With centuries-old architecture, bustling markets, café culture and archaeology museums, Ankara’s attractions are varied and showcased with pride. Turkey’s capital city sits in the heart of the country and thrives on its European and Middle Eastern influences.
A good place to start your visit is in the historic quarter of Ulus. Discover antique stores, bazaars and Roman Baths from the 3rd century. Visit the elegant Haci Bayram Mosque and investigate the impressive Monumentum Ancyranum (aka Temple of Augustus and Rome). Spot archaeological relics dating back to the Paleolithic Age at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Experience Ottoman-era village life within the Ankara Citadel, with fortified walls encircling the oldest part of the city. Wander the citadel’s winding cobblestone lanes to find restaurants and time-honored coffeehouses set inside wood-beamed mansions. Sip a Turkish coffee while watching locals play chess and backgammon. Climb the steps of the Ak Kale fort and Sark Kulesi tower for panoramic city views.
Take a break from the busy historic quarters and relax amid the peaceful confines of Gençlik Park. Enjoy lake views, ride a paddleboat or visit a tea garden. Kids can have fun on the rides of the small amusement park. Learn about Turkish cultures at the nearby Ethnography Museum and see local art at the State Art and Sculpture Museum. Don’t miss the chance to visit Anıtkabir, the colonnaded mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkey.
Go to Kızılay Square, Ankara’s political center and the site of protests and demonstrations. Find street vendors, restaurants and pubs along the streets that lead from the square. Sample a meze, a buffet of small dishes such as eggplant salad and garlic yogurt with cucumber. Admire Kocatepe Mosque, the city’s largest mosque.
Reach Ankara by flying to Ankara Esenboğa International Airport. Get around the city using buses, the metro and taxis. Ankara is a good base for exploring Turkey’s ancient ruins and breathtaking scenery. Discover the archaeological relics of Hattusha or hike across the picturesque mountains of Karagol.