Clockwise, from top: Söğütözü business district, Anıtkabir, Gençlik Park, Kızılay Square, Kocatepe Mosque, Atakule Tower
|Nickname(s): Heart of Turkey|
|• Mayor||Melih Gökçek (AKP)|
|• Governor||Alaaddin Yüksel|
|• Metropolitan Municipality||24,521 km2 (9,468 sq mi)|
|Elevation||938 m (3,077 ft)|
|• Metropolitan Municipality||4,417,522|
|• Density||1,551/km2 (4,020/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Ankara (//; Turkish pronunciation: [ˈaŋ.ka.ɾa]; historically known by the names Ancyra and Angora) is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city, Istanbul being the largest. The city has a mean elevation of 938 meters (3,077 ft) and in 2012 had a population of 4,338,620, with its metropolitan municipality having 4,965,542.
It is the center of the Turkish Government, and an important commercial and industrial city. Located in Central Anatolia, Ankara is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the center of Turkey's highway and railway networks, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city is traditionally famed for its long-haired Angora goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), Angora rabbits and their prized Angora wool, pears, honey, and the region's muscat grapes.
The historical center of Ankara is situated upon a rocky hill, which rises 150 m (492 ft) above the plain on the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya (Sangarius) river. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded mostly by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, which is 72 m2 per head.
Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The hill which overlooks the city is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which adds to the picturesqueness of the view, but only a few historic structures surrounding the old citadel have survived to the present day. There are, however, many well-preserved remains of Ottoman and Roman architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus and Rome (20 BC) which is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Christianity
- 4 Climate
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Politics
- 8 Main sights
- 8.1 Museums
- 8.1.1 Anıtkabir
- 8.1.2 Ankara Ethnography Museum
- 8.1.3 Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
- 8.1.4 State Art and Sculpture Museum
- 8.1.5 Cer Modern
- 8.1.6 War of Independence Museum
- 8.1.7 Mehmet Akif Literature Museum Library
- 8.1.8 TCDD Open Air Steam Locomotive Museum
- 8.1.9 Ankara Aviation Museum
- 8.1.10 METU Science and Technology Museum
- 8.2 Parks
- 8.3 Shopping
- 8.4 Archeological sites
- 8.5 Mosques
- 8.6 Caravanserais
- 8.7 Modern monuments
- 8.1 Museums
- 9 Transportation
- 10 Sports
- 11 Culture and education
- 12 Fauna
- 13 Ankara image gallery
- 14 International relations
- 15 See also
- 16 References and notes
- 17 Bibliography
- 18 External links
As with many ancient cities, Ankara has gone by several names over the ages. It has been identified with the Hittite cult center Ankuwaš, although this remains a matter of debate. In classical antiquity and during the medieval period, the city was known as Ἂγκυρα (Ánkyra "anchor") in Greek and Ancyra in Latin; the Galatian Celtic name was probably a similar variant. Following its annexation by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, the city became known in many European languages as Angora, a usage which continued until its official international renaming to Ankara under the Turkish Postal Service Law of 28 March 1930.
The region's history can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hattic civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, and later by the Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, and Turks (the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.)
The oldest settlements in and around the city center of Ankara belonged to the Hattic civilization which existed during the Bronze Age and was gradually absorbed ca. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites. The city grew significantly in size and importance under the Phrygians starting around 1000 BC, and experienced a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, (the capital of Phrygia), after an earthquake which severely damaged that city around that time. In Phrygian tradition, King Midas was venerated as the founder of Ancyra, but Pausanias mentions that the city was actually far older, which accords with present archaeological knowledge.
Phrygian rule was succeeded first by Lydian and later by Persian rule, though the strongly Phrygian character of the peasantry remained, as evidenced by the gravestones of the much later Roman period. Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians' defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great who conquered the city in 333 BC. Alexander came from Gordion to Ankara and stayed in the city for a short period. After his death at Babylon in 323 BC and the subsequent division of his empire among his generals, Ankara and its environs fell into the share of Antigonus.
Another important expansion took place under the Greeks of Pontos who came there around 300 BC and developed the city as a trading center for the commerce of goods between the Black Sea ports and Crimea to the north; Assyria, Cyprus, and Lebanon to the south; and Georgia, Armenia and Persia to the east. By that time the city also took its name Áγκυρα (Ànkyra, meaning Anchor in Greek) which, in slightly modified form, provides the modern name of Ankara.
In 278 BC, the city, along with the rest of central Anatolia, was occupied by a Celtic group, the Galatians, who were the first to make Ankara one of their main tribal centers, the headquarters of the Tectosages tribe. Other centers were Pessinos, today's Balhisar, for the Trocmi tribe, and Tavium, to the east of Ankara, for the Tolstibogii tribe. The city was then known as Ancyra. The Celtic element was probably relatively small in numbers; a warrior aristocracy which ruled over Phrygian-speaking peasants. However, the Celtic language continued to be spoken in Galatia for many centuries. At the end of the 4th century, St. Jerome, a native of Dalmatia, observed that the language spoken around Ankara was very similar to that being spoken in the northwest of the Roman world near Trier.
