September 2010
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ANKARA: An Ancient Beauty, the capital of Turkey




Ankara is the capital of Turkey, the second largest city of the country after Istanbul. The city of Ankara is situated at an elevation of about 850 on the eastern edge of the great Anatolian Plateau. The population of the city is about 4.5 million people, excluding people from nearby provinces. Centrally located in Anatolia, it is a strategic centre of trade and commerce. It is home to the Turkish Government and all foreign diplomatic missions and embassies in the country. Ankara is an ancient city. It has gone by several names in history; the Hittites named it Ankuwash before 1200BC. The Romans called it Ancyra. It has a long history of being conquered and ruled again and again by different rulers and empires, the Roman Empire, the Goths, the Arabs, and the Mongols etc. The city has a number of Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Hellenistic and Ottoman archaeological sites which reminds one of the ancientness of the place. The city is overlooked by a hill that survives the ruins of the old castle adding to the picturesqueness of the view of the city. The temple of Augustus and Rome are the most remarkable remaining ancient architectural structures in Ankara.
But Ankara is not all about ancient architectural sites and historical places. It is a city with a touch of the mystical east and the modernism of the 21st century. It’s a big university town and you would find most of the streets of Kizilay and bars of Sakarya flooded with students of all countries. There are a number of expats living in Ankara, giving it a very western feel. For tourists there is everything one would expect. Ulus, the old town, is the main attraction, with narrow lanes, restored ancient building and restaurants with amazing food. The Museums, ancient sites, antique and souvenir shops, rich local cuisine and a chance to live history, Ankara is a place for the adventurous and inquisitive.

Best time to visit /climate:

The best time to visit Ankara would be during spring and autumn which is between June and September, to enjoy favourable weather conditions. The climate of Ankara is a combination of continental and Mediterranean climates. The winters are cold and rainy and the summers are very hot with temperatures ranging between 28 degree C and 30 degrees C, and sometimes reaching 45 degrees C.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

HOW TO GET THERE:

Not many international flights fly directly into Ankara, in comparison to Istanbul. Lufthansa is the only regular flyer. So, if coming by plane internationally, it would be better to fly to Istanbul first. From Istanbul you can get internal local flights to Ankara. And as everywhere else, buses and trains are also available. Contact your local travel and tours provider to explore your options.

PLACES TO STAY (HOTELS / RESTAURANTS ALONG WITH WEBSITE / CONTACT NUMBERS):

Ankara has a lot of three, four and five star hotels. Some of the prominent ones are:

1. Ankara Hilton SA (5 star)
Tahran Caddesi No 12 |Kavaklidere, Ankara 06700, Turkey
Tel: (0312) 455 00 00
2. Divan Hotel Moment Ankara (4 star)
Tunali Hilmi Caddesi Guniz Sok No: 42 | Kavaklidere, Ankara 06700, Turkey
3. Sheraton Hotel & Convention Center Ankara (5 star)
Noktali Sokak Kavaklidere, Ankara 06700, Turkey
4. No.19 Boutique Hotel (4 star)
Birlik Mahallesi 457.Sokak No.19
Çankaya – ANKARA
Tel : +90 (312) 495 00 00

If you are looking for budget accommodation, there are plenty of three star hotels available. Check online for more information. Some quality three star hotels are given below:

5. Maltepe 2000 Hotel Ankara (3 star)
Gulseren Sokak 4, Ankara TR-06570

6. Anitpark Hotel Ankara (3 star)
Gmk Bulvari Kubilay Sok. No 45 Anittepe, Ankara

7. Deniz Atlanta Hotel Ankara (3 star)
Necatibey Street No 28 Kyzylay, Ankara

In places to eat you would find everything in Ankara like Burger King, KFC, TGI Friday’s etc. There are a number of restaurants serving delicious Turkish cuisine like Iskender; a local speciality (spit cooked sliced lamb with tomato, yoghurt and butter). The street food in Kizilay is mouth watering. Besides these, there are a number of fancy restaurants selling at slightly higher prices.
There is one thing to note, that you won’t find cuisines of other countries in Ankara. Though some may claim to be selling so, but it may not be the real deal. Sea food is something that is also quite popular and freely available. Besides restaurants there are a number of cafes, bars and bistros. Some popular restaurants are given below:

1. ULUDAG KEBAPCISI
Cuisines: Turkish
Denizciler cad, Ankara, Turkey
2. Tike Kavaklidere
Cuisines: International, Turkish
Billur Sokak No 17/2 Ankara, Turkey
(0312) 426 01 41 |
3. Trilye Restaurant
Cuisines: Seafood

BLOGS / SITES ABOUT ANKARA (WITH SMALL EXCERPTS FROM THESE BLOGS):

1. A brief history: Turkish history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankara)
“In 1071, the Turkish Seljuk Sultan Alparslan conquered much of eastern and central Anatolia after his victory at the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt). He then annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to his territory in 1073. After the Battle of Köseda? 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.”

2. Things to do in Ankara: (http://www.venere.com/blog/ankara-things-to-do/)
“As you rise above the banks of the Enguri Su climbing the rather steep incline, you finally arrive in the city of Ankara the capital and the second largest population in Turkey. Despite the modernization that has occurred over the past few decades, it is still dotted with reminders of its past history. Today, Ankara is filled with a bustling nightlife, consulates, government and state houses, military bases, and universities just like any major metropolitan area.Conversely, there are so many structures that remind you where Ankara had its place in ancient and past history. Byzantine, Hellenistic, Hittite, Ottoman, Phrygian, and Roman castles as well as other ruins and structures from these civilizations still adorn the surrounding landscape. So you can be sure that Ankara has held a very prominent place in past history. Here is a listing of some of the more popular visitor’s delights in Ankara.
Top 3 Ankara Museums
If museums are what you crave there are three that are a must-see in Ankara:
• The Enthography Museum – located near Ankara Castle
• The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations – a display of artifacts from the Ottoman Empire is the main attraction
• The State Art and Sculpture Museum – features Turkish artwork from the 1800’s to modern day”

3. Ankara on Wiki-travel: (http://wikitravel.org/en/Ankara)
“The locals are generally helpful to tourists, and many young people can communicate in English. Although most people will try to speak English with you, it’s a good idea to bring a Turkish phrasebook or dictionary. Ankara is the administrative center of Turkey and a huge university town such that most of its inhabitants consist of civil servants, students and academics.”

4. Map of Ankara: http://maps.turkeyodyssey.com/road_map/images/ankara_city_map.jpg

Photo Gallery:
Various pictures of Ankara by a traveler:
http://www.pbase.com/helenpb/return_to_ankara
Pictures of Ankara City: http://www.worldturkey.com/gallery/categories.php?cat_id=12&sessionid=58a14d06790cb40867a148d4c148fdc4

You Tube Videos:
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