Ankara is Turkey’s capital and the second largest city in the country. The hill overlooking the city is filled with ruins of the old castle. Important Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman buildings have also survived over the centuries. Around the city, there are important archeological sites dating from different periods.
Located in center Anatolia, Ankara stands on a rocky hill above the plain on the left of the Enguri Su.
How to get to Ankara
Ankara Esenboğa International Airport (ESB) is the city’s international airport, although international flights aren’t very frequent. Among the airlines flying into Ankara we can list: Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, British Airways and Iran Air.
Most international travelers arrive in Istanbul and then take a domestic flight to Ankara.
Ankara is also linked to Istanbul by train. The journey takes about 6-7 hours.
Buses are much faster than trains in Turkey hence a good alternative to get to Ankara is via one of the buses which link most of the Turkish cities to the capital.
Ankara has a harsh, dry continental climate. The winters are cold and snowy while the summers are hot and dry. Rainfall occurs mostly in the spring and autumn.
July and August are the hottest months, the average high temperatures during the day being 28 C/ 83 F. The highest ever temperature recorded in Ankara was 42 C/ 108 F in August.
January and February are the coldest months, the average low temperatures during the day being -6.7 C/ 20 F . The lowest ever temperature recorded in Ankara was -31C / -24 F both in January and February.
Things to do
Important Roman ruins are located in the Ulus quarter. Temple of Augustus is the most important Roman archeological site. Roman Bath is also located in the Ulus quarter. It’s a typical Roman bath but today only the basement and the first floor remain.
Ankara Citadel is the oldest part of the capital. With the citadel, many restored Turkish traditional houses are now restaurants, serving local cuisine and entertaining guests with traditional Turkish music.
You should also visit Anıtkabir (photo left) is located in the Anıttepe quarter of the city and houses the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Near-by there is a museum comprising a wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items (including photos).
Shopping is also one of the favorite ways of spending time in the city. The Bazaar of Coppersmiths is particularly preferred to search for jewelry.
If you plan to relax there are several parks in Ankara.
When you feel hungry look for a place where you can eat “döner kebap”. It’s the best-known dish in Ankara. Also fish is a good choice.
- Most of the locals will try to speak English with you so it’s rather easy to communicate. However, bringing a Turkish phrase book is also a good idea.
- Formerly known as Angora, Ankara is famous of the Angora goat wool, Angora cat, Angora white rabbits, honey, pears and grapes. Buying an Agora wool pullover is probably the best souvenir you can get from Ankara.