The city was subsequently conquered by Augustus in 25 BC and passed under the control of the Roman Empire. Now the capital city of the Roman province of Galatia, Ancyra continued to be a center of great commercial importance. Ankara is also famous for the Monumentum Ancyranum (Temple of Augustus and Rome) which contains the official record of the Acts of Augustus, known as the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, an inscription cut in marble on the walls of this temple. The ruins of Ancyra still furnish today valuable bas-reliefs, inscriptions and other architectural fragments.
Augustus decided to make Ancyra one of three main administrative centers in central Anatolia. The town was then populated by Phrygians and Celts—the Galatians who spoke a language somewhat closely related to Welsh and Gaelic. Ancyra was the center of a tribe known as the Tectosages, and Augustus upgraded it into a major provincial capital for his empire. Two other Galatian tribal centers, Tavium near Yozgat, and Pessinus (Balhisar) to the west, near Sivrihisar, continued to be reasonably important settlements in the Roman period, but it was Ancyra that grew into a grand metropolis.
An estimated 200,000 people lived in Ancyra in good times during the Roman Empire, a far greater number than was to be the case from after the fall of the Roman Empire until the early 20th century. A small river, the Ankara Çayı, ran through the center of the Roman town. It has now been covered and diverted, but it formed the northern boundary of the old town during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Çankaya, the rim of the majestic hill to the south of the present city center, stood well outside the Roman city, but may have been a summer resort. In the 19th century, the remains of at least one Roman villa or large house were still standing not far from where the Çankaya Presidential Residence stands today. To the west, the Roman city extended until the area of the Gençlik Park and Railway Station, while on the southern side of the hill, it may have extended downwards as far as the site presently occupied by Hacettepe University. It was thus a sizeable city by any standards and much larger than the Roman towns of Gaul or Britannia.
Ancyra's importance rested on the fact that it was the junction point where the roads in northern Anatolia running north-south and east-west intersected. The great imperial road running east passed through Ankara and a succession of emperors and their armies came this way. They were not the only ones to use the Roman highway network, which was equally convenient for invaders. In the second half of the 3rd century, Ancyra was invaded in rapid succession by the Goths coming from the west (who rode far into the heart of Cappadocia, taking slaves and pillaging) and later by the Arabs. For about a decade, the town was one of the western outposts of one of the most brilliant queens of the ancient world, the Arab empress Zenobia from Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, who took advantage of a period of weakness and disorder in the Roman Empire to set up a short-lived state of her own.
The town was reincorporated into the Roman Empire under Emperor Aurelian in 272. The tetrarchy, a system of multiple (up to four) emperors introduced by Diocletian (284–305), seems to have engaged in a substantial programme of rebuilding and of road construction from Ankara westwards to Germe and Dorylaeum (now Eskişehir).
In its heyday, Roman Ankara was a large market and trading center but it also functioned as a major administrative capital, where a high official ruled from the city's Praetorium, a large administrative palace or office. During the 3rd century, life in Ancyra, as in other Anatolian towns, seems to have become somewhat militarized in response to the invasions and instability of the town. In this period, like other cities of central Anatolia,
Early Christian martyrs of Ancyra, about whom little is known, included Proklos and Hilarios who were natives of the otherwise unknown nearby village of Kallippi, and suffered repression under the emperor Trajan (98–117). In the 280s we hear of Philumenos, a Christian corn merchant from southern Anatolia, being captured and martyred in Ankara, and Eustathius.
As in other Roman towns, the reign of Diocletian marked the culmination of the persecution of the Christians. In 303, Ancyra was one of the towns where the co-Emperors Diocletian and his deputy Galerius launched their anti-Christian persecution. In Ancyra, their first target was the 38-year-old Bishop of the town, whose name was Clement. Clement's life describes how he was taken to Rome, then sent back, and forced to undergo many interrogations and hardship before he, and his brother, and various companions were put to death. The remains of the church of St. Clement can be found today in a building just off Işıklar Caddesi in the Ulus district. Quite possibly this marks the site where Clement was originally buried. Four years later, a doctor of the town named Plato and his brother Antiochus also became celebrated martyrs under Galerius. Theodotus of Ancyra is also venerated as a saint.
However, the persecution proved unsuccessful and in 314 Ancyra was the center of an important council of the early church; which considered ecclesiastical policy for the reconstruction of the Christian Church after the persecutions, and in particular the treatment of 'lapsi'—Christians who had given in and conformed to paganism during these persecutions.
Three councils were held in the former capital of Galatia in Asia Minor, during the 4th century. The first, an orthodox plenary synod, was held in 314, and its 25 disciplinary canons constitute one of the most important documents in the early history of the administration of the Sacrament of Penance. Nine of them deal with conditions for the reconciliation of the lapsi; the others, with marriage, alienations of church property, etc.
