Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and ranks second in terms of size after Istanbul city. Though Istanbul is the Turkish city known for its beauty and history, Ankara has plenty to offer visitors as well. Though a center for industry, Ankara is also a modern city with plenty of history as well. Ankara’s status as a central hub for transportation, including both highway and railway networks, has helped shape the city as an important place for trade and commerce. While the town has existed for centuries, its growth and status as a commercial and administrative center is relatively new.
During the 1920s, after World War I and the country’s struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire, a new capital emerged, as did a new identity for the city. Ankara has experienced various periods and styles of architecture throughout its long history, including the Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations. Only some of these sites remain, as the new modern city sprouted around them. The city is also known for several features from its more pastoral days, including its Angora (derived from the name Ankara) goat, cat, and rabbits, as well as other agricultural products like Muscat grapes and pears.
Ankara is an inland city in central Anatolia in Turkey, with its city center set upon a 150 meter (492 foot) hill. The city is built on the banks of the Enguri Su, while the Ankara Cayi (river), a small river that is a tributary of the Sakarya River, also flows through the city. Ankara is surrounded by steppe vegetation, with forests to the south.
The main airport near Ankara is Ankara Esenboga International, located to the northeast of the city and offering international travel to destinations across Europe and some Middle Eastern destinations, particularly Tehran. Buses connect the airport to the city. Train is another viable option for getting into Ankara, as the city is a railway hub for the region. There are trains from Istanbul that take about 5.5 hours, as well as overnight trains. Many trains to Ankara are high-speed rails, which are more comfortable and usually cheaper than the buses. However, buses from cities around Turkey are available and some are even faster than the trains.
Best time to visit
Summer in Ankara is fairly pleasant, as humidity remains low and the temperatures cool off in the evenings. In July and August, temperatures in Ankara reach their peak. The rainy seasons in Ankara are spring and fall, but even during those periods, the city doesn’t receive much rainfall, so these seasons may be the most pleasant to visit. Ankara is cold and snowy in winter.
What to see
Some of the most famous attractions in Ankara are the Temple of Augustus and the Roman Baths, ruins left from the Roman rule, both located in the city’s Ulus quarter. Another important site in Ankara is the citadel, Ankara Castle above Ulus on the hill. The castle was built over a millennium ago and features a clock tower, restaurants, and galleries. Another important site is Anitkabir, which is Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum, and a significant national site. Landmarks in Ankara include the Atakule Tower, the Column of