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About Ankara

Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey and is the second largest city of the nation. Ankara City is home to many universities and a huge number of historical relics and museums are present here, so much so that it can safely be called the City of Universities or the City of Museums. Many international tourists stop at Ankara just to visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilization, an essential attraction included in Turkey holiday packages, which houses the rare and precious findings of human history dating back to the Paleolithic age. Ankara Turkey is quite resplendent in its share of attractions like these which are rare and not to be found elsewhere in the world.

Ankara tourism welcomes thousands of tourists across the world with warm hospitality and facilities that beckon a visitor to explore the city at his own pace. To give an example, the public transport system is extremely convenient for any newcomer to the city, with a great number of state owned as well as private buses, metro, subway, taxis that are widely available and not expensive. How can one talk about Ankara and not mention the mouth-watering Turkish delicacies? In fact, Ankara is the city where one should embark on a gastronomic cruise through the endless bistros, cafes, restaurants offering mezzes, baklava, kebabs, kofta-s, pide-s and not to forget the Turkish coffee at very affordable prices.

There is a thing in Ankara for tourists of all tastes - nature lovers, skiers, party hoppers, theatre goers. From lakes to ski resorts, night clubs to ballet houses, Ankara caters to the needs of all its visitors. Few cities in the world are such a unique juxtaposition of history and the contemporary. While the Ankara Castle, Roman Baths tell stories about Ankara's history, the Atakule, Anitkabir, Kocatepe Mosque are emblems of its urban relevance. No wonder Ankara had a record breaking 51.9 million visitors in the year 2019.

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What are the best places to visit in Ankara?

1) Museum of Anatolian civilization

The famous Museum of Anatolian civilization was the first museum to be built in Ankara and it came into existence in 1921. This museum was also named as the "Museum of the Year” in Switzerland in 1921. It is one of its kind museums in the world with artifacts going back to circa 8000 BC.

There are few museums in the world that exhibit relics from the Paleolithic era. The stone tools of that age, followed by agricultural tools of the humans of Neolithic age, metal tools in the Chalcolithic age, alloyed artifacts in the Bronze Age, the museum is a rich repository of these precious collections. A visit to this museum should not be missed at any cost.

- Location: Gözcü Street No:2 06240 Ulus, Ankara
- Timing: 9:00 AM to 6 PM except on Mondays
- Price: 36 TLs, children below 8 years can enter free of charge

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2) Ankara Castle 

The Ankara Castle is one of the chief attractions of the city dating back to the medieval ages. Although the exact date of the castle is unknown, it is believed to have been handed down by the Romans to the Ottomans through the ages. Thousands of tourists visit this castle which has survived through the ages and withstood the ravages of many a war fought here. While some believe that the castle was built in the 7th century, others believe that the castle dates back to 1600 BC in the era of the ancient Hittite empire.

In fact this is the primary reason for the castle's popularity because each empire has left its unique mark in it. The beautiful castle built of white quartz fortified the whole city in the ancient times with its three-layered walls. The innermost Rocky walls encircled the city's repository of arms and ammunitions and about 600 houses made of wood adobe and bricks.

There are also charming market squares inside the inner castle. Climbing the stairs to reach the top of the hill on which this historic Castle is perched, is no mean task, but the experience upon reaching above is worth the effort.

- Location:
Kale, 06240 AltIndag/Ankara, 
- Timing: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM 
- Price: It is free of cost

3) Kocatepe Mosque

The Kocatepe Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and can accommodate 24000 worshippers at the same time. This mosque reflects Ankara's secularism, modernity and tolerance in its architecture.  The contemporary design of the mosque was a point of contention between the conservatives and the free-thinkers and the construction of the mosque had to be stalled for a few years due to this reason.

Nevertheless, when the mosque was completed in 1967, it became an important landmark in Ankara as well as the whole of Turkey. In spite of divisive opinions about the mosque’s architecture being too far away from traditional, one cannot help but be amazed at the beautiful minarets that soar up the city skyline.

The many-tiered ornately designed dome, the luxurious decor, the graceful stairs also deserve to be marveled at. The mosque bathed in white light at night is truly a sight to behold. Tourists enter the mosque into the marbled courtyard and are transported into an oasis of peace surrounded by the bustle of Ankara city. 

