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Ankara city
Written by Shruthi S on January 31, 2022 Share on

Ankara: Turkey’s hidden gem

Turkey, a country that embodies history, art, culture combined with its stunning natural scenery has become a favourite for travellers across the globe. Every year tourists flock to this destination to experience the unique attractions where quaint meets contemporary. While Cappadocia and Istanbul are crowning jewels, Turkey’s own capital Ankara is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Valleys and hills decorate the city in every direction. It has delectable food, famous shopping malls, and a thriving social scene. While modernized, Ankara has managed to stay true to its roots and is still filled with tradition and history in every nook and corner. If you want to experience Roman history, Turkish prayers, antique shopping while learning about art and culture in museums, then Ankara will be perfect for your wanderlust! Read to find out more about Ankara and its beautiful way of life.

 

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Ankara city view
Image credits: Pixabay

Also read: Top 10 Things To Do In Istanbul For A Fun-Filled Turkey Holiday

History

A major part of modern-day Turkey was part of a region known as Anatolia. After the defeat of the Ottoman empire in World War I, Anatolia was occupied by the Allies. The Turks were then given some land to occupy in central Anatolia. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement and he established the headquarters of the resistance in Angora. Once the Turkish War of Independence was won, Angora became the new Turkish capital city in 1923. The Republican officials then changed the name of the city to Ankara.

After Ankara became the capital city, new developments were made. The city was divided into 2 sections: an old section called Ulus and a new section, called Yenisehir. The old section now has ancient buildings which reflect Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman history with narrow winding streets. The new sections reflect the modernization of Ankara with wide streets, hotels, theatres, shopping malls, and high-rises. It is located on Kizilay Square.

Ankara mosque
Image credits: Unsplash

Also read: 8 Best Places To Visit In Turkey in 2021 for a Fun Turkey Trip

Sightseeing in Ankara

A full day with an overnight stay is the ideal amount of time to enjoy everything that Ankara has to offer. Some of the major sites that you must see in Ankara are:

  • Museum of Anatolian civilization: This museum is popular for the beautiful art and artifacts that it houses from the Hittite era (2600 to 1300 BCE). The attraction includes Palaeolithic and Neolithic finds from Catalhoyuk, the Assyrian traders of Kultepe and pre-Hittite Alacahoyuk. Then art then progresses to work from the Phrygians and, finally, the Roman era. 
  • Anitkabir: Also known as the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum it is located in the Maltepe district of the city. It is a monumental tomb for the founder of the Turkish Republic Kemal Ataturk. Adjoining the tomb is a small museum of his life with his personal items. This is open to the public as well.
  • Hisar: Hisar or the Citadel is a hilltop fortress and one of the oldest parts of Ankara. It has massive walls and passages to explore. From the top of the citadel is a gorgeous view of the Turkish village.
  • Haci Bayram Mosque & Tomb: Haci Bayram Veli (1352-1430), a Sufi teacher, was born near Ankara. His memory is revered in Ankara, and his tomb and mosque are built on the site of the Bayrami tekke(Sufi lodge). This is a place of pilgrimage.
  • Temple of Augustus: This temple was built by the Phrygians in 25BC. It has inscriptions on its walls which are the official records of the Acts of Augustus. This record is viewed as a unique source of knowledge about Augustus and his time even today.
Ankara Bestepe
Image credits: Unsplash

Nightlife and Shopping

Samanpazari is a famous neighbourhood in Ankara known for its antique shops. In fact, the antique shopping scene here is better than it is in Istanbul. From the fortress entrance, walk in the direction opposite the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations along Atpazari Sokak downhill and you’ll find many antique shops. Ankara’s trendiest area, Kizilay, is Ankara’s trendiest and most vibrant area. It is also one of the most famous shopping areas in Ankara. One can experience the city’s thriving and lively nightlife here as well.

Also read: 10 Best Souvenirs To Buy In Turkey For Your Loved Ones!

Travelling to/in Ankara

  • Bus: Asti is Ankara’s main bus terminal. It is a humongous building southwest of the city centre. Services here include ticket offices, snack stands, restaurants, pastry shops, bookstalls, telephone stations, bank ATMs, toilets, showers, and two luggage check counters. It also has its own underground train station which connects the terminal to the station. There is also an airport bus to and from Esenboga airport.
  • Train: Metro and Ankaray lines are the two underground train units operating in Ankara. Ankara gar is the main train station that has trains to Izmir, Istanbul, Konya, and also all the way to Eastern Turkey. It is located a kilometre southwest of Ulus Square. Suburban commuter trains start early in the morning followed by the arrival of overnight trains and then the departure of the day trains. Services included ticket sales windows, snack stands, newsstands, ATM machines and luggage lockers.
  • Air: Esenboga airport is the International Airport servicing Ankara. It is 33 km northeast of the city centre. Turkish Airlines is the best flight option from India to Turkey. Airlines for cities around 300 km from Ankara include Turkish Airlines, Anadolu Jet, Atlas Global and Onur Air
Turkey transportation tram
Image credits: Unsplash

Hotels in Ankara

Ankara has multiple hotels to choose from. Where you stay depends on what you plan to do in the city and what kind of hotels you prefer. The following three areas are where most of the hotels are distributed:

  • Ulus square: It is at the base of the citadel. The hotels here are cheaper and less fancy than those in the upscale southern districts. The hotels are within walkable distance of almost all the popular tourist sites in Ankara. This area is also quite close to the train station Ankara gar.
  • Kavaklidere: This area is located down the hill from Cankaya. The hotels in this area provide fine comfort and good value for money. The area is more upscale and sophisticated. It also has many pastry shops.
  • Cankaya: The biggest international hotels like Hilton and Sheraton are in this area. This is an upscale district that houses Pembe kosk, Turkey’s presidential mansion. Many diplomatic residences and embassies are in this area.

Also read: Best Foods To Try In Turkey

Ankara Cankaya
Image credits: Unsplash

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There is so much to Turkey’s capital, Ankara than meets the eye. Words would not suffice to describe its culture, history, traditions and quaint charm. One has to experience it to truly feel the spirit of the place. Writing about Ankara has surely added to our wanderlust, we can only imagine how dreamy it must be reading about it! Want to plan your trip to Ankara today? We’ve got your back. Check out these Turkey tour packages only at Pickyourtrail!

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