Discover the best spots to visit in the capital of Turkey as well as how to arrive in public transportation from the airport to the city centre.
15.000 was the number of citizens of Ankara when the Republic of Turkey was established after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the I World War. Even so, the city was designated as the new capital of the country, relieving Istanbul of that privilege. Situated in the centre of the country and far from the coastline, it was less exposed in case of another war.
This new status brought a demographic, economic and urbanistic boom. This last one is specially explicit, with an old town with narrow streets and lot of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman buildings and the rest of the city, with wide avenues, government buildings and embassies, and lot of Atatürk portraits!.
The name of the city comes from the Greek word 'Ankyra' (anchor), that was chosen due to the strategic position of the city in the commercial routes departing from the Black Sea and Crimea, in the north; Assyria, Cypris and Lebanon, in the south, and Armenia, Georgia and Persia, in the east. Later on and with the arrival of the Romans, Ankara managed to keep its importance, since the Roman roads that crossed Anatolia from north to south and west to east went rhough the city.
(all the pictures shown in this post are mine and they are geolocated, so clicking on them will bring you to the exact location where they have been taken)
Places to visit
1. Ankara Castle
The fortification is thought to be dated from the 7th century but the most relevant of the visit is not the castle itself but the panoramic views that can be enjoyed from the walls. The skyline of Ankara is weird but cool.
2. Atatürk statue
Atatürk was the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, so it is not unusual that portraits and statues of him can be seen in almost every corner of the city -that was appointed as a capital by his decision-.
3. Atatürk mausoleum
Atatürk's remains are on this mausoleum, the most popular landmark of the city and a 'must visit'. It was completed in 1953 using only Turkish stones and marbles. The entry is free of charge.
4. Museum of Independence
This museum is located near the mausoleum of Atatürk and is, as well, free of charge. It displays relevant photographs and documents from the Turkish War of Independence.
5. Central Station
Inaugurated in 2016, the railway station plays an important role in the transportation system of the city. From here you can take the high-speed train that connects Ankara with Istanbul in only three hours and a half.
6. Kocatepe Mosque
It is the largest mosque in Ankara and an amazing piece of neo-classical Ottoman architecture. As all the other mosques in the country, the entry is free of charge but is subject to some rules, like dressing conservatively and taking off your shoes.
How to arrive with public transportation from the airport to the city centre
If you arrive to Ankara flying to Esenboga Airport you have to know that there is a public bus that connects the airport with the Asti station. The service is provided by Havabus and it costs only 12 TRY (less than two euros). From Asti Terminal to the old town a taxi ride should be around 30 TRY (3-4 euros). There is no Uber nor any other app and most the taxi drivers only accept payments in cash.
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