The city of Ankara lies in the city center of Anatolian the eastern edge of the great,high Anatolian Plateau,at an altitude of 850 meters. The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppeland,with forested areas in the northeast.It is bordered by the provinces of Cankırı and Bolu to the north,Eskisehir to the west,Konya and Aksaray to the south and Kırıkkale and Kırsehir to the east
The regions history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization,which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium B.C. by the Hittites,in the 10th century B.C. by the phrygians,then by the Lydians and persians.After these came the Galatians,a Celtic race who were the fisrt to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century B.C. It was then known as Ancyra,meaning anchor one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts.The city subsequently fell to the Romans,and to the Byzantines. Seljuk Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for the Turks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073,he annexed Ankara,an important location for military transportation and naturel resources,to Turkish territory.
The city was an important cultural,trading and arts center in Roman times and an important trading center on the caravan route to the east in Ottoman times.It had declined in importance by the nineteenth century.It again became an important center when Kemal Atatürk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation.By consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position,it was declared the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on october 13th,1923.
SITES TO SEE
Located on an imposing hill in the Anıttepe quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk,founder of the Republic of Turkey.completed in 1953,it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment of modern Turkish architecture. There is a museum housing a superior wax statue of Atatürk; writings, letters and items belonging to Atatürk,as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and in the establishment of the Republic.
The museum of Anatolian Civilizations
It is close to the citadel entrance.An old bedesten(covered bazaar)has been beautifully restored and now houses a marvelous and unique collection of Paleolithic,Neolithic,Hatti, Hittite,Phrygian,Urartian and Roman works and showpiece Lydian treasures.
The Ethnography Museum
It is opposite the Opera House on Talat Paşa Boulevard.There is a fine collection of folkloric artifacts as well as artifacts from Seljuk and Ottoman mosques.
The Painting and Sculpture Museum
It is close to the Ethnography Museum and houses a rich
collection of Turkish art from the late 19th century to the
present day.There are also galleries for guest exhibitions.
The Liberation War Museum,diagonally across the street from Ulus Square,is in what was originally the first parliement building of the Republic of Turkey. There the War of Liberation was planned and directed as recorded in various photographs and items on exhibition. In another display are wax figures of former presidents of the Republic of Turkey.
The Museum of the Republic,close to the Liberation War Museum,is housed in what was the second parliement building of the Republic. The exhibition here records important events
Atatürks House is on the grounds of the Presidential Palace in Cankaya and was Atatürks House after the founding of the republic. The house is much as it was in Atatürks day,and exhibits photogrphs that record important events.
PTT Museum collections were begun between 1880 and 1888 by then Postal Director Izzet Efendi. The Museum in Altındag was opened in 1982,and contains a postal display,a telegraph and telephone display,and a stamp display.
The TRT Museum has exhibits from the beginning of radio in Turkey,including antique phonographs and radios. It is located in the TRT General Directorate building in the Oran discrict.
Mehmet Akif Ersoy Museum,on the Hacettepe University Central Campus,commemorates the famous national poet who,in this house,wrote the text of the Turkish national anthem,as well as songs of independence,and many poems.
The Meteorology Museum on Sanatoryum Ave.In Kalaba,shows the history of meteorology in Turkey.
The Education Museum follows the history and tecnology of education in Turkey. It is located in Ankara Gazi University,in the Besevler district
Ankara Citadel:The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galations on a prominent lava outcrop,and completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel,being the oldest part of Ankara,contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. There are also lovely green areas in which to relax. It is well known that the Ankara region was the cradle of wine in Hatti and Hittite times around 2000 B.C. Many restored traditional Turkish houses in the area of the citadel have found new life as restaurants,serving local and international dishes and wine.
Roman Theatre:The remains,including pro-scene(stage) and scene(back stage) can be seen outside the citadel. Roman statues that were found here are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The audience area is still under excavation.
Temple of Augustus:The temple is in the Ulus quarter of the city. Itwas built by the Galatian King Pylamenes in 10 A.D. as a tribute to Augustus,and was reconstructed by the Romans on the ancient Ankara Acropolis in the 2nd century. It is important today for the Monument Ancyranum the sole surviving Political Testament of Augustus,detailing his achievements,inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. In the fifth century the temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines.
Roman Bath:The bath,situated on Cankırı Avenue in Ulus,has all the typical features: a frigidarium(cold room), tepidarium(cool room)and caldarium(hot room). They were built in the time of Emperor Caracalla(3rd century A.D.) in honur of Asclepios,the god of medicine. Today only the basement and first floors remain.
Column of Julian: This column in Ulus was erected in 362 A.D.,probably to commemorate a visit by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital.
Monument of the Republic: Erected in 1927 in Ulus Square,it is a symbol of the struggle for independence on the part of Atatürk and the Turkish people in the War of Liberation.
Victory Monument: Erected in 1927 in Zafer Square in the Sıhhıye quarter,shows Atatürk in uniform
Hacı Bayram Mosque: This mosque in Ulus next to the temple of Augustus,was built in the early 15th century in Seljuk style and was subsequently restored by Sinan in the 16th century, with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Hacı Bayram Veli,whose tomb is next to the mosque.
Alaaddin Mosque:This mosque is inside the Citadel walls. It has a carved walnut mimber,the inscription on which shows that the mosque was built in the 12th century by the Seljuk ruler,Mesut.
Kocatepe Mosque:This is a recently constructed mosque of great size in classical Ottoman design with four minarets. Built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter,its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark.
Ankara has many delightful parks and open spaces established in the early years of the republic in accordance with Atatürks belief in the importance of trees and natural beauty. The most important of these parks are: Genclik parkı,the Botanical Garden,Kugulu,Güven Abdi Ipekci,Anıt,Altın Park.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Ankara is a center for opera,ballet,jazz and modern dance as well as home of the prestigious Presidential Symphony Orchestra. Ankara also has a large number of theatres staging many ambitious productions. In addition to public and private galleries throughout the city, exhibitions are also held at the Atatürk Cultural Center. The city also has many cinemas showing the best Turkish and foreign films and there a number of film festivals on various themes throughout the year, in particular the International Film Days in March. Every year in April and May the city hosts the Sevda Cenap And International Arts and Music Festival with performances by the finest Turkish and foreign musicians. The Childrens Festival on April 23 is also quite an invent, with groups of children from all over the world taking part. There is also an International Cartoon Film Festival in summer.
Visitors to the city usually like to visit tke old shops in Cıkrıkcılar Yokusu near Ulus. The street of copper workers is particularly popular and many interesting old and new items,not just of copper can be found here,such as jewelry,carpets,costumes,antiques and embroidery. Walking up the hill to the citadel gate you find many interesting shops selling spices, dried fruits,nuts and all manner of produce; the selection is huge and very fresh. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kızılay on Tunalı Hilmi Avenue including the modern mall of Karum and in the Atakule Tower in Cankaya. From the top of Atakule(125 meters) there is a magnificent view over the whole city.