About Ankara

Very familiar to most people as the capital of Turkey, Ankara is actually only the country’s second-biggest city, being considerably smaller than Istanbul. However, Ankara is actually a very large and presentable Turkish city, constantly expanding and offering a rather sophisticated and modern character. Many wide streets are now lined with coffee shops and eateries, particularly around the energetic Kizilay area.

Various tourist hotspots present themselves around the city of Ankara and in particular, along the Ataturk Bulvari, which serves as a prominent artery. The Ulus Meydani, known simply as ‘Ulus’, is another important tourism hub in the city and this central square is close to a number of leading museums, while also offering a choice of accommodation and inexpensive restaurants. Nearby, the Ankara Tourist Information Office is easy to find and stands directly opposite the Maltepe Ankaray Train Station, on the Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bulvari.

FAST FACTS AND ORIENTATION ABOUT ANKARA

  • Country: Turkey / Republic of Turkey (Europe / West Asia)
  • Location: Central Anatolia / Province of Ankara
  • Status: capital city / provincial capital
  • Area: approximately 971 square miles / 2,516 square kilometres
  • Population: approximately 3.9 million
  • Language: Turkish
  • Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • Time zone: UTC + 2, summer UTC + 3
  • Country dialling code: +90
  • Telephone area code: 0312
  • Average daily Ankara October temperature: 18°C / 64°F

ATATURK MAUSOLEUM (ANITKABİR)

 

Address: Anittepe, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Tel: +90 0312 231 7975

This fine memorial complex built in 1944 commemorates the Turkish founder, Ataturk. Known locally as the Anitkabir, the Ataturk Mausoleum is a stark yet grand and imposing attraction, located atop a series of steps and featuring a huge mosaic courtyard, together with an exceptionally beautiful gold leaf clad interior. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is well worth a look, as is the recent War of Independence Museum, which encircles the courtyard at its lower level. A gift shop is also onsite.

Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 09:00 to 17:00

Admission: Free

ATAKULE TOWER

 

Address: Cankaya, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Ankara’s landmark tower lies in Cankaya, to the south of town, and completely dominates the skyline. The famous Atakule Tower naturally provides outstanding panoramic views of the city, and entry is completely free if you make a reservation to the revolving restaurant here. The super-fast glass front lift is sure to get your adrenaline going, and there is also a cinema onsite.

Open hours: Daily

Admission: Free (with restaurant reservation)

MUSEUM OF ANATOLIAN CIVILISATIONS

 

Address: Ulus (Old Ankara), Ankara, Turkey, TR

Tel: +90 0312 324 3160

Winner of the 1997 Best European Museum award, Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilisations details Turkey’s past through innumerable artefacts from the Anatolia peninsular. The building itself is particularly imposing and is a restored ten-domed 15th-century market vault (bedesten). Exhibits include fine examples from Paleolithic and Neolithic times, right up to the Lydian period and everything in between. The classical Greek and Roman artefacts downstairs are also worth checking out.

Open hours: Daily – 08:30 to 17:30

Admission: Charge

MUSEUM OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

 

Address: Cumhuriyet Bulvari, Ulus, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Tel: +90 0312 310 4960

Visitors can check out the many photographs and documents at the Museum of the War of Independence to learn details about independence and democracy in the Ottoman Empire. The Republican Grand National Assembly, previously the Committee of Union and Progress Ankara headquarters, held its first sessions here.

Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 08:30 to 17:00

Admission: Charge

ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM (MUSEO ETNOGRÁFICO)

 

Address: Talat Pasa Bulvari, Samanpazari, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Previously Ataturk’s offices and located just to the south of Ulus, the Ethnography Museum displays tributes to Ataturk, with photographs of his funeral on the walls as well as stunning collections of porcelain, embroidery, and woodwork. The building is quite attractive in itself, being a post-Ottoman structure clad with marble.

Open hours: Daily

Admission: Charge

ROMAN BATHS

 

Address: Cankiri Avenue, Ulus, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Situated on Cankiri Caddesi, just north of Ulus Meydani, the Roman Baths date back to the 3rd century AD and are well maintained. You can clearly see the heating system for the baths, as well as the dressing room (apoditerium), the hot room (caldarium), the warm room (tepidarium), and the cold room (frigidarium). Beneath the baths are 7th century BC remains from the Phrygian period.

Open hours: Daily – 08:30 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 15:30

Admission: Charge

TEMPLE OF AUGUSTUS AND ROME

 

Address: Ulus, Ankara, Turkey, TR

Although closed to the public due to its state of disrepair, the Temple of Augustus and Rome, built in 10 AD by the Galatians, retains the best-preserved copy of the Deeds of Deified Augustus (Res Gestae Divi Augusti), which detail the Roman Empire. The Romans revamped the temple in the 2nd century although nearly 2,000 years of weather and seismic activity have taken their toll on this rather ancient attraction. Plans to restore the temple are underway.

Open hours: Daily

Admission: View from exterior only

ANKARA CITADEL (HİSAR)

 

Address: Ulus, Ankara, Turkey, TR

The Romans finished what the Galatians started in what is one of the oldest areas in Ankara today. The Byzantines and Seljuks also laid their mark on Hisar, and the whole area is perfect for wandering with its winding allies and old buildings that have been restored and converted into restaurants and cafés. The And Café is one of the most popular near the entrance and Angora House.

Open hours: Daily – 24 hours

Admission: Free