Ankara has a lengthy association with cycling. There are plenty of popular routes in and around the city. However the traffic in central Ankara is fast and furious which demands lot of patience from cyclists.