Pirinç Han and around
In the old neighbourhood on the steep slopes below Ankara Castle, Pirinç Han is a restored inn with several souvenir shops, artist workshops and antiques stores on three levels, overlooking a great little gözleme cafe in the courtyard below. For those not in the know, gözleme is a type of hot savoury crepe I suppose, usually filled with white cheese and herbs, but this place had about ten different fillings on offer, from aubergine to wild mushroom.
In the surrounding streets, look out for a couple of Selçuk mosques, as well as a Selçuk era tomb set in a little square beneath a tree. The area is filled with antique and carpet shops, clearly aimed at tourists, but there was absolutely no pressure to buy anything...in fact I can say I was positively ignored as İ wandered through.
Haci Bayram Mahallesi
The area around the Temple of Augustus must have been a historical neighbourhood once, and judging from the billboards in the square, it had become a bit run down. Well, the city authorities are in the process of a clean-up operation, knocking down some buildings, renovating others, and creating a sort of Ottoman toy-town. It sort of works, but I do wonder where the original inhabitants went, and whether it will prove to be a successful project or not. At the moment, the buildings are impressively renovated but it all looks too new, and a bit sterile too as new businesses haven't really flocked to the area. A couple of streets have been completed, filled mainly with lighting shops and the odd cafe, and it looks like there are plans to repeat this on a huge scale.
Ataturk is the "father" of modern Turkey, which tried to immortalize him in Ankara.
His memorial is a big and austere ensemble, dominating the city.
The tribute to the modernity he introduced in the country is respected in the modern lines and conception of the monument, somewhat cold and empty for my taste.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
The location of your hotel is very near universities campus area - 200-300 meters from Ankara University and about 1 km from Gazi University. so, there are a lot of Tea/nargile places around. Or a little bit far away-you can go Bahçelievler- 7.street. This is also safe area.
You can walk to Kızılay from your hotel as well. It takes app. 30 minutes. Do not enter any relatively dangerous "Night Clubs" for tourists while walking to Kızılay. Or you can get there by Ankaray 5 minutes. (Green Metro)
In Kızılay you can find anything you want. (restaurants, bars, any kind of live music) But please be informed that Kızılay's night life or restraunts is for middle class and for students. And be always careful if you drunk lot. You can also go Tunalı-Bestekar street from Kızılay if you dont like Kızılay. But expensive night lifes are in Cankaya, Cukurambar, Umitkoy region in Ankara.
The Ankara museum of foundational works museum
Original name is: Ankara Vakif eserleri müzesi. This bina builded at 1927 as a primary school. But it was college of law from 1928 to 1941. You may see very nice carpets, rugs, candlesticks, wooden art samples, old books, Qur'ans, cameras,wooden mosque clocks, ceramics from every part of Turkey from different centuries.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Ankara at night
First you may watch this short film:
(It shows better to Ankara. :-))
Ankara's night life is not like Istanbul but you may find many bars etc. in many places. I advice to walk around at Sakarya street. (At Kizilay) You may go to "Turku" cafes too... I f you ask, I can say some names in different areas. (They may always change, so it is better not to write here.)
This is an area that I didnt know anything about it before. It seems the local authorities put all their effort and passion about their district and managed to bring back to life an old, poor neighborhood where most of the old houses were in decadence for many years.
It’s really amazing how good the restoration program was, you can now walk at the pedestrianized streets and enjoy the picturesque restored houses(pics 1-2-3). In some places there are pictures on info boards where you can see how a street was before and after restoration. Well done to the architectures!
Hopefully, I have a big memory card because I couldnt stop taking pictures of every small detail and corner. We also entered in some beautiful inner yards (pic 4) where some little boutique stores or small cafes where you can have a coffee/tea break but what I loved most was small details like a window with some flowers (pic 5)
No surprise that we saw many TV channels shooting scenes for films or local soap operas :)Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
Mosques and hamam at Hamamonu!
The main reason we visited Hamamonu was that our local friend suggested this is a great area to find a hamam. Historically, there were always hamams here so we visited.
One of the best is Karacabey Hamami (tel:3102255) which is located at Talatpasa Blv (pic 1) opposite a nice small square with a clock tower (pic 2)where some locals were dancing! The was a group of 5 young people singing traditional songs (maybe Kurdish, cant really tell). The funny thing is that when we took a better look (pic 3) we realized that some of them didn’t play with normal instruments but they were using things like a box from chips, a comb etc
Then we decided to skip the hamam thing because we were excited with the area and the beautifully restored house (see previous tip) and we started to check the mosques of the area…
Right next to Oncology hospital we saw Hacettepe mosque that dates from 14th century and further inside the district we saw Taceddin Sultan mosque from 1610 although with no special interior. There is a also an open air green area, a small park that houses Haci Musa mosque but we didn’t check from close distance to find more details about it.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Hittite Sun Disk Monument
The first emblem of Ankara was the Hittite sun disk (figures of bulls and stags). You can see original figures at the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations but I’m writing this tip because I saw a huge monument in the middle of the street! Thanks to the heavy traffic in Ankara we were driving slowly so I had the chance to take a quick picture of it (pic 1) because it’s very difficult to stop there and walk near the monument.
It is located at Sihhiye district (from the word “sihhat” that means health, the area houses many hospitals by the way) which is the crosspoint between the rich south area of Kizilay and the poor north area of Ulus. The long motorways that passing by the monument don’t allow the visitor to enjoy the monument, not even have some moments to think about it. I wonder if even some locals know anything about it.
The monument was established in 1978 by the municipal leader Vedat Dalokay that wanted to give a symbol to the city and an answer to those who were describing Ankara as a city with no history. It seems no one agreed, the nationalists didn’t like the idea of a Pre-Turkish symbol and the islamists the idea of a pre-muslim symbol!
It was about 4000 years when the Hittites came to Anatolia, created a powerful kingdom although we don’t have much knowledge about them except some reference in the Old Testament or some other records from Egypt and Assyria. Their capital was 240km east of Ankara at Hattusas(now known as Bogazkoy). In many tombs have been found the sun disks that probably had some ritual significance as they were adorned with figures of sacred stags and bulls.
Opposite the monument is the Abdi Ipekci park but we didn’t have time for that. I've read that many protest take place there.Related to:
- Historical Travel
METU-Science and Technology Museum
It is a very new museum opened in Middle East Technical Campus( at September 2005) It is very close to my work-place, so i had an oppurtunity to see all the work done for the costruction of the museum and finally, i visited there when they finished. I find its architecture very intersting. They constructed a round metal building on the middle of the land, it looks like an UFO. It was hard to find the door when i went to visit there. I was surprised when i saw that they were able to hang a helicopter on the ceiling of this small building. They exhibit all sorts of materials that are not used in the university anymore (old cameras, typewriters, computers, optic instruments, experiment instruments, etc.). In addition to that, they have old planes, a train locomotive and automobiles in the garden. There is also another building nearby. It looks like an acquarium. It is a small museum cafe and it is very crowded during lunch time. I learned that they are planing to growing the museum much more and they want to create a small lake in front of it over the years.
If you visit METU campus someday, i receommend you to visit the museum if you have time. You might enjoy it. Please remember that it is very close to "Bilkent" entrance of the university campus.
There is no entrance fee for the museum. It is open everyday except Mondays.Related to:
- Museum Visits
King Midas Burial Mound
Without a doubt, the largest mound in Gordion was that covering the tomb of King Midas. It is 53 m (174 ft) high and 300 m (984 ft) wide.
The large, almost square-shaped burial chamber is 6.2 m (20 ft) long and 5.15 m (17 ft) wide. The skeleton of King Midas was laid on a large bench, surrounded by other benches on which lay various gifts for the afterworld. Close observation of the skeleton revealed that King Midas died when he was around 60 years old, and that he was quite short in stature, 1.59 m (5 ft). Found on the floor of the tomb chamber were 166 bronze funeral gifts that most likely fell off the nine tables and walls. In addition, there were also 145 bronze fibula laid at the head of the deceased.
Karacabey hamami (Turkish bath)
This Turkish bath is one of the oldest building of Ankara. It was built by Karacabey in 1440. Constituting important part of the Karacabey Kulliye, rectangular Karacabey bath edifice embodies joint dress-change rooms in the west, sweating rooms in the east part of the building with different architectural style. There are men and women parts. It is bigger than Sengul hamami. This area's name is "Hamamönü" because of this building. For finding here first you may find Hacettepe hospital. You may walk near of it, from Talatpasa boulevard. In 3-5 minutes you will see the hamam on your left.
Turkish Bath+Massage+Kese=25 YTL(June 2009)
Open hours: 07:30 - 19:30 ( A bit more for men)
Sengül hamami (Turkish bath)
This is a Turkish bath from 16.cc. Clean and interesting hamam. There are women and men parts. Some women can help for washing yourself and massage. I advice. It is cheap. I go there once a month.
If you go a bit right before the hamam you may reach to old Jewish houses and sinagog.
Open hours: 07:30 - 19:30 ( A bit more for men)
Attention: It is under renovation now. (June 2009)
If you get a chance, I recommend you to see the lake. It is very interesting experience to walk on the endless salt:)). On the other hand it hasn't got a direct transportation as I know. You have to go to Sereflikochisar town by bus(good service from Ankara to there) and then take a taxi to go the lake or rent a car from Ankara. It's located 170 km. south of Ankara.
Hattusa - Hittite Ruins in Bogazkale
Although in the village of Bogazkale, the ruins of the Hittite roughly 3,500 year-old capital Hattusa are an easy and pleasant day trip from Ankara. The site is east of Ankara and when we were there in mid-February, in our minivan (necessary because we were four people plus our friends), it took us a pleasant and easy drive of 2 hours, 45 minutes from our hotel in Kizilay.
The worst and slowest part of the drive was from Kizilay in the heart of Ankara to Kirikkale, especially the area around the town of Elmadag. This was in part because of the traffic and because various parts of the road were under repair. East of Kirikkale, the road is excellent, a nice, smooth divided multi-lane highway, and traffic exceedingly light. Even the road off the Ankara-Samsun highway going directly through Bogazkale itself is a perfectly good road. The countryside is interesting and mostly very gentle, with some craggy rocky areas interspersed, especially closer to Bogazkale and overall the drive is easy.
The ruins themselves, with Hattusa proper as well as the city's sanctuary nearby, called Yazilikaya, are extensive and require a good several hours to explore, even with a car. The best way to go, if you can do it, is with your own car. Not only is the drive easiy and pleasant, making a nice road trip, but this gives felxibility and the Hattusa site itself is laid out with a nice one-way street circumnavigating it, allowing easy, quick travel in the very large, hilly complex of ruins. Since it was exceedingly windy when we were there, having a car also made it more pleasant. If you lack a car, unless you hire a taxi, exploring the ruins would take far too long to do a day drip from Ankara.
The signs allowing the entire route are clear and everything is well marked, from the signs in Ankara showing the way to Samsun, to the signs showing where to turn off the highway to go to Bogazkale and Hattusa, to the signs in Bogazkale showing where to go to Hattusa and Yazilikaya.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
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