Visit Ankara, Turkey
In spite being overshadowed by the glamor and dazzle of enormous Turkish city of Istanbul, Ankara is a close competitor of Istanbul when it comes to tourist attractions. It is the second biggest city of Turkey, though considerably smaller than Istanbul. Ankara is about as European as Turkey gets. There are plenty of touches of the mystical east but the vast majority of the city holds the style and elegance of Europe in every aspect. This capital city of Turkey is constantly expanding and offering a rather sophisticated and modern character. Many wide streets are now lined with coffee shops and eateries. Itâ€™s a huge university town and the streets of Kizilay or the bars of Sakarya are thronged with students for most of the year.
Best Time to Visit
Turkey is a popular tourist spot. The peak season is the national holiday time from July to mid-September. Itâ€™s best to visit before or after this period in order to avoid the rush and also the mosquitoes. But heavy or medium snowfall between November and May could hamper your tour schedule in the eastern regions.
Places to Visit
It is often said that Ankara is worth visiting. The old quarter around the citadel offers the discerning traveler an insight into a three thousand year-old cultural history which is still in some respects alive today.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Situated below the citadel in Ankara, on its southwest side, this building was formerly used as a covered bazaar where clothes made from angora wool were traded. In 1951, this old building was converted into the world-famous Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which is also known as the Hittite Museum. The collection in this museum is divided into various departments. The museum has an enormous number of impressive and exceptional archeological finds from the Paleolithic period to classical times.
Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk (Anitkabir)
The Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk is one of the prime tourist spots in Ankara as well as in Turkey. The museum is named after Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Republic of Turkey. You can find a splendid blend of ancient and modern architecture in the construction of this museum building. The most popular attractions of the museum include a wax statue of Ataturk, his writings, personal items and other memoirs. The museum is also home to the modest little sarcophagus of Ataturkâ€™s close friend and successor Ismet Inonu.
Lion’s Den Mosque
The Lion’s Den Mosque is a must-see Ankara landmark. The mosque is named after the lion statues in its walls. Lion’s Den Mosque is one of the best examples of SelÃ§uk architecture in the whole city, featuring a polychrome ceramic mihrab and striking wooden support columns with marble Corinthian capitals atop.
It’s worth spending a day wandering around Ulus, Samanpazari and the labyrinthine alleys of the city’s hilltop citadel. Once inside the citadel follow the road towards the centre until you pass through an archway. A view of the city from Eastern Tower will help you get the first real impression of how large Ankara has grown in the last 70 years. If you can be here for sunset, the call to prayer will make the experience much more memorable. The area is just starting to realize its potential as a tourist attraction and tidying up has begun.
Situated on Cankiri Caddesi, a place 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 and 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.
Temple of Augustus and Rome
Built in 10 AD by the Galatians, the Temple of Augustus and Rome retains the best-preserved copy of the Deeds of Deified Augustus that 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. Government plans to restore the temple are underway. The temple is closed to the public due to its state of disrepair.
Ataturk Forest Farm and Zoo
Ataturk Forest Farm and Zoo is a large recreational area that features farms, a zoo, a brewery and good restaurants. Enjoying a picnic here is a particularly pleasant experience, as is the hiking and cycling along miles of established paths. Culture lovers may want to take a look at the mock-up of Ataturk’s house, where he was born in 1881. Donâ€™t miss to try ice cream and beer (home brew) while other attractions here include char-grilled kebabs at the traditional Turkish restaurant onsite.
Aquapark Club WaterCity
Aquapark Club WaterCity is ideal for families with its huge collection of water slides along with indoor and outdoor children’s pools. The park also comes with a good range of sports facilities and related attractions, and has a good restaurant and a cafÃ©. The Aquapark is just outside Ankara in Golbasi, accessible by shared taxis and is perfect for cooling yourself down on hot days.