- Location:
Kültür, Dr. Mediha Eldem Sk. No:67, 06420 Çankaya/Ankara
- Timing: 10:00 AM to 4 PM for visitors 
- Price: Entry to the mosque is free for the worshippers as well as non-worshippers

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4) Anitkabir 

Anitkabir is also called the Mausoleum of Ataturk who was the founder of Turkish Republic and also a leader who led the country through its independence. The Mausoleum museum houses the personal belongings, gifts, badges of honour of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The monument is so important that it features in the Turkish bank notes. The remains of the second president of Turkish Republic, is also housed in the mausoleum.

The Peace park surrounding the Anitkabir was built to honour Ataturk’s message of peace. It houses more than 50000 trees which were donated by 25 different countries. Anitkabir is definitely one of the first stops for a tourist visiting Ankara. The Independence Tower, Freedom Tower, Peace Tower, Mehmetcik Tower, Victory Tower, Female and Male statue group are some of the other attractions to be seen while visiting this monument..

- Location:
Yücetepe, Akdeniz Cd. No:31, 06570 Çankaya/Ankara
- Timing: 9 AM to 5 PM (4:00 PM in the winters) 
- Price: The Mausoleum is free of cost 

5) Atakule 

The Atakule Tower is Ankara’s emblem of pride as it rises high to the skyline atop a hill, standing at a dizzying 125 meter. Tourists who visit Ankara look for the Atakule tower as soon as they reach the city because it is clearly visible from any point in Ankara on a clear day. The round cupola on top of the tower houses a semi-circular restaurant that rotates to give a 360-degree view of Ankara city to the visitors.

There is another restaurant and a cafe in the tower just below the dome, which are stationary but provide a good view too. Capture a video while rising to the top of the tower in an elevator, of the cityscape appearing smaller and smaller. The tower was built in 1989 and since then it has remained a must-see for all tourists visiting Ankara. 

- Location:
Çankaya, 06690 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey 
- Timing: 11 AM to 7 PM - Price: 3 TL; although a booking at the restaurant will exempt a tourist from paying the entry fee at the tower entrance. 

6) Roman Bath of Ankara 

These ancient public baths were built in the third century by Roman Emperor Caracalla and were used until the 8th century. The great bath was divided into three complexes - the hot bath (Caldarium), cold bath ( frigidarium), and the lukewarm bath (tepidarium).

Tourists spend approximately a couple of hours here to observe the amazing construction of the bath, in which the underground chambers were heated using a furnace to heat up the water above. Unfortunately, the baths were destroyed by a great fire and today the basement and the ground floor remain for the visitors to see. 

- Location:
Anafartalar, Çankiri Cd. No:43, 06050 Altindag/Ankara 
- Timing: 8:30 AM to 5PM - Price : 6 TL

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What are the best Things to do in Ankara?

1) Explore the energy-packed Kizilay square

Kizilay is a popular neighborhood in Ankara where tourists gather in the morning or evening alike to get a pulse of the city. Bustling with life, the Kizilay square displays the Ankaran lifestyle on its sidewalks. From shops, restaurants, bars to open stalls, peddlers, shoe shiners Kizilay has got it all.

It is very close to the Anitkabir and the Kocatepe mosque, and is also the hub of public transport, making it easy to reach anywhere else in Ankara from here. Kizilay Square is the place to retire after sightseeing for a mug of beer and resume refreshed to explore the shops and amusement centers located here.

- Location: Kizilay, 06420 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey
- Timing: Open throughout, bustling at night
- Price: Free

2) Altinkoy Open Air Museum

The Altinkoy Museum, also known as the "museum of buildings," displays the Turkish community life. Tourists here can get a glimpse of the regular household activities in a typical Turkish village such as farming, spinning wheel, butter churning, cooking.

Works of village craftsmen such as weavers, blacksmiths, painters and potters are displayed in the museum too.The idea behind setting up this museum was to highlight the problem of cities devouring villages. The suspension bridge in the museum is notable as are the barns, cereal mills, cattle farms, village school and rustic cottages built inside the museum.

- Location: Besikkaya, 2044/1. Sk., 06230, Altindag/Ankara
- Timing: Open from 10 AM to 7 PM, closed on Mondays
- Price: The tickets to enter the museum costs 5 TL

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3) Ski through the gentle slopes of Elmadag

The Elmadag is 20 kms east of Ankara and can be reached on a shuttle bus from the city to enjoy winter vacation skiing. Ankara Tourism promoted Elmadag because the 1.5 kms icy slopes here are gentle and therefore ideal for the novices and the intermediates.

