Although the huge city of Istanbul often steals the headlines, Ankara is finally starting to raise its own head above the parapet and make a name for itself as a first class destination for tourists and seasoned travellers to visit – especially those interested in ancient history and those who love the hustle and bustle of a city with over four million natives.
Ankara, as capital of Turkey, should not be as relatively unknown to many when compared to other Turkish resorts and cities, but once you get to know the city it comes into its own and has many top attractions that appeal to people who really appreciate true history.
Temple of Augustus
Anyone who is fascinated by Roman history must include a trip to the Temple of Augustus which contains the well preserved copy of Emperor Augustus’ last will and testament. The temple has stood in Ankara since the second century AD and is a popular attraction all year round. Even if you do not know too much about Augustus or Roman history, you’ll be able to appreciate the temple as an important piece of architecture at the very least.
There is no better place to get a sense of what Turkey and in particular Ankara is about than at the Ethnographic Museum. Upon your arrival you will be greeted by a bronze statue of Ataturk, who founded the modern Turkish Republic, astride a horse guarding the museum. Completed in 1928, the museum actually held the body of Ataturk up until 1953 before he was moved to Anıtkabir.
Ankara like the rest of Turkey is proud of its Islamic traditions and as a result it pays to take a trip to Arslanhani Camii, the city’s oldest mosque, having been constructed in 1289. Byzantine and Roman masonry are on show throughout the many buildings which make up the mosque which until the construction of the Kocatepe Camii mosque was the biggest in the whole of Turkey. If you are not too familiar with Islamic traditions or history, this is a great place to visit as it will open up your eyes to a culture and religion totally different to anything you would have seen before.
Even if you have not heard too much about Ankara, it is a city well worth investing a little time in and researching just what it can offer. If you love your history and enjoy exploring ancient sights full of tales, you could do a lot worse than booking cheap Turkey holidays to Ankara!
Written by Ricky Durrance from Beat the Brochure.