Ankara has been the capital of Turkey since the country became a republic in 1923. In its central location, Ankara is a hub of activity. Railways and roads, traditional culture and modern architecture, all converge in this diverse and fascinating city. The site of Ankara has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Its long history has seen the city occupied by the Greeks (under Alexander the Great), the Romans and the Byzantines to name but a few. Today the city is divided into two parts: Ulus, the older quarter, full of meandering alleys and ancient buildings; and Yenişehir, which has been developed since 1923. Ankara is also host to more than ten of Turkey’s most prominent Universities.


Ankara is built around an imposing hill top citadel. Commanding incredible views of the city, the citadel is well worth a visit. There is also the opportunity to soak up Roman and Galatian architecture, and relax in the numerous restaurants and cafés that have setup inside its walls.

Most of Ankara’s other historical and archaeological attractions can be found in the Ulus quarter. Highlights include the two thousand year old Temple of Augustus, The Column of Julian, and the Roman Baths. The winding streets of Ulus are also dotted with beautiful and statuesque Mosques.

Ankara is a city of contrasts, and amongst the ancient monuments and ruins you will find a diversity of striking modern architecture. Located in the centre of the city is Antikabir, the Mausoleum of the Republic of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This imposing colonnaded building was completed in 1953 and is definitely deserving of a visit. On some evenings there is a spectacular sound and light display here. The Monument to a Secure, Confident Future, built in 1935, and the Victory Monument, built in 1927, both pay homage to Atatürk and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

The vast Kocatepe Mosque, in the centre of Ankara, was finished only in 1987. This contemporary building is constructed in mimicry of the architecture of the ancient Ottoman mosques. Its four towering minarets can be seen for miles around.

Ankara is also a very green city, with peaceful parks and gardens dotted around its bustling centre. Of especial interest is the beautiful Kugulu Park, featuring swans donated to the city by the Chinese government. The city’s many parks are perfect for walking, picnicking, or relaxing with the whole family. The zoo at Atatürk Orman Ciftligi (Ataturk’s Farm) is within the city, and can be particularly fun for children, while adults might enjoy its traditional brewery.


Ankara’s two distinct halves have produced two distinct shopping experiences. In Ulus you will find a multitude of small, traditional shops selling hand-woven rugs, clothes, and fabrics. There are also open markets where local farmers sell their fresh food and produce. Meanwhile Kizılay, in the Yenişehir quarter, possesses an abundance of modern shops, malls and department stores, clustered around the tall Atakule Tower, complete with its revolving restaurant. There are also large shopping malls and developments on the western fringes of the city.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Ankara is a Muslim city, but there is a fairly relaxed attitude towards alcohol. There are an assortment of pubs and bars in the centre of the city. Many of these establishments are themed, and some are aimed particularly at British ex-pats and holidaymakers. A few bars put on discos and live music as well as food and drink.

There is ample opportunity for eating out in Ankara. Restaurants serving an accessible international menu are plentiful. For the more adventurous there are many places serving more traditional Turkish Meze, Iskender and fish dishes. For a lighter snack, you will find many street vendors in Kizılay serving kebabs, pide (a kind of pizza), and other national dishes.

Tourist Information

Merkez Tourism Info.OfficeGazi Mustafa Kemal Bulvarı No:121 06570 Maltepe/Ankara.Tel: (312) 231 55 72 Fax: (312) 231 55 72


Esenboga International Airport is approximately 33km away from the town centre. Buses and taxis are available to and from the airport.