The ski resort has a capacity of boarding 33 tourists and it easily gets full in the peak season. Therefore a pre booking is preferable or else tourists need to stay in Ankara City.

- Location: Yakupabdal, Elmadag Kayak Merkezi, 06705 Çankaya/Ankara
- Timing: The skiing remains open from 10 to 5 (5:30 PM on weekends) from January to March.
- Price: 5 rides cost 7.5 Turkish Lira

4) Admire the graceful swans at the Kugulu park

Unlike many parks which are away from the city, the "Park of the Swans" (Kugulu means Swans in Turkish) is built right in the center of the city. After a day's shopping at the Tunali Hilmi Street, (which is just beside the park), tourists can rest at this nice green oasis and watch the geese, ducks, and swans wade out from their wooden houses into the water and swim around the fountain.

Sip through Turkish tea from one of the kiosks inside the park and watch the dogs at play in the little canine playground inside the Kugulu park.

- Location: Kugulu Park, Çankaya, 06690 Çankaya/Ankara
- Timing: The park remains open 24 hours
- Price: Free

5) Experience Hamam at Karacabey

What could be better than to bathe like an Ottoman in one of their traditional hammams. This public bath at Karacabey is one of the oldest in Ankara Turkey built-in 1440. It's a natural lighting system and marble basins are really attractive. Tourists visit the Tarihi Karacabey Hamami to experience the traditional benefits of the hammam ritual.

- Location: Sakarya, Talatpasa Blv No:101, 06230 Altindag/Ankara
- Timing: The bath is open to tourists for 24 hours a day. But women can book a session only between 7 am to 8 PM.
- Price: A basic hamam with hot room, exfoliation and bubble bath costs 14 euros.

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6) Mohair shopping

It would be a sin to visit Ankara and return without buying the prized wool from Angora goats, native to Ankara. Drop into the famous Mohair Angora flagship store in the Sheraton Ankara Hotel to view the widest collection of authentic Angora fiber made products.

Prepare to be mesmerized by the soft as silk fabrics, scarfs, pullovers made from the precious wool. Buy them as a souvenir or gift or utility and cherish it forever.

- Location: Sheraton Ankara Hotel, Noktali Sokak, Kavaklidere, Çankaya, 06700 Ankara
- Timing: The shop remains open from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM and remains closed on Sundays.
- Price: Free

7) Take a historical walking tour at the Hamamonu Restored area

This is a small neighborhood in Ankara where the Seljuks-Ottomans had settled and their houses still remain after multiple restorations carried out by the state. The place is a piece of art in itself with wood-framed houses, manicured lawns, colourful flower carts and beautiful trolleys selling interesting bric-a-bracs.

Wander through the narrow lanes and by-lanes and stop at any of the cafes to taste the Turkish coffee served in ornate mugs.

- Location: Hacettepe, 06230 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey
- Timing: The street remains open all day but the best time to visit in the daytime before sunset to enjoy the vibrant of the neighborhood
- Price: Free

8) Have a farm-fresh ice cream at the Ataturk Forest Farm and Zoo

The Ataturk Forest Farm and Zoo is a recreational farming zone that houses a zoo, brewery, dairy farm and a restaurant as well. The furry, purry Angora cats are bred and sold in the zoo. The place was initially privately owned by Ataturk before he donated it to the Turkish State.

Walkthrough the farm and visit the zoo which houses several exotic species of animals and birds. Taste some traditional beer, bite into an icy dollop made from the farm fresh milk or nibble into the mouthwatering Turkish kebabs slow-cooked on charcoal grills.

- Location: Gazi, CumhurbaskanlIGI Blv No:150 D:150, 06560 Yenimahalle/Ankara
- Timing: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Price: Free

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What are the most romantic things to do in Ankara?

1. Exchange promises at the Ankara Castle:

Some memories are meant to stay forever, why not inscribe them with promises meant to be kept for a lifetime? The experience of watching the sunset from atop the Ankara castle, together with that someone special is supposed to be everlasting. Reach up to the castle mid-morning and stay back till the sun goes down the city line to enjoy this magical moment.

2. Stroll through the Botanic Park:

The best thing about the park is that it never gets too crowded. There is always plenty of space to enjoy quiet moments while in the heart of the city, amidst nature. Birds, trees, flowers, and quaint lamp posts add to the romantic allure of the park.

3.Breakfast at Lake Eymir:

The beautiful Eymir Golu or lake in Ankara Turkey welcomes tourists with its refreshing blue water and greenery all around. Before a busy sightseeing day kicks off, reach there early with your partner and enjoy a quiet and filling Turkish breakfast at any of the cafes and bistros surrounding the lake. 

