City Guide: Ankara
Ankara is not only the capital of Turkey, but also an interesting city to visit for tourists. There are several historic and cultural sights. In this city guide, we’ll explain why Ankara is well worth visiting.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect of visiting Ankara. Seriously, I only knew that Ankara was the capital of Turkey and didn’t think about it as a place worth visiting as a tourist. However, my travel plans made a stop in Ankara necessary and thus I decided to also check out what the city has to offer culturally and historically. To my surprise, Ankara is a really beautiful place to visit.
The charming Old Town of Ankara
You should be aware that the new part of Ankara, where most hotels (including the Hilton AnkaraSA) and all government buildings are located, isn’t close to the city center and old town of Ankara. Thus, you will need a taxi or public transportation to get there.
Nevertheless, you should definitely pay the Old Town of Ankara a visit. Not only can you spot beautiful historic buildings with lots of charm, but there is also some redevelopment. A good example is Haci Bayram Kami, a religious place in the immediate city center. The whole area is redeveloped and now looks just stunning. There are small parks and shopping streets around.
The Old Town of Ankara also comes with several interesting museums, including the Cumhuriyet Museum Ankara. So, if you are into culture, this area is a must for you. Speaking of history, you should pay the Roman Bath of Ankara a visit. Even though there is a small entrance fee, I’d recommend visiting.
Not only is this place way calmer than the busy streets, but the remainings of the Roman Bath are also in a very good condition. You can easily see how the Roman Bath once looked like. It might not be as fascinating as Bath in the United Kingdom, but well worth your time!
The fascinating Ankara Castle
Speaking of castles, you will most likely think of Germany or France. However, you can not only find castles in Western Europe, but also in Turkey.
The Ankara Castle feels more like a fortress than a “beautiful” castle. However, it’s location on the top of the mountain overlooking the whole city is stunning.
Plus, you can see the ruins of the former Citadel.
You should be aware that there is not much left of the castle, so visiting is more about seeing the ruins, but the view of the city alone is worth the climb.
It’s also worth noting that you are crossing the Evi Park, which I think is the most beautiful park in Ankara, when walking to the castle.
In addition, you are crossing a very old and not any touristic part of the city, where you can see how people have lived in Ankara for ages and still do so today.
This whole area is very different from modern Ankara and even the actual old town. It feels way more ‘realistic’ overall.
Political heritage at the Anitkabir Ankara
While it is not allowed to take pictures of the political buildings in Ankara, there is one political place you are allowed to visit. The Anitkabir Ankara is one of the most important buildings for Turkish heritage.
The Anitkabir, which looks like it is an ancient monument, was actually built as a mausoleum for Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkey. Thus, the place is of utmost importance for the whole country till today.
The Anitkabir is located on a mountain and surrounded by an extremly extensive park. To enter the area, you need to get through a security checkpoint. Yet, afterwards you are pretty free to walk around.
It’s quite a fascinating place and feels incredibly polished compared to the rest of the city. Overall, I’d definitely recommend visit the Anikabir when in Ankara!
Kocatepe Mosque and Genclik Mosque
Ankara is not only a political centre of Turkey, but also a very important religious one. I’ve already spoken about the Haci Bayram Kami in the city center.
Yet, the two biggest mosques in the immediate city center (a bigger mosque is currently being build in the outskirts) are well worth mentioning as well. The Genclik Mosque, located in the beautiful Genclik Park, is easily accessible.
The even more beautiful Kocatepe Mosque near the diplomatic quarter is not really accessible on the other hand.
I was even told by some soldiers that taking pictures is not allowed (I had taken one already at this point and was said that I don’t have to delete it).
Nevertheless, walking by to admire the architecture is well worth it.
Summing up my City Guide of Ankara
This city guide for Ankara should have helped you to get an idea of the Turkish capital. I didn’t really know what to expect, but really enjoyed my visit. The city has a modern atmosphere, while offering an incredible combination of history and culture at the same time.
The only downside is that the most important spots are located really far away from each other, making it tough to explore Ankara in just one day. Nevertheless, I’d totally recommend visiting Ankara even though the political situation in Ankara might not be ideal for tourists right now.
Have you been to Ankara? What do you like most about the city?