The city of Ankara is included to the region Ankara
Presentation of the destination
This busy modern city is the administrative centre of the country, and is packed with civil servants, university students, diplomats and expats. Particularly special to many Turks as the birthplace of secular Turkey, this city of over 4 million has a long history, with Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic and Roman archaeological sites scattered throughout, and despite its situation in one of the driest parts of Turkey, it boasts a large amount of green space. The city, sometimes also know as Angora, is famous for its beautiful Angora cats, as well as Angora rabbits and their special soft wool. It has a dry summer continental climate, with snow in the winters and hot summers. The currency is the Turkish lira and Turkey is situated in the Eastern European time zone, UTC +2.
Points of interests / things to see
Once at the very heart of Ankara, Ulus or ‘nation’ quarter is still at the centre of the modern capital city, where you'll find many of Ankara's most important historical sites, as well as plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and other amenities. Visit the parliament building in Ulus Square, where the very first Turkish Grand National Assembly met in 1923, and then turn around to look at the Ankara Palas, the city's oldest hotel, where Ataturk himself once stayed. Head east to climb the citadel and visit Ankara Castle, a fortification with an ancient history that has passed through Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Crusader hands. The area has many Roman monuments, including the Temple of Augustus, famous for its inscription of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti (‘The Deeds of the Divine Augustus'), an important funerary inscription that gives an insight into ancient Roman times. There’s also the Column of Julian, a towering circular Corinthian column rising 15 metres above Hükümet Square.
Nestled into the south side of Ankara Castle, this incredible museum is housed in two historic buildings, the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar warehouse, and the Kurşunlu Han, a beautiful caravanserai surrounding a central courtyard. These two stunning buildings were renovated between 1938 and 1968, upon the suggestion of Ataturk, who wanted to establish a museum celebrating Hittite history and culture. Now the museum houses huge amounts of archaeological remains, dating back as far as the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods, with finds from a range of other periods including ancient Assyrian, Hittite, Phrygian and Uratian cultures as well as more modern Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman times. The collections are so impressive that the museum was named as the very first European Museum of the Year in 1997. From stone tools to clay figurines, goddess sculptures to grave goods, jewellery to statues, there is a wealth of history to discover here. Address: Gözcü Sokak No:2 06240 Ulus. Telephone: +90 (312) 324 31 60-61-65. Opening hours: 8.30 am to 7 pm.
The Anıtkabir or 'ceremonial tomb’ is the final resting place of the man known as the father of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. This statesman and famous Turkish leader is best known as the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and as the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, and he is celebrated widely throughout the country. At the Anıtkabir there are a variety of towers and symbolic statues, and the tomb is also the resting place of the second president of Turkey, İsmet İnönü. Perhaps most important to the Turkish people though, the museum is packed with artefacts from the life of the great man himself, from medals and personal effects to letters and photographs. Wander down the shady arcades, admiring the vaulted ceilings, monumental columns and beautiful bas relief carving made in fine white marble. Visit the tomb of Ataturk in the Hall of Honour, walk down the Road of Lions, flanked by 12 of the colossal beasts, or explore the lovely Peace Park that surrounds the structure, where beautiful trees, flowers and shrubs may be found.
Hacı Bayram Camii, situated in the heart of the old city, is a very special site for many Muslim Turks. The mosque was built to honour the man who founded the Bayramiye dervish order in 1400, Hacı Bayram, whose contribution to modern Sufism is still felt today through his poems and hymns. Ankara is still the centre of this order, and the mosque was constructed in the 15th century, and later embellished with artwork, beautiful tiling and other additions. With a towering minaret, beautiful Arabic calligraphy, glittering chandeliers and intricate symbolic decorations, the mosque is as beautiful as it is famous. Keep your eyes open for the lovely botanical motifs used throughout the building, with carefully rendered flowers, buds and branches carved into the grand ornamental wood ceiling. Outside, the square is packed with interesting tourist shops where you can even pick up replicas of the toothbrushes used in Ataturk's day. The mosque makes an ideal partner for a visit to the Temple of Augustus, as it's situated right next door.
Cer Modern is the place to go for anyone who loves vibrant, colourful modern art. It's the city's leading modern art gallery, offering an inclusive experience for all in the fields of arts, culture and education. The museum is situated in an old warehouse once used to repair trains, and now has 11,500 m² of galleries featuring visiting exhibitions, photography and painting, installations and other happenings. There's a shop, cafe and stylish lounge area and a sculpture park outside, and the building also houses resident artists’ studios, putting it at the centre of Ankara's contemporary creativity and making it a great destination for anyone interested in seeing the artists at work. It's a light, airy space with a calm, cool atmosphere, making it an ideal place to escape Turkey's legendary heat. Exhibitions focus on local Turkish art, but also include wonderful offerings from other countries, such as a Korean photography exhibition and American pop art. Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am to 6pm (exhibition halls), Tuesday – Sunday 10am to 6pm (shop and café).
Ankara is the most popular starting place for those looking to visit the incredible archaeological site of Hattusas, capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. This inspirational site has been listed by UNESCO, and is an incredible example of early urban organisation. The Hittites were one of the greatest civilisations of their age, and this remarkably complex and beautiful site pays tribute to their imperial might.
This lunar landscape in central Anatolia is famous for its incredible rock formations and cosy caves, where generations of Cappadocians lived, worked and even worshipped, with a number of cave churches still open for business. This beautiful and jagged landscape is particularly stunning when seen at sunrise or sunset from a hot air balloon, but can also be explored by foot or on horseback. Buses run daily from Ankara, taking about five hours.
Continue your exploration of ancient civilisations with a visit to Gordium, once the capital city of ancient Phrygia. Situated around 80 km south-west of Ankara, the site is famous as the burial place of legendary King Midas, famous for being cursed with the golden touch. The site also gives its name to the Gordian knot. Rumoured to be impossible to untie by anyone but the future ruler, it was cut with a single stroke by Alexander the Great, thereby marking him as the prophesised leader who would unite all of Asia.
If you're in Turkey in the wintertime, why not hit the slopes at Elmadag, 18 kilometres from Ankara and a favourite destination for local snow bunnies when the weather cools down? With two restaurants, a hotel and a skiing centre, Elmadag enjoys snowfall of up to 60 centimetres and has appropriate routes for beginners and intermediate skiers alike, as well as a friendly après ski scene to rival many more famous destinations.
Vacation rentals in Ankara (Ankara)
How to get there ?
As the capital city, Ankara has an excellent public transport system, with a range of bus operators along with the ubiquitous Turkish dolmus minibuses, as well as taxis which are incredibly cheap although sometimes driven rather recklessly. There is also a metro system connecting the suburbs with the main bus station. International travellers can arrive at Ankara's airport, Ankara Esenboğa International Airport, around 28 km from the city, with flights from all over the Middle East and North Africa, as well as European destinations such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Stockholm and Milan. Another option is to fly into the much busier Istanbul airport and then take the domestic transfer to Ankara with Turkish Airlines or the budget airline Anadolu Jet. For just 10 TL you can catch a bus from the airport to the city centre, which is just as convenient as the much more expensive taxis. Ankara if the very centre of the Turkish train network, under six hours from Istanbul, and the city is also well-connected by bus to a range of other destinations in Turkey.
Ankara city hall
Ankara twins towns, sister cities
Discover the ankara's international relations with partnership cities and friendship cities.
Hotels in Ankara (Ankara)