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.
Sihhiye, with Abdi Ipekci Parki, is in the central part of the city and a great location to visit. One might argue that it is the real heart since it's right between Kizilay, the modern commercial centre of the city and nearby Ulus, the older early Republican centre of the city and home to a great many government buildings and ministries. The park is nice and Sihhiye is home to two of Ankara's most famous landmarks, the giant modern Hatti/Hittite monument in the centre of Ataturk Bulvari, and the statue I know simply as Eller ("The Hands"), a pair of giant hands sticking out of the ground. Regardless of whether one actually likes the latter, I doubt anyone could dispute that it is at the very least a very striking monument and to me it evokes a very strong emotional feeling. Some find it simply scary and creepy, others find it evokes a feeling of anguish or pain or longing, others simply find it striking.
Gul baba (Father of Roses) is a famous Bektaschi Derwish buried in Budapest. (See my Budapest pages) He is very famous and respected that there are 20 graves in Istanbul called Gul Baba. (see my Istanbul pages) There are 18 Gul Baba graves in verious parts of Turkey. The Grave of Gul Baba is in Ulus district just 100 meters downhill from the Haci Bayram Mosque and Augustus Temple.The famous Hungarian Turkologist Dr. Ignacz Kúnos (1862-1945) surveyed many Turkish folk tales, songs and stories during his trips to Ottoman Turkey and published them in Budapest/Hungary between the years 1887-1905. He also wrote five tales that are claimed as if they were told by Gül Baba. He called him Kel Baba /Bald Father)
The tales are : The Place of the Cats, The Well of Ali, The Little Watermelone, The Jewel of the Passion.
This mosque is the newest mosque in Ankara, and is possibly one of the largest mosques in the world!
Building work started in 1967, and was completed in 1987.
Although it is a modern building, it is designed on classic Ottoman style, with 4 minarets, domes and half domes.
There is some resemblance to the Selimiye Camii of Edirne (minarets) and the Blue Mosques' domes.
The Mosque complex also contains a car park and supermarket, and has a capacity to hold up to 20,000 worshippers.
The outline of the mosque is now Ankara's logo.
When I visited this mosque, I was accompanied by Ahmed. Before entering, he washed his hands, face and feet at the ablutions fountain.
Inside, light streamed through the windows onto the tiled domes. I thought the building was stunning, being quite light , cool and airy, with its intricate artwork and colourful stained glass windows.. We were the only people visiting, so it was easy to appreciate the vastness, and to feel quite small and humble.
In fact, this place had more of an effect on me than The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, probably, because The Blue Mosque has always been full of tour groups when I've visited
I would like to visit this Mosque again one day.
Genclik Park is also known as the Childrens or Youth Park, and is the oldest Park in Ankara.
It opened in 1943, after being reclaimed from Marshland, as part of Ataturks plans for developing the new city.
The lake and gardens were created to give the citizens of Ankara, a place to enjoy nature, and was/is a popular place for families to visit. The park stretches for 38 hectares
On the lake is an attractive fountain, with rowing boats and pedaloes. Cafes and tea gardens, a permanent amusement park, (with roller coasters etc.) and a wedding house are some of the attractions.
At weekends, the park is popular with off duty soldiers, strolling around in their various uniforms, eyeing up the passing females, or enjoying a game of football showing on TV screens in the open air cafes, whilst enjoying a glass of cay, or tea from a Russian style samovar. It's also a place to view wedding parties.
Until recently, this was a place to enjoy a cool draught Efes, at one of the open air bars, but at present the park is closed for renovation.
Apparently a sign has appeared on the gates, stating that consumption of alcohol is forbidden in the park, and when it re-opens later in 2006, the bars will no longer be there. This has caused some ill feeling amongst the citizens of this secular country, where alcohol is legal, and Rakki is considered to be the national drink!
I'm not sure if the park has re-opened yet, or if it has, if alcohol can be consumed again.
The Museum of Liberation: The museum is close to Ulus Square in a building that was originally the first parliament building of the Turkish Republic. The War of Liberation and revolutions were planned here by Atatürk and other parliamenters. Buildin opened at 23rd april 1920. Now there are wax figures and photographs about Turkish republic.
(Open every day, except Monday).
Ankara Opera House (Turkish: Opera Sahnesi) of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet is the largest of the three venues for opera and ballet in Ankara, Turkey, the other two being Leyla Gencer Sahnesi in Ostim and Operet Sahnesi in Sıhhiye.
The building was originally designed by the Turkish architect Şevki Balmumcu as an exhibition center, who came first in an international competition for the project in 1933. It was later converted into an opera house by the German architect Paul Bonatz, and started serving this function on April 2, 1948.
The same building also serves as a theatre venue for the Turkish State Theatres under the name Büyük Tiyatro. The construction of a new main opera house for Ankara, in the vicinity of the original and of considerably larger capacity, is underway since 2005.
Open on Sunday afternoons from 13:30 to 17.30 and on National holidays from12:30 to 17:30
For group visits please send a fax for appointment.
This museum is in the grounds of the Presidential Palace in Çankaya. The building was used as Presidential Mansion until 1932. The ceilings have the most beautiful examples of Turkish embellish art and the furniture of that period is preserved here.
Open everyday from 09:30 to 17:30
This Natural History Museum can be found on the grounds of the MTA on Eskisehir road outside Ankara. The Museum, founded in 1935 by MTA (Mineral Research and Exploration) under Atatürk's directives, opened its doors to the scientific world and to the public in 1968. Materials collected from geologic, mineralogical, and paleontological research and study are exhibited in this 4,000-square-meter museum.
Open everyday from 09:00 to 17:00.
Construction of the complex began in 1981; the 100th Anniversary of Atatürk's birth, and it was opened for service in 1987. The three-story museum is in the middle and comprises two sections: "The Museum of the War of Independence and Atatürk's Revolutions", and "The Museum of Science, Technology and Natural History".
On the first story, the reliefs on the walls depict scenes from the War of Independence and the revolutions, and feature quotations from Atatürk's on the topics of republic, independence, youth and art. The reliefs can be partially or completely illuminated, and audiovisual shows can be performed. These shows are in Turkish, English, German and French.
The Museum of Science, Technology and Natural History was established in collaboration with TUBİTAK (The Scientific Technical and Research Council of Turkey) and displays, among other things, various scientific and technical models, pictures, slides, videos and maps.
Open week days between 09:30 - 17:30
The historical building, which was the property of General Staff in 1920ies is now State Meteorology Directorate and equipped with modern devices and serves more than 1100 stations.
The room that Atatürk stayed and prepared the plans of Independence War is now a museum; "Atatürk Odası" and preserved as it is.
Moreover several old devices used in measuring meteorological parameters and their progress parallel to the technological developments can be followed. There are also observation records written in Arabic. As you may know The Turks have used Arabic alphabet until 1928, when Latin alphabet was adapted.
Ziraat Bankası General Directora building was built by Italian architecture Guilio Mongeri between 1926 and 1929. It is converted to museum at the 118th anniversary of the bank being the first bank museum.
The calculators and typing machines used at the General Directorate and the branches, crystal inkwell set, telephone sets, various gold and letter scales, bank door plates are among the valuable objects exhibited. Moreover important documents such as old inspection inventories and reports, circulars of signature, copy notebooks for communication used 60-70 years ago substituting today's photocopy, samples of saving and deposit bank books are in the collection of museum.
Open Weekdays 09.00 - 17.00
Ankara Railway Station is an important center with not only being a spot of intercity transfer but also with its enlightening Ankara’s history. As soon as you set foot the walls of his stone building whisper to your ear that the operation plans of Independence War had been prepared there.
The four museums of the station take you through a journey on Turkish railway history beginning from September 23, 1856, the establishment date of railways, to the fast trains of 2000s.
The three story stone building, built for station services during the Baghdad railway construction, has been assigned to Atatürk when he arrived Ankara on December 27, 1919. Between 1920-1922 the operation plans of independence War has been prepared, many agreements and signature ceremonies were held in this building. Above all the decision of forming Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (National Assembly) was also taken in this historical building.
The ground floor is now a museum. The coach Atatürk used to travel through the country is being exhibited next to the museum. The other museum of this station is TCDD (Turkish State Railways) Museum. The most interesting part of the station is the steam locomotives approaching from the history!!!
Recently famous Turkish jazz performers give concerts at this historical station on October 29 (Republic Day). We strongly recommend you to attend those concerts. Although crowded, you can spend cheerful time. Besides you can have warm wine and sandwiches from the stands of the cafes set for this occasion.
If you have images about Turkey such as “Midnight Express” we recommend you to visit Ankara Railway Station. You’ll have the chance to see all “expresses” traveling to different corners. You can watch Turkish people while sipping a cup of Turkish coffee in the historical restaurant of the station.
Traveling by rail is quite pleasing for those who have no hurry. Especially when you are dining in the restaurant or sipping a glass of wine the nonstop changing panorama, swiftly flowing rails, roads running parallel to railway will sure make the journey a pleasure.
Caution: The most important point you should take into consideration when traveling by rail is never and never accepting beverage or food from people you don’t know. Lately, although rare, robberies by mixing barbiturate to food and beverage are common. Therefore it’s better to be careful!!! Also as in all over the world take your valuables with you when leaving your seat or compartment.
From time to time TCDD arranges tours in Turkey with seam train. For further information on these tours just call (312) 309 05 15 and 311 06 20.
This house, a replica of the house where Atatürk was born in Salonica, Greece, was built in Atatürk Orman Çiftliği and converted into a museum in 1981. After the founding of the Turkish Republic, Atatürk immediately began reform movements in various fields to raise Turkey to the level of developed countries. Agriculture was one of those fields, and he ordered the establishment of sample farms throughout the country, Atatürk Orman Çiftliği in Ankara being the first one founded in 1925 and named after him.
Open everyday from 09:00 to 17:00
Atatürk's Residence is the building Atatürk used as an Ankara headquarters during The Independence War (1919-1922) when he comes to Ankara. Many important affairs of state, both domestic and foreign, were decided here - not the least of which were operational plans for the war itself. The building was renovated and converted to a museum in 1964.
Atatürk's personal study, meeting rooms and bedroom are located on the second floor of this two-story museum. The lower floor is divided into five sections exhibiting artifacts and documents from as early as 1858. The first section highlights fine commemorative medals, switches and silverware used in dining cars. The second area features a collection of seals, diplomas, identification cards, and a functioning model of a steam locomotive presented by theGerman Railway Directorate. The third section houses a gold plated miniature carriage presented to Sultan Abdülaziz by the British crown. This carriage is complemented by the Sultan's mother-of-pearl embellished study table and wall-clocks. The models of locomotives and carriages used in the Railway system are all in the fourth section. The last section displays the telegraph and telephone equipment used in the Ottoman.
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