Adventures in Ankara welcomes guest blogger, Emma Stone. Emma is a travel ‘fundi’ who spent a year back-packing in Nepal. She is based in London and writes about finding budget holidays in unusual places.
Ankara is an exciting city to visit if you’re interested in Turkey’s ancient history. It has many examples of traditional architecture, completed by proud civilisations such as the Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks.
A well-known landmark is the Ankara Hisar or Citadel, which was built in a prominent part of the city. An area that is probably the oldest in Ankara, it is home to many fine examples of traditional architecture, including Turkish houses and restaurants that serve local cuisine.
Although the foundations were laid by immigrant Gauls from Thrace, the citadel marks the original town of Ankara, which may date back 3,000 years ago to the time of the Hittites. The outer walls were built by a Byzantine emperor in the 800s AD and the inner walls survive from 200 years prior.
Within the citadel visitors can find a traditional village – right in the heart of Turkey’s sprawling capital city – complete with museums, cafes, fountains and a mosque, restored from the ancient stonework. Up a flight of stairs in one of the towers tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of Ankara.
Easy to spot from any point in the city, the citadel’s 50-foot-high walls are a beloved symbol of Turkey’s capital. A place that has preserved ancient Anatolian life, the citadel is a place where locals and visitors to Turkey can wander the narrow streets and see traditionally garbed people sorting skeins of wool and cooking traditional meals.
Entered through the Parmak Kapısı or Finger Gate, the citadel transports visitors to a place of cobbled streets and times gone by, even though many of the houses have been renovated and converted to hotels and restaurants. With numerous recreational spots to relax and enjoy a meal, the citadel is well worth the trip to experience traditional Turkey.
Photos supplied by Adventures in Ankara
Note: The Hisar actually goes by many names, especially in the local expat community. Most common is probably the Kale, or castle. I’ve also referred to it as “Olde City Ulus” as it reminds me of Olde City Philadelphia. Thanks for sharing, Emma!