Though paganism was probably tottering in Ancyra in Clement's day, it may still have been the majority religion. Twenty years later, Christianity and monotheism had taken its place. Ancyra quickly turned into a Christian city, with a life dominated by monks and priests and theological disputes. The town council or senate gave way to the bishop as the main local figurehead. During the middle of the 4th century, Ancyra was involved in the complex theological disputes over the nature of Christ, and a form of Arianism seems to have originated there.
The synod of 358 was a Semi-Arian conciliabulum, presided over by Basil of Ancyra. It condemned the grosser Arian blasphemies, but set forth an equally heretical doctrine in the proposition that the Son was in all things similar to the Father, but not identical in substance.
In 362–363, the Emperor Julian the Apostate passed through Ancyra on his way to an ill-fated campaign against the Persians, and according to Christian sources, engaged in a persecution of various holy men. The stone base for a statue, with an inscription describing Julian as "Lord of the whole world from the British Ocean to the barbarian nations", can still be seen, built into the eastern side of the inner circuit of the walls of Ankara Castle. The Column of Julian which was erected in honor of the emperor's visit to the city in 362 still stands today. In 375, Arian bishops met at Ancyra and deposed several bishops, among them St. Gregory of Nyssa.
In the late 4th century, Ancyra became something of an imperial holiday resort. After Constantinople became the East Roman capital, emperors in the 4th and 5th centuries would retire from the humid summer weather on the Bosporus to the drier mountain atmosphere of Ancyra. Theodosius II (408–450) kept his court in Ancyra in the summers. Laws issued in Ancyra testify to the time they spent there. The city's military as well as logistical significance lasted well into the long Byzantine rule. Although Ancyra temporarily fell into the hands of several Arab Muslim armies numerous times after the 7th century, it remained an important crossroads polis within the Byzantine Empire until the late 11th century. It was also the capital of the powerful Opsician Theme, and after ca. 750 of the Bucellarian Theme.
Ancyra, known in the West also as Angora, continued to be a residential see of the Eastern Orthodox Church until the 20th century, with about 40,000 faithful, mostly Turkish-speaking, but that situation ended as a result of the 1923 Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations. The earlier Armenian Genocide put an end to the residential eparchy of Ancyra of the Armenian Catholic Church, which had been established in 1850. Both the Greek archbishopric and the Armenian eparchy are now listed by the Catholic Church as titular sees. It is also a titular metropolis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In 1071, the Turkish Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan conquered much of eastern and central Anatolia after his victory at the Battle of Manzikert. He then annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to his territory in 1073. After the Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243, in which the Mongols defeated the Seljuks, most of Anatolia became part of the dominion of the Mongols. Taking advantage of Seljuk decline, a semi-religious cast of craftsmen and trade people named Ahiler chose Ankara as their independent city-state in 1290. Orhan I, the second Bey of the Ottoman Empire, captured the city in 1356. Timur defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara in 1402 and took the city, but in 1403 Ankara was again under Ottoman control.
Following the Ottoman defeat at World War I, the Ottoman capital Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and much of Anatolia were occupied by the Allies, who planned to share these lands between Armenia, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, leaving for the Turks the core piece of land in central Anatolia. In response, the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement, Mustafa Kemal Pasha, established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Ankara in 1920. After the Turkish War of Independence was won and the Treaty of Sèvres was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne, the Turkish nationalists replaced the Ottoman Empire with the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. A few days earlier, Ankara had officially replaced Constantinople as the new Turkish capital city, on 13 October 1923.
After Ankara became the capital of the newly founded Republic of Turkey, new development divided the city into an old section, called Ulus, and a new section, called Yenişehir. Ancient buildings reflecting Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history and narrow winding streets mark the old section. The new section, now centered on Kızılay Square, has the trappings of a more modern city: wide streets, hotels, theaters, shopping malls, and high-rises. Government offices and foreign embassies are also located in the new section. Ankara has experienced a phenomenal growth since it was made Turkey's capital. It was "a small town of no importance" when it was made the capital of Turkey. In 1924, the year after the government had moved there, Ankara had about 35,000 residents. By 1927 there were 44,553 residents and by 1950 the population had grown to 286,781.
Ankara has a hot-summer continental climate (Dsa). Due to its elevation and inland location, Ankara has cool, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Rainfall occurs mostly during the spring and autumn. Under Köppen climate classification, Ankara borders on a dry summer continental climate with a warm summer subtype (Dsb), and is near the borderline of a cold semi-arid climate (BSk), with some regions of the province having a true warm summer subtype (Dsb) of continental climate, depending on elevation. Because of Ankara's high altitude and its dry summers, nightly temperatures in the summer months are cool. Ankara's annual average precipitation is fairly low at 408 millimeters (16 in), nevertheless precipitation can be observed throughout the year. Monthly mean temperatures range from 0.3 °C (32.5 °F) in January to 23.5 °C (74.3 °F) in July, with an annual mean of 12.02 °C (53.6 °F).
Record rain= 88.9 kg/m2 (11.06.1997)
Record snow= 30.0 cm (11.8 in) (05.01.2002)
|Climate data for Ankara (1960–2012)|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.6
|Average high °C (°F)||4.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.0
|Record low °C (°F)||−21.2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||41.8
|Avg. precipitation days||11.7||11.0||10.9||12.0||12.5||8.6||3.8||2.8||3.8||7.1||8.6||11.8||104.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||77.5||98.9||161.2||189.0||260.4||306.0||350.3||328.6||276.0||198.4||132.0||71.3||2,449.6|
|Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service|
Ankara had a population of 75,000 in 1927. In 2013, Ankara has a population of 5,045,083 of which 2,507,525 are men and 2,537,558 are women.
When Ankara became the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, it was designated as a planned city for 500,000 future inhabitants. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the city grew in a planned and orderly pace. However, from the 1950s onward, the city grew much faster than envisioned, because unemployment and poverty forced people to migrate from the countryside into the city in order to seek a better standard of living. As a result, many illegal houses called gecekondu were built around the city, causing the unplanned and uncontrolled urban landscape of Ankara, as not enough planned housing could be built fast enough. Although precariously built, the vast majority of them have electricity, running water and modern household amenities.
Nevertheless, many of these gecekondus have been replaced by huge public housing projects in the form of tower blocks such as Elvankent, Eryaman and Güzelkent; and also as mass housing compounds for military and civil service accommodation. Although many gecekondus still remain, they too are gradually being replaced by mass housing compounds, as empty land plots in the city of Ankara for new construction projects are becoming impossible to find.
Historically, the production of mohair from the Angora goat, and Angora wool from the Angora rabbit, have been an important part of the city's economy. These fabrics have been exported from Ankara to Europe and other parts of the globe for centuries.
The Central Anatolia Region is one of the primary locations of grape and wine production in Turkey, and Ankara is particularly famous for its Kalecik Karası and Muscat grapes; and its Kavaklıdere wine, which is produced in the Kavaklıdere neighbourhood within the Çankaya district of the city. Ankara is also famous for its pears. Another renowned natural product of Ankara is its indigenous type of honey (Ankara Balı) which is known for its light color and is mostly produced by the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo in the Gazi district, and by other facilities in the Elmadağ, Çubuk and Beypazarı districts.
Ankara is the center of the state-owned and private Turkish defence and aerospace companies, where the industrial plants and headquarters of the Turkish Aerospace Industries, MKE, ASELSAN, Havelsan, Roketsan, FNSS, Nurol Makina, and numerous other firms are located. Exports to foreign countries from these defence and aerospace firms have steadily increased in the past decades. The IDEF in Ankara is one of the largest international expositions of the global arms industry. A number of the global automotive companies also have production facilities in Ankara, such as the German bus and truck manufacturer MAN SE. Ankara hosts the OSTIM Industrial Zone, Turkey's largest industrial park.
A large percentage of the complicated employment in Ankara is provided by the state institutions; such as the ministries, undersecretariats, and other administrative bodies of the Turkish government. There are also many foreign citizens working as diplomats or clerks in the embassies of their respective countries.
|Ankara district Municipalities
Turkish local elections, 2014
|Members of Parliament for Ankara
Turkish general election, 2011
Ankara is politically a triple battleground between the ruling conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), the opposition Kemalist centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) and the nationalist far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The province of Ankara is divided into 25 districts. The CHP's key and almost only political stronghold in Ankara lies within the central area of Çankaya, which is the city's most populous district. While the CHP has always gained between 60 to 70% of the vote in Çankaya since 2002, political support elsewhere throughout Ankara is minimal. The high population within Çankaya, as well as Yenimahalle to an extent, has allowed the CHP to take overall second place behind the AKP in both local and general elections, with the MHP a close third, despite the fact that the MHP is politically stronger than the CHP in almost every other district. Overall, the AKP enjoys the most support throughout the city. The electorate of Ankara thus tend to vote in favour of the political right, far more so than the other main cities of Istanbul and İzmir. In retrospect, the 2013-14 protests against the AKP government were particularly strong in Ankara, proving to be fatal on multiple occasions.
Melih Gökçek has been the Metropolitan Mayor of Ankara since 1994 as a politician from the Welfare Party. He later joined the Virtue Party and then the AKP. Initially elected in the 1994 local elections, he was re-elected in 1999, 2004 and 2009. In the 2014 local election, Gökçek stood for a fifth term. The MHP metropolitan mayoral candidate for the 2009 local elections, conservative politician Mansur Yavaş, stood as the CHP candidate against Gökçek. In a heavily controversial election, Gökçek was declared the winner by just 1% ahead of Yavaş amid allegations of systematic electoral fraud. With the Supreme Electoral Council and courts rejecting Yavaş's appeals, he has declared intention to take the irregularities to the European Court of Human Rights. Although Gökçek was inaugurated for a fifth term, most election observers believe that Yavaş was the winner of the election.
There are some 50 museums in the city.
Anıtkabir is located on an imposing hill, which forms the Anıttepe quarter of the city, where the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, stands. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural styles. An adjacent museum houses a wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and during the establishment of the Republic. Anıtkabir is open every day, while the adjacent museum is open every day except Mondays.
Ankara Ethnography Museum
Ankara Ethnography Museum (Etnoğrafya Müzesi) is located opposite to the Ankara Opera House on Talat Paşa Boulevard, in the Ulus district. There is a fine collection of folkloric items, as well as artifacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. In front of the museum building, there is a marble and bronze equestrian statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (who wears a Republic era modern military uniform, with the rank Field Marshal) which was crafted in 1927 by the renowned Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi) is situated at the entrance of the Ankara Castle. It is an old bedesten (covered bazaar) that has been beautifully restored and now houses a unique collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and Roman works as well as a major section dedicated to Lydian treasures.
State Art and Sculpture Museum
The State Art and Sculpture Museum (Resim-Heykel Müzesi) 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 which host guest exhibitions.
Cer Modern is the modern-arts museum of Ankara, inaugurated on 1 April 2010. It is situated in the renovated building of the historic TCDD Cer Atölyeleri, formerly a workshop of the Turkish State Railways. The museum incorporates the largest exhibition hall in Turkey. The museum holds periodic exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as hosting other contemporary arts events.
War of Independence Museum
The War of Independence Museum (Kurtuluş Savaşı Müzesi) is located on Ulus Square. It was originally the first Parliament building (TBMM) of the Republic of Turkey. The War of Independence was planned and directed here as recorded in various photographs and items presently on exhibition. In another display, wax figures of former presidents of the Republic of Turkey are on exhibit.
Mehmet Akif Literature Museum Library
TCDD Open Air Steam Locomotive Museum
Ankara Aviation Museum
Ankara Aviation Museum (Hava Kuvvetleri Müzesi Komutanlığı) is located near the Istanbul Road in Etimesgut. It is home to various missiles, avionics, aviation materials and aircraft that have served in the Turkish Air Force (e.g. combat aircraft such as the F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-104 Starfighter, F-5 Freedom Fighter, F-4 Phantom; and cargo planes such as the Transall C-160.) Also a Hungarian MiG-21, a Pakistani MiG-19, and a Bulgarian MiG-17 are on display at the museum.
METU Science and Technology Museum
Ankara has many parks and open spaces mainly established in the early years of the Republic and well maintained and expanded thereafter. The most important of these parks are: Gençlik Parkı (houses an amusement park with a large pond for rowing), the Botanical garden, Seğmenler Park, Anayasa Park, Kuğulu Park (famous for the swans received as a gift from the Chinese government), Abdi İpekçi Park, Güven Park (see above for the monument), Kurtuluş Park (has an ice-skating rink), Altınpark (also a prominent exposition/fair area), Harikalar Diyarı (claimed to be Biggest Park of Europe inside city borders) and Göksu Park.
Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo (Atatürk Orman Çiftliği) is an expansive recreational farming area which houses a zoo, several small agricultural farms, greenhouses, restaurants, a dairy farm and a brewery. It is a pleasant place to spend a day with family, be it for having picnics, hiking, biking or simply enjoying good food and nature. There is also an exact replica of the house where Atatürk was born in 1881, in Thessaloniki, Greece. Visitors to the "Çiftlik" (farm) as it is affectionately called by Ankarans, can sample such famous products of the farm such as old-fashioned beer and ice cream, fresh dairy products and meat rolls/kebaps made on charcoal, at a traditional restaurant (Merkez Lokantası, Central Restaurant), cafés and other establishments scattered around the farm.
Foreign visitors to Ankara usually like to visit the old shops in Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu (Weavers' Road) near Ulus, where myriad things ranging from traditional fabrics, hand-woven carpets and leather products can be found at bargain prices. Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Bazaar of Coppersmiths) is particularly popular, and many interesting items, not just of copper, can be found here like jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery. Up the hill to the castle gate, there are many shops selling a huge and fresh collection of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and other produce.
Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kızılay, or on Tunalı Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum (named after the ancient Assyrian merchant colonies called Kârum that were established in central Anatolia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC) which is located towards the end of the Avenue; and in Çankaya, the quarter with the highest elevation in the city. Atakule Tower next to Atrium Mall in Çankaya commands a magnificent view over Ankara and also has a revolving restaurant at the top, where the city's panorama can be enjoyed in a leisurely fashion. The symbol of the Armada Shopping Mall is an anchor, and there's a large anchor monument at its entrance, as a reference to the ancient Greek name of the city, Ἄγκυρα (Ánkyra), which means anchor. Likewise, the anchor monument is also related with the Spanish name of the mall, Armada, which means naval fleet.
As Ankara started expanding westward in the 1970s, several modern, suburbia-style developments and mini-cities began to rise along the western highway, also known as the Eskişehir Road. The Armada and CEPA malls on the highway, the Galleria in Ümitköy, and a huge mall, Real in Bilkent Center, offer North American and European style shopping opportunities (these places can be reached through the Eskişehir Highway.) There is also the newly expanded ANKAmall at the outskirts, on the Istanbul Highway, which houses most of the well-known international brands. This mall is the largest throughout the Ankara region.
The foundations of the Ankara castle and citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop ( ), and the rest was completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks further 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 recreational areas to relax. Many restored traditional Turkish houses inside the citadel area have found new life as restaurants, serving local cuisine.
The citadel was depicted in various Turkish banknotes during 1927–1952 and 1983–1989.
The remains, the stage, and the backstage of the Roman theatre can be seen outside the castle. Roman statues that were found here are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The seating area is still under excavation.
Temple of Augustus and Rome
The temple, also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum, was built between 25 BC – 20 BC following the conquest of Central Anatolia by the Roman Empire and the formation of the Roman province of Galatia, with Ancyra (modern Ankara) as its administrative capital. After the death of Augustus in 14 AD, a copy of the text of Res Gestae Divi Augusti was inscribed on the interior of the pronaos in Latin, whereas a Greek translation is also present on an exterior wall of the cella. The temple, on the ancient Acropolis of Ancyra, was enlarged by the Romans in the 2nd century. In the 5th century it was converted into a church by the Byzantines. It is located in the Ulus quarter of the city.
The Roman Baths of Ankara have all the typical features of a classical Roman bath complex: a frigidarium (cold room), a tepidarium (warm room) and a caldarium (hot room). The baths were built during the reign of the Roman emperor Caracalla in the early 3rd century AD to honor Asclepios, the God of Medicine. Today, only the basement and first floors remain. It is situated in the Ulus quarter.
The Roman Road of Ankara or Cardo Maximus was found in 1995 by Turkish archaeologist Cevdet Bayburtluoğlu. It is 216 meters long and 6.7 meters wide. Many ancient artifacts were discovered during the excavations along the road and most of them are currently displayed at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Column of Julian
The Column of Julian or Julianus, now in the Ulus district, was erected in honor of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate's visit to Ancyra in 362.
The Alaeddin Mosque is the oldest mosque in Ankara. It has a carved walnut mimber, the inscription on which records that the mosque was completed in early AH 574 (which corresponds to the summer of 1178 AD) and was built by the Seljuk prince Muhiddin Mesud Şah (d. 1204), the Bey of Ankara, who was the son of the Anatolian Seljuk sultan Kılıç Arslan II (reigned 1156–1192.)
Ahi Elvan Mosque
It was founded in the Ulus quarter near the Ankara Citadel and was constructed by the Ahi fraternity during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. The finely carved walnut member (pulpic) is of particular interest.
Hacı Bayram Mosque
This mosque, in the Ulus quarter next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the early 15th century in Seljuk style by an unknown architect. It was subsequently restored by architect Mimar Sinan in the 16th century, with Kütahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Hacı Bayram-ı Veli, whose tomb is next to the mosque, two years before his death (1427–28). The usable space inside this mosque is 437 m2 (4,704 sq ft) on the first floor and 263 m2 (2,831 sq ft) on the second floor.
Yeni (Cenab Ahmet) Mosque
It is the largest Ottoman mosque in Ankara and was built by the famous architect Sinan in the 16th century. The mimber (pulpit) and mihrap (prayer niche) are of white marble, and the mosque itself is of Ankara stone, an example of very fine workmanship. Yeni Cami is on Ulucanlar Avenue.
Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque in the city. Located in the Kocatepe quarter, it was constructed between 1967 and 1987 in classical Ottoman style with four minarets. Its size and prominent location have made it a landmark for the city.
Suluhan is a historical caravanserai (han) in Ankara. It is also called the Hasanpaşa Han. It is about 400 meters (1,300 ft) southeast of Ulus Square and situated in the Hacıdoğan neighbourhood. According to the vakfiye (inscription) of the building, the Ottoman era han was commissioned by Hasan Pasha, a regional beylerbey, and was constructed between 1508 and 1511, during the final years of the reign of Sultan Bayezid II.
Çengelhan Rahmi Koç Museum
Çengelhan Rahmi Koç Museum is a museum of industrial technology situated in Çengel Han, an Ottoman era caravanserai (han) which was completed in 1523, during the early years of the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The exhibits include industrial/technological artifacts from the 1850s onwards.
The Victory Monument (Turkish: Zafer Anıtı) was crafted by Austrian sculptor Heinrich Krippel in 1925 and was erected in 1927 at Ulus Square. The monument is made of marble and bronze and features an equestrian statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who wears a Republic era modern military uniform, with the rank Field Marshal.
Statue of Atatürk
Located at Zafer Square (Turkish: Zafer Meydanı), the marble and bronze statue was crafted by the renowned Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica in 1927 and depicts a standing Atatürk who wears a Republic era modern military uniform, with the rank Field Marshal.
Monument to a Secure, Confident Future
This monument, located in Güven Park near Kızılay Square, was erected in 1935 and bears Atatürk's advice to his people: "Turk! Be proud, work hard, and believe in yourself."
Built in the 1970s on Sıhhiye Square, this impressive monument symbolizes the Hatti gods and commemorates Anatolia's earliest known civilization. The symbol derived from this monument has been used as the logo of the city for a long time.
The Electricity, Gas, Bus General Directorate (EGO) operates the Ankara Metro and other forms of public transportation. Ankara is currently served by a suburban rail named Ankaray (A1) and three subway lines (M1, M2, M3) of the Ankara Metro with about 300,000 total daily commuters, while an additional subway line (M4) is currently under construction. A 3.2 km (2.0 mi) long gondola lift with four stations connects the disctrict of Şentepe to the Yenimahalle metro station.
The Ankara Central Station is a major rail hub in Turkey. The Turkish State Railways operates passenger train service from Ankara to other major cities, such as: İstanbul, Eskişehir, Balıkesir, Kütahya, İzmir, Kayseri, Adana, Kars, Elâzığ, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Karabük, Zonguldak and Sivas. Commuter rail also runs between the stations of Sincan and Kayaş. On 13 March 2009, the new Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT) high-speed rail service began operation between Ankara and Eskişehir. On 23 August 2011, another YHT high-speed line commercially started its service between Ankara and Konya. On 25 July 2014, the Ankara–Istanbul high-speed line of YHT entered service.
Ankara Intercity Bus Terminal (Turkish: Ankara Şehirlerarası Terminal İşletmesi, AŞTİ) is an important part of the bus network which covers every neighbourhood in the city. Bus tickets from all other cities to Ankara can be found at Otobusbileti.
Esenboğa International Airport, located in the north-east of the city, is Ankara's main airport.
As with all other cities of Turkey, football is the most popular sport in Ankara. The city has one football club currently competing in the Turkish Super League: Gençlerbirliği, founded in 1923, is known as the Ankara Gale or the Poppies because of their colors: red and black. They were the Turkish Cup winners in 1987 and 2001. Ankaragücü, founded in 1910, is the oldest club in Ankara and is associated with Ankara's military arsenal manufacturing company MKE. Ankaragücü used to play in the Turkish Super League until being relegated to the TFF First League at the end of the 2011–2012 season. They were the Turkish Cup winners in 1972 and 1981. Gençlerbirliği's B team, Hacettepe SK (formerly known as Gençlerbirliği OFTAŞ) played in the Turkish Super League for a while until being relegated. All of the aforementioned teams have their home at the Ankara 19 Mayıs Stadium in Ulus, which has a capacity of 21,250 (all-seater). A fourth team, Büyükşehir Belediye Ankaraspor, played in the Turkish Super League until 2010, when they were expelled, and currently are not a member of the Turkish league system. Their home was the Yenikent Asaş Stadium in the Sincan district of Yenikent, outside the city center.
Ankara has a large number of minor teams, playing at regional levels: Bugsaşspor in Sincan; Etimesgut Şekerspor in Etimesgut; Türk Telekomspor owned by the phone company in Yenimahalle; Ankara Demirspor in Çankaya; Keçiörengücü, Keçiörenspor, Pursaklarspor, Bağlumspor in Keçiören; and Petrol Ofisi Spor owned by the oil company in Altındağ. Most of them, including Hacettepespor, play their matches at Cebeci İnönü Stadium in the Cebeci district.
Culture and education
Turkish State Opera and Ballet, the national directorate of opera and ballet companies of Turkey, has its headquarters in Ankara, and serves the city with three venues:
- Ankara Opera House (Opera Sahnesi, also known as Büyük Tiyatro) is the largest of the three venues for opera and ballet in Ankara.
The Turkish State Theatres also has its head office in Ankara and runs the following stages in the city:
In addition, the city is served by several private theatre companies, among which Ankara Sanat Tiyatrosu, who have their own stage in the city center, is a notable example.
Ankara is host to five classical music orchestras:
- Presidential Symphony Orchestra (Turkish Presidential Symphony Orchestra)
- Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is a major symphony orchestra of Turkey.
- Hacettepe Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2003 and is currently conducted by Erol Erdinç.
- Başkent Oda Orkestrası (Chamber Orchestra of the Capital)
There are four concert halls in the city:
- CSO Concert Hall
- Bilkent Concert Hall is a performing arts center in Ankara. It is located in the Bilkent University campus.
- MEB Şura Salonu (also known as the Festival Hall), It is noted for its tango performances.
- Çankaya Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi Concert Hall was founded in 1994.
The city has been host to several well-established, annual theatre, music, film festivals:
- Ankara International Music Festival, a music festival organized in the Turkish capital presenting classical music and ballet programmes.
Ankara is noted, within Turkey, for the multitude of universities it is home to. These include the following, several of them being among the most reputable in the country:
- Ankara University
- Başkent University
- TED University
- Altın Koza University
- Atılım University
- Turkish Aeronautical Association University
- Bilkent University
- Çankaya University
- Gazi University
- Hacettepe University
- Middle East Technical University
- TOBB University of Economics and Technology
- Turgut Özal University
- Ufuk University
- Yıldırım Beyazıt University
- Gülhane Military Medical Academy
- Turkish Military Academy
- Turkish National Police Academy
Ankara is home to a world famous domestic cat breed – the Turkish Angora, called Ankara kedisi (Ankara cat) in Turkish. Turkish Angoras are one of the ancient, naturally occurring cat breeds, having originated in Ankara and its surrounding region in central Anatolia.
They mostly have a white, silky, medium to long length coat, no undercoat and a fine bone structure. There seems to be a connection between the Angora Cats and Persians, and the Turkish Angora is also a distant cousin of the Turkish Van. Although they are known for their shimmery white coat, currently there are more than twenty varieties including black, blue and reddish fur. They come in tabby and tabby-white, along with smoke varieties, and are in every color other than pointed, lavender, and cinnamon (all of which would indicate breeding to an outcross.)
Eyes may be blue, green, or amber, or even one blue and one amber or green. The W gene which is responsible for the white coat and blue eye is closely related to the hearing ability, and the presence of a blue eye can indicate that the cat is deaf to the side the blue eye is located. However, a great many blue and odd-eyed white cats have normal hearing, and even deaf cats lead a very normal life if kept indoors.
Ears are pointed and large, eyes are almond shaped and the head is massive with a two plane profile. Another characteristic is the tail, which is often kept parallel to the back.
The Angora rabbit (Turkish: Ankara tavşanı) is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft hair. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara and its surrounding region in central Anatolia, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid-18th century, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 20th century. They are bred largely for their long Angora wool, which may be removed by shearing, combing, or plucking (gently pulling loose wool.)
Angoras are bred mainly for their wool because it is silky and soft. They have a humorous appearance, as they oddly resemble a fur ball. Most are calm and docile but should be handled carefully. Grooming is necessary to prevent the fiber from matting and felting on the rabbit. A condition called "wool block" is common in Angora rabbits and should be treated quickly. Sometimes they are shorn in the summer as the long fur can cause the rabbits to overheat.
This breed was first mentioned in the time of Moses, roughly in 1500 BC. The first Angora goats were brought to Europe by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, about 1554, but, like later imports, were not very successful. Angora goats were first introduced in the United States in 1849 by Dr. James P. Davis. Seven adult goats were a gift from Sultan Abdülmecid I in appreciation for his services and advice on the raising of cotton.
The fleece taken from an Angora goat is called mohair. A single goat produces between five and eight kilograms of hair per year. Angoras are shorn twice a year, unlike sheep, which are shorn only once. Angoras have high nutritional requirements due to their rapid hair growth. A poor quality diet will curtail mohair development. The United States, Turkey, and South Africa are the top producers of mohair.
For a long period of time, Angora goats were bred for their white coat. In 1998, the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association was set up to promote breeding of colored Angoras. Today, Angora goats produce white, black (deep black to greys and silver), red (the color fades significantly as the goat gets older), and brownish fiber.
Ankara image gallery
- Angora cat
- Angora goat
- Angora rabbit
- Ankara Agreement
- Ankara Arena
- Ankara Central Station
- Ankara Esenboğa International Airport
- Ankara Metro
- Ankara Province
- Ankara University
- Basil of Ancyra
- Battle of Ancyra
- Battle of Ankara
- Clement of Ancyra
- Gemellus of Ancyra
- List of hospitals in Ankara Province
- List of mayors of Ankara
- List of municipalities in Ankara Province
- List of people from Ankara
- List of tallest buildings in Ankara
- Marcellus of Ancyra
- Monumentum Ancyranum
- Nilus of Ancyra
- Roman Baths of Ankara
- Synod of Ancyra
- Theodotus of Ancyra (bishop)
- Theodotus of Ancyra (martyr)
- Timeline of Ankara
- Treaty of Ankara
- Victory Monument (Ankara)
References and notes
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- Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.4.1., "Ancyra was actually older even than that."
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- The citadel was depicted in the following Turkish banknotes:
- On the obverse of the 1 lira banknote of 1927–1939 (1. Emission Group – One Turkish Lira – I. Series).
- On the obverse of the 5 lira banknote of 1927–1937 (1. Emission Group – Five Turkish Lira – I. Series).
- On the reverse of the 10 lira banknote of 1927–1938 (1. Emission Group – Ten Turkish Lira – I. Series).
- On the reverse of the 10 lira banknote of 1938–1952 (2. Emission Group – Ten Turkish Lira – I. Series).
- On the reverse of the 100 lira banknotes of 1983–1989 (7. Emission Group – One Hundred Turkish Lira – I. Series & II. Series).
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