4. Enjoy a Romantic dinner atop the Atakule:

Reach to the imposing tower of Ankara - Atakule by taking the elevator. There is also a staircase that spirals to the top of the tower. Either way, don't miss to gaze at the changing landscape as you get higher. There are two restaurants on top of the tower and also a cafe.

Depending on what suits you, you can either step into the restaurant that rotates to give a 360-degree view of the cityscape or get into the one that remains static so you don’t end up feeling dizzy. Enjoy a lovely dinner with your loved one while admiring the beautiful night view of Ankara city.

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What is the best time to Visit Ankara?

The best time to visit Ankara city is between July to October. This is the time when it is warm, bright and almost zero rainfall, making it ideal for tourists. Those who do not mind slightly cooler temperatures and prefer less crowd, should target to visit Ankara between March to May.

How to Reach Ankara?

- By Flight: Directly by flying to the Ankara Esenboga Airport.

- By Train: A number of high-speed trains from all other cities in Turkey. High-speed train from Istanbul to Ankara takes about 3.5 hours.

- By Bus: Buses leave from Istanbul every 15 mins and reach Ankara in 6 to 7 hours.

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Do you need a visa to travel to Ankara?

Indian passport holders need to apply for a single entry e-visa and can stay in Ankara Turkey for a continuous stretch of maximum 30 days. The online visa system of Turkey is fast, smooth and hassle-free and the visa can be obtained within 3 working days from the date of request submission.

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What is Ankara known for?

Ankara is known to be the land of Angora goats. In fact, Ankara was known as Angora in earlier times. The Angora goats and rabbits and their coat of fur from which the much sought after Angora wool or mohair is made, makes Ankara famous.

Apart from the fact that Ankara is the capital of Turkey, the place is known for the truly sophisticated, exotic feline breed - Angora cats. People visit Ankara city to visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the Ankara castle and the museum of Anatolian civilization.

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Is Ankara safe?

Ankara is quite a safe city to visit even for women solo travelers. Obviously in crowded areas, one needs to guard his belongings to avoid being pickpocketed but that's true for most touristy places. Certain districts in Ankara such as the Sincan region are best to avoid, but Ankara is not known to have too many violent crimes.

Avoid locals who try to be overly friendly and isolated roads in the dark. There is a lot of effort by the Ankara tourism authorities to ensure safety for travelers.

Is Ankara worth visiting?

Ankara is absolutely worth a visit from anywhere in the world. There are few cities which are so well juxtaposed with the old and the new, the history and future, ancient and modernity.

The museums in Ankara have a wide collection of relics from the medieval times of human history. Those who seek outdoor thrill more than history can find ski zones, parks, lakes, campsites and even forest farms highly entertaining in Ankara.

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How far is Ankara from Istanbul?

Ankara is 448 KMS southeast of Istanbul. The distance can be easily covered through regular flights between the two international airports and a one-way flight takes about an hour's time to reach Ankara City.

Buses ply between the cities very frequently and take about 6 and half hours. Train followed by a ferry ride is also a widely used means of transport and the total time has taken is about 5 hours.

Is Turkey an Arab nation?

Turkey is not an Arab country. It is certainly a part of the Middle Eastern region, falling between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but the ethnicity of the demographics in the country is mainly Turks.

The language spoken in Turkey is Turkish and not Arabic. The Arab countries which share their borders with Turkey are - Syria and Iraq.

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What does the name Ankara mean?

There is a theory which states that the city was the centre for the Hittite cult and was known as 'Ankuwas' in the Bronze Age. Ankuwas converted to "Ankyra" when the Hittites were replaced by the Phyrgians. "Ankyra" means "anchor" in Greek.

It is difficult to ascertain the correct etymological roots, but it is true that "Ankyra" came to be known as Angora in the Turkish era in the 11th century and from there the present name of "Ankara" came into existence. In fact, many of the animal breeds native to this place continue to be prefixed with "Angora".

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Is Turkey in Southeast Asia?

No. Turkey is at the western-most border of Asia, so much so that, a part of Turkey falls in eastern Europe. Turkey is transcontinental and lies in both Asia as well as Europe.

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What province is Ankara Turkey in?

Ankara is the second largest city in Turkey and it is by itself a province known as Ankara ili in Turkish. Ankara ili is the capital province of Turkey and consists of 25 districts in the Western Anatolian region.

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Is there a train from Istanbul to Ankara?

Yes, there are several trains from Istanbul to Ankara. The average duration is 6 hours between the two cities but the high speed trains from Istanbul Pendik station to Ankara Gar take only about 4 hours.

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Is Istanbul or Ankara better?

Both are good places to visit, while Istanbul has more monuments, Ankara has more museums. Ankara is definitely a political headquarter, it is the capital of Turkey.

On the other hand, Istanbul is more cultural. Nevertheless, Ankara is deep-rooted in the history of Anatolia and the same reflects in the city's preserved relics.

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Does it snow in Ankara?

Yes. Ankara gets pretty cold in the winters and the snowing often starts in December. January is the month when it snows the most (about 2.6 inches) and the snowing continues till February.

This time is also ideal for those tourists who wish to ski.

How much does Angora goat hair cost?

The carded mohair fiber or Angora goat hair costs about $40 a pound; retailers selling carded fiber in the yarn make $80 to $150 per yard.

However, a sweater or scarf made of pure mohair wool costs anywhere between $300 to $500.

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What are the free things to do in Ankara?

Ankara tourism has many things to offer to tourists for free. Just make sure that you are carrying a comfortable pair of shoes to do the walking around. 

- Explore the Ankara castle:

The Castle is one of the best monuments in the Ankara City that has no entrance fees and that makes the experience easy on the pocket. Climb all the way up to the castle to get a glimpse of how it has survived the ravages of time from the Roman to the Ottoman empire and don't forget to stay back for the sunset which is a magical experience to view from atop.

- Window shopping at Samanpazari:

Not only do you get to see the old Turkish houses where this open-air bazaar is set, but also you can wade through the myriads of shops which have bright and ornately designed Turkish carpets and antiques on display. It is one of the most visited and beautiful neighborhoods in Ankara.

- Walk through the Peace Park around the Mausoleum of Ataturk:

The Mausoleum is one of the most important monuments in Ankara and entering it or walking around the mausoleum is completely free. The strong, sturdy, imposing marble structure built in memory of the founder of Turkish Republic, overlooks a Peace Park which is equally beautiful. Spend some quiet time admiring the structure sitting on its stolid steps.

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Which are the best Museums to Visit in Ankara?

With 99 state museums and 151 private museums, Ankara is truly a "city of museums". Some of the best ones are:

- Museum of Anatolian civilization:

Established in 1921 as the Ankara Archaeological Museum, this place houses the archaeological remains of Anatolian region dating back to the paleolithic era through various ages. The display is not only attractive to the history lovers but also to all those who care to know about what the world around this part looked like several thousand years back. Tourists can thank the great leader of Turkey Ataturk for bringing this museum into existence.

- Anitkabir:

This is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, also known as the Mausoleum of Ataturk, who led Turkey through its independence and became the first president of the country. The place also houses the remains of the second president of Turkey. The architectural splendor of the monument together with the collection of the personal belongings of the great leader is what draws tourists to this museum.

- Ulucanlar Prison Museum:

This is a one of its kind museum which has been opened to tourists since 2011 and should not be missed. It contains relics of the three kinds of prisons in Ankara- closed, semi-open and open for the past 95 years, since the inception of the Ulucanlar Prison. It contains belongings of prisoners who spent their lifetime within the prison, books written by some of them about their prison days and paintings on the prison walls.

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What is there to do in Ankara at night?

- James Cook Cafe and Club :

One cannot think of nightlife in an exciting city such as Ankara, without considering the bustling night clubs. Drop in to the James Cook Cafe and Club and experience really good music, burgers, cold beer and camaraderie of your fellow travellers. A British style pub with Turkish hospitality is a must visit.

-Nil Bar:

One of the very popular places in Ankara to dine, drink and enjoy live metal rock performances by Turkish bands. The beer, food, music and their intimate decor create a lull in the air that makes a night spent here worthwhile.  

- Akun Sahnesi:

This is one of the best theatres in Ankara with a beautiful, small stage that showcases the art of some of the versatile acting talents in the city. Theatre speaks a lot about the lifestyle of the locals, so don't miss the chance to catch a slice of Turkish culture in one of its theatres.

- State Opera and Ballet:

This is the best place for those who enjoy operas and ballet performances. Each performance is for 2 hours and costs not more than 15 TL s only. So grab a seat in this beautiful theatre to get a magical experience of a ballet.

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