Sightseeing in Ankara
Ulus SquareUlus Meydani Square is usually the first place visitors arrive to in Ankara and unfortunately it is a rather dreary, mainly made of concrete with a few surviving Ottoman features scattered about. The area does have some Roman monuments which offer a glimpse of the city’s rich history.
Hisar and Museum of Anatolian CivilisationsThe Byzantine citadel, the Hisar, is the oldest part of the city and whose walls surround an Ottoman period village of cobblestone streets with the outstanding Museum of Anatolian Civilisations sitting just below.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilisations opens daily at 08:30 until 17:30 and has the most extensive and valuable collection of original artefacts that date from the Stone Age through to Classical times. The museum sits in a restored 15th century bedesten (a covered market) and is the highlight of any visit to Ankara and should not be missed. The exhibits are shown in a chronological order and are clearly labelled in both English and German. The museum book shop has a good catalogue, postcards and history books on offer and also has an outdoor garden cafe.
Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere and CankayaAtaturk Boulevard runs south from Ulus down through Kizilay and is the city’s main business and shopping district. It then leads onto the growing exclusive suburbs of Kavaklidere and Cankaya where the international community, embassies, best hotels, restaurants and nightlife can be found. The huge equestrian statue of Turkey’s revered former President Ataturk looks down on the extremely busy intersection of Cumhuriyet and Ataturk Boulevard and faces the Turkish Grand National Assembly. This is where Ataturk and his Nationalistic supporters convened on 23rd April 1920 and where the Turkish Republic was declared on 29th October 1923.
Museum of the War of IndependenceThis modest late- Ottoman schoolhouse also served as the parliament building until 1925 and today is the home of the Museum of the War of Independence (open Tues-Sun 09:00-12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00). The museum is dedicated to the military struggle for independence and houses extensive collections of photographs, documents and day to day memorabilia covering the different campaigns and although all labelled in Turkish the material speaks for itself.
Ankara PalaceOpposite the museum is Ankara’s first hotel, the Ankara Palace that served as a government guesthouse for visiting dignitaries.
Republic MuseumThere is also the Republic Museum where the post-1925 Grand National Assembly had its headquarters and exhibits here focus on the Turkish Republic’s achievements.
Yeni Hallar and Vakif CarvanseraiOther places worth noting are the city’s chief fruit and vegetable market Yeni Hallar and just behind there is the Vakif Carsisi a restored caravansary where you can pick up bargains from its many cheap clothing stores.
Temple of Augustus and RomeOff of Hukumet Street is the Temple of Augustus and Rome, this is Ankara’s most important monument built between 25-20 BC to honour Augustus when the city became the provincial capital of Galatia. Famous for the inscription on the outer wall “Res Gestae Divi Augusti” (Deeds of the Divine Augustus) and which after his death was carved on every Augustus temple in the Roman world; the inscription here is the only one to have completely survived. The temple was converted into a church in the 5th century AD and in the 15th century became the medrese (religious school) of Haci Bayram Mosque, the mosque named after Bayram Veli who created the Bayramı order of dervishes and was Ankara’s most famous saint; his body is buried in the tomb at the front of the building.
Column of JulianThe Jülyanüs Sütunu ( Column of Julian ) is 200m southwest of Hukumet Square and commemorates the visit of Julian the Apostate, the Byzantine emperor who was famed for trying to revive the worship of Roman gods in the 4th century.
Roman BathsOn the western side of Cankiri Street are the remains of the Roman Hamamları ( Roman Baths ) open daily from 08:30 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:30.
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