It would seem in our eyes that Ankara has only been in existence for a relatively short time – to be precise, from the time that it became the capital of Turkey as decreed by President Atatürk. However, in reality, this city appears to have more ancient origins. The oldest known settlements to have been uncovered date back to the Bronze Age and the city was already growing in size around 1000 B.C.
In the present day, we are looking at a large metropolis in which the main places of interest are concentrated on the hill on which the ancient citadel, the Hisar, sits. In order to explore the main attractions, you would have enough time if you scheduled to stay in the capital for just one night. Here are 5 things which you might enjoy seeing during your brief stay in the Turkish capital.
Visit the Hacı Bayram mosque and its tombs
This is considered to be a fabulous example of a mosque from the 15th century. A true place of pilgrimage, the mosque owes its name to the founder of the order of dervishes of the Bayrami faith which is still venerated amongst the Muslim faithful today.
In the surrounding area, you can buy sacred objects in the shops but purchases are not limited to these alone. There are several different attractions located in this area, such as the Temple of Augustus, which have turned this part of the city into an impressive example of a multicultural and multireligious centre with a thread of continuity between the different cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
Discover Roman Ankara
Even the Turkish capital has Roman remains. In order to see these, you will have to walk to the foot of the Citadel to the nearby Ulus Square in the centre of which stands a statue of Atatürk and which is very close to the Haci Bayram Mosque. Amongst the ruins that can be seen there are also those from a temple which was dedicated to Augustus (adjacent to the Haci Bayram Mosque) and those of the Emperor Julian’s Column along with the vestiges of a Roman baths.
Visiting the Citadel (Hisar)
This is the oldest part of the Turkish capital. It is a fortress on the top of a hill that is visible from everywhere in the city and is the site where nearly 3,000 years ago, the first foundations of Ankara were laid.
Dive into the city’s history in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisation
Also known as “the Hittite Museum”, the Museum of Anatolian Civilisation (which, in Turkish is: Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi) is housed in an ancient caravanserai which in its own right represents a piece of history. Inside the building you can view numerous artefacts which date back to the Hittite period.
Go shopping in Samanpazari
This quarter of Ankara is well known for its antique shops where you can find an even wider range of shops than in Istanbul. Silverware, carpets and ceramics are just some of the items that are displayed for sale in the shops and stalls.