Although it is considered
a new city, Ankara has very old origins. Located
in an arid steppe region, in the heart of
the Anatolian plateau, Ankara went through
centuries of conquests. The Hattis
and the Hittites
settled in the region. Then in the 8C BC ,
the Phrygians built
a city which was conquested by the Persians
and later by Alexander the Great in 334 BC.
The Galatians, who were part of the
great Celtic migration which invaded Macedonia
and Greece, crossed over from Thrace to Asia
Minor in 278-277 BC. They settled in this
part of Central Anatolia which they called
Galatia. These seafaring people gave the city
the name "Ankyra" which means
"anchor", making it their capital
and they built a citadel.
In 25 BC, Galatia was incorporated by Augustus
in the Roman Empire.
The Romans adorned the city with monuments.
Probably very soon after his second visit
to Galatia, St
Paul, inspired by the local population
who was strong worshipers of pagan idols,
wrote the famous "Epistle to the Galatians".
In the 4C Ankyra became Byzantine,
but between the end of the 6C and the beginning
of the 9C, the prosperity of the city declined
after the raids of the Persian Sassanids and
the Arabs who destroyed it. In 1071, after
the Battle of Manzikert, the city was
taken from the Byzantines by the Seljuks
who were conquesting Anatolia. This is when
the name Ankyra was transformed into "Engüriye"
After 1243, Angora, fallen to the Mongols,
came under the sovereignty of the Ilkanids
until 1304. The Ahi
Dervishes of Kırşehir,
with the help of the Germiyanoğulları
the city which was finally included in the
Ottoman territories in 1354 by Süleyman Pasha,
the son of Orhan Gazi.
In 1402, as a result of the battle which took
place in the plain west of the city between
Yildirim Beyazit and
Tamerlane, Angora was briefly in the hands
of the Mongols. In 1414, however, it came
back under the rule of the Ottomans.
The city, which was an old caravan centre
on the road to Persia, declined little by
little until 1920 when Mustafa Kemal, later
known as Atatürk
(the father of the Turks), chose Ankara as
centre of national resistance to the slicing
up of the territory. For strategic, political
and sentimental reasons, Mustafa Kemal had
the capital transfered from Istanbul
to Ankara on October 13, 1923. Triumphing
over numerous difficulties, Ankara became
the new Turkish
Republic's symbol of will for recovery
and showed a rapid social, economical, political,
military and cultural development. In 1930,
old Angora was officially given the name Ankara.
dedicated April23 to the children
of the country. Since then, every year, the
Turkish children celebrate "National
Sovereignty and Children's Day".
On this day, festivities and ceremonies are
held all over Turkey, but especially in Ankara
at the 19th May Stadium. The children also
replace the parliamentarians in the Grand
National Assembly and hold a special session.
UNICEF has recognized this important
day as the International Children's Day.
Children from different countries are housed
in Turkish homes and during the festivities
they represent their countries by singing
songs and performing dances.
the capital city Ankara is a spacious city
with lots of green areas. Its numerous universities,
research institute, academies, cultural centres,
theatres etc, make it a place turned towards
the future. Ankara is not only a city of bureaucrats,
civil servants and students, but also an important
industrial, commercial and tourism center.
Ankara Film Festival takes place every year
in March, the International Children's Day
on April 23rd, the International Asia-Europe
Biennal in May- June, and the Ankara International
Art Festival in April-May.
Ankara, a modern city. A panoramic view of Ankara can be seen from Atakule, a tower 125 meters high, which has a revolving restaurant, a cafe and an observation terrace. (on the right in the background)
The old quarter of Ankara citadel
The Old Turkish House Museum is one of the many typical Ottoman houses
which can be found in the maze of streets surrounding and within the citadel
Places of interestin
the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,
the leader of the Turkish War
of Independence and founder of the Turkish
Republic. The construction of the mausoleum
was started in 1944, six years after Atatürk's
death. It was completed in nine years time.
His mortal remains were transfered there on
November 10, 1953 from the temporary burial
site at the Ethnographic Museum.
The triumphal alley, decorated with neo-Hittite
style lions made of granite, opens on the
esplanade and the Mausoleum which is a neo-classical
temple with a 33 step stairway. The inside
is decorated with colorful marble slabs and
the ceiling is covered with golden mosaics.
The symbolic sarcophagus is a 40 tons monolith
marble (the actual grave is downstairs).
The sarcophagus of Ismet
Inönü, a major figure in the Republic's
history as he was twice elected Prime Minister
during Atatürks presidency and became second
President of the Republic, stands at the other
end of the huge courtyard, facing the Mausoleum.
Inönü, who was also a close friend of Atatürk,
died on December 25, 1973. The Atatürk and War of Independence Museum
is situated beneath the Hall of Honor in the
Mausoleum. Here are exhibited Atatürk's personal
belongings and gifts made by foreign statesmen,
panoramas with a three dimensional effect
and large paintings depicting the Gallipoli
Campain and the War
Explanations and numerous documents give us
information about the reforms, the development
of Turkey and the institutions that played
an important role under Atatürk.
In accordance with Atatürk's famous words
saying Peace at home, peace in the world,
the park inside which the Anıtkabir has been
erected has been named the Peace Park (Barış
Parkı). Over a hundred species of trees and
plants from all over the world and from several
regions of Turkey embellish the park.
There are two groups of statues at the beginning of the triumphal alley:on the right stands the group of women; one is carrying a wreath symbol of a productive country. Another one is imploring Gods mercy, and the one in the middle is crying. The group of men depicts the Turkish soldier, the intellectual
Turkish youth and the Turkish farmer.
The lions are in the Hittite style, because of Atatürks
attention to Turk and Anatolian history
The esplanade is decorated with 373 carpet and kilim patterns,
using black, red and white colored travertine stones
Changing of the guards
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
(Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi)
displays rich and unique collections
including prehistoric, Hatti, Hittite,
Assyrian, Phrygian, Urartian, Persian
and later period collections. In 1968,
the museum was installed inside two
15th century restored Ottoman buildings,
the Mahmut Paşa Bedesteni (covered bazaar)
and Kurşunlu Han.
museum is located at the foot of the
citadel in the old town and can
be reached from Ulus Square, one of
the busiest area in the city which is
easily identifiable by the equestrian
statue of Atatürk.
(closed on Mondays)
Alacahöyük 2nd half of 3rd millennium
Kültepe 19C BC
Kargamış 2nd half of 8C BC
The Ankara Citadel (Hisar) was
probably built by the Romans over the foundations
of the Galatian citadel. It was repaired and
strenghtened by the Byzantines, enlarged by
the Selcuks and finally restored by the Ottomans.
The citadel is composed of the
outer remparts andthe
remparts. The outer wall, which encloses the
old city of Ankara, is approximately 1,500
m/ 0,93 miles long with 12 square towers and
two semicylindrical towers (originally 14
and 3) which protected the main gates. The
inner castle is made partly re-used building
Within the maze of narrow streets and at the
foot of the citadel there are many Ottoman-style
houses dating as far back as the 17th century.
One of them has become
the Old Turkish House Museum. Other houses
have been transformed into charm hotels, restaurants
and cafés with panoramic views over the city.
Within the walls of the citadel is
Alaaddin Camii. An inscription on its
carved mimber reveals that the mosque was
built in 1178 by the Seljuk ruler, Mesut.
Arslanhane Camii was
constructed in 1290 during the Ahi Dervishes
period near the citadel. It is
a beautiful example of late Seljuk
art with a double line of wooden columns topped
with Roman or Byzantine capitals, a walnut
carved mimber (pulpit) and a beautiful tiled
(prayer niche) indicating the direction of
Next to the mosque is the türbe
(tomb) of Ahi
Şerafettin, the founder of the mosque. The
which means the "Lion house" because
an antique architectural fragment
depicting a lion
incorporated into the wall of the tomb.
Ahi Elvan Camii is located in the Ulus
quarter near the citadel. This mosque was
built between the late 14th and early 15th
centuries and contains capitals from the Roman
or Byzantine period. The finely carved mimber
is of particular interest.
Camii, the largest Ottoman mosque in Ankara,
is located on Ulucanlar avenue. The mosque
and türbe were built in
the school of the famous architect Sinan
Ahmet Pasha, the governor of Ankara.
It is a good example of a single domed mosque
of Ottoman architecture.
Mosque, the largest mosque in Ankara,
has a capacity of 20,000 people. Its was constructed
the Ottoman architectural style with
Çengel Han Koç Museum: this caravansarai,
built in 1522 under the reign of Sultan Selim
I, played a primordial role in the city's
cultural and commecial life until the late
19th century. During the first half of the
20th century, the han still had shops that
sold a vast range of goods, but it progressively
fell into disuse and ended up as a tannery,
warehouse and store until it was abandoned
in the 1990s. Beautifully restored by the
Koç family, the Çengel Han has been reopened
as a museum. It is located opposite the main
gate of the citadel.
The Ethnographical Museum, located
on Talat Paşa Boulevard in Ulus, was opened
to the public in 1930. The courtyard was closed
in November 1938 when it served as the temporary
burial site for Atatürk, and reopened when
his ashes were transferred to the Anıtkabir
on november 1953. This section is still preserved
as a tomb in symbolic respect of the memory
The museum displays examples of Turkish art
from the Seljuk period until the present day
and also houses a library.
(closed on Mondays)
The State Museum of Painting and Sculpture
was built in 1927 upon the directive of Atatürk.
displays works of Turkish artists. Temporary
exhibits of both foreign and Turkish artists
are sponsored. The museum is located close
to the Ethnography Museum.
(closed on Mondays)
The Republic Museum: this building,
close to Ulus Square, was originally planned
to house the People's Republic Party. It became
the building of the National Assembly, replacing
the first one which was too small to meet
the needs of the developing Turkish Republic.
The Museum of the War of Independence
building, situated in Ulus Square, was the
first home to the National Assembly from April
23 1920 to October 15 1924, when it was moved
to the now Republic Museum. 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
(closed on Mondays)
Ankara Atatürk Cultural Centre and Museum
of the Revolution and the Republic:
the walls of the ground floor are covered
with reliefs depicting the War of Independence,
the reforms, the Republic under Atatürk and
his ideas concerning art, youth and independence.
Explanations have been prepared in Turkish,
English, German and French. In the basement,
the War of Independence, reforms and development
of Turkey and the institutions that played
an important role are illustrated through
words, pictures and models. There is also
a 25-minute multimedia presentation documenting
the Turkish journey from Central Asia to the
founding of the republic and all of Atatürk's
(closed on Saturdays and Sundays)
Natural History Museum displays examples
from the fields of paleontology and geography,
including fossils, minerals and rocks. There
is also the skeleton of the Maraş Elephant,
the giant Ammonite that lived in the region
193 million years ago, and the fossilized
footprints of humans who lived in Anatolia
25,000 years ago and were found in Manisa.
The Railway Museum is part of the main
Roman remains can be seen close to Ulus
Square, behind the government buildings:
In a small park at Hükümet Square stands the
ColumnofJulian the Apostate.
The column bears no inscriptions, however
it is thought to have been erected in 362
to commemorate the visit of the Emperor Julian
in Ankyra. Julian, the nephew of Constantine
the Great, was raised a Christian but
converted to mystical paganism and, in 361
,proclaimed freedom of worship for pagans
and Christians; he nevertheless promoted paganism
over Christianity. The column, which is 14,50
m/ 47.5 ft high, is known locally as the Belkis
Minaret or Minaret of the Queen of Sheba.
Adjacent to Haci Bayram Mosque stand the ruins
of theTemple of Augustus. The
temple was probably built between 25 and 20
BC after the annexation of Galatia to the
Roman Empire by Augustus, on the site of a
former sanctuary dedicated to the Phrygian
Mother-Goddess Cybele and to the Phrygian
Moon God Men. The temple seems to have served
as a model for the Temple of Aizanoi.
The naos, with Corinthian columns (4 in front
and 2 in the back), measured 12,8 x 28,21
m/ 42 x 92.55 ft and stood on a 36 x 54,82
m/ 118 x 180 ft podium. About 150 AD, the
temple was surrounded by a pseudodipteralIonic peristyle
with 15 columns along the length and 6 columns
along the width. During
Byzantine times, the temple was converted
into a church and three windows and a crypt
was built in honor of
Haci Bayram Veli at the northwest side
of the edifice. His türbe (tomb) stands next
to the mosque.
A latin copy mentioning Emperor Augustus'
last will and testament, the instructions
for his funerals, a statement of the military
and financial situation of the Empire and
an exhaustive list of his acts was engraved
on the walls of the temple (the original text
is at Augustus Mausoleum in Rome). Only the
list of the acts of Augustus or "Index
rerum gestarum" has been preserved and
can be seen on the inner walls of the pronaos,
while the Greek version is engraved on the
southwest outer wall of the naos. Another
copy in latin, now in the
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations,
has been found in Antioch
of Pisidia (Yalvaç), and a Greek copy
in Apollonia of Phrigya (Uluborlu).
The Roman BathComplex, whose entrance is on
Çankırı Avenue, was
built by the Roman Emperor Caracalla
(211-217), the son of Septimius Severus
and was connected to the
sacred precinct of the Temple of Augustus
by a colonnaded way. The complex spread
on a large area of 80m x 130 m / 262.5
ft x 426.5 ft. and was composed of a
(a place for physical training and wrestling)
surrounded by a portico with 32 columns
on each side. It was linked on its western
side to a pool. The bath consisted of
four separate rooms, the frigidarium
(cool room) behind the palestra and
directly connected to the apodyterium
(changing room) on the left. The large
Tepidarium (warm room) and the Calidarium
(or sudatorium, the hot room) were both
raised on pillars made of round bricks
for the hot air circulation.
Tepidarium and caldarium
The Turkish Angora Cat (Ankara
kedisi) is one of the oldest and longhaired
pure breeds. It has blue and amber color almond
Goat, according to a first theory,
is believed to originate from Central Asia,
from where it would have been brought by the
Oğuz Turks. Another theory, supported by scientists,
is that this goat originates from the very
region of Ankara. Anyhow the climate of the
Anatolian plateaus is essential for growing
their beautiful fleece (mohair).