Ankara is the capital of Turkey and this sprawling metropolis in the heart of the country is its second largest city after Istanbul. Its unique cultural and historical landmarks make it an inspired choice for vacations, and thanks to the many foreign diplomats and international students in the city, you'll find services and goods that aren't readily available in other parts of the country.
The city found itself at the center of the Turkish war for independence when military commander Kemal Ataturk made it his base. The Anitkabir, the mausoleum of this national hero and first president of the Republic of Turkey is an essential stop for visitors today. Be sure to see the cenotaph of Ataturk's comrade and friend, General Ismet Inonu at the western colonnade as you approach the impressive courtyard and the Anitkabir itself.
The city was once little more than a village that had grown around its castle or citadel, where traders would sell textiles and carpets made from soft, local goat hair. The Angora goat got its name from the city, and you can still take a walk round the fortified hilltop citadel and Ankara Castle today. Its outer walls date from 800AD, and were built by the Byzantine emperor Michael II, and traders still sell carpets and good quality leather goods at the nearby covered market.
See the magnificent Kocatepe Mosque in the Kizilay district, it can be seen from almost any part of the city. Visit the Haci Bayram Mosque or explore Roman landmarks like the Temple of Augustus and Rome which is right next to the mosque. The Column of Julian is another reminder of Roman rule, while the Atakule Tower in the Cankaya district is one of the city's highest structures.
A strong diplomatic presence and the high number of students in the city means that there is plenty of entertainment, nightlife and other activities to appeal to all ages, and this friendly city is also a great stop off point on trips to Cappadocia or Konya.
Best Time to Fly to Ankara
The city is on a high plain in the center of the country, and it has hot, humid summers and winters that are cool and often snowy. The dry season - from June till October is considered the best time to visit, but April till May is also good and conditions are less humid than during peak months.
The cheapest time to visit is from November till March, but it is often cold and snowy. Unless you enjoy wintry conditions it may be better to consider April to June or October to November for a visit; flight prices are lower than at the peak period of June till September and it is mild and pleasant.
Getting around Ankara
It's easy to get around the city using the many local bus services. Fares are cheap and the buses cover all areas of the city as well as surrounding places of interest like Konya. There is a good metro or subway system that has four lines and covers the central part of the city, and there is also a light railway that serves the suburbs and outer part of Ankara. You can also take a 'dolmus' or mini bus taxi from several locations, and licensed taxis are readily available. You'll find taxis easily at the main station and at busy locations like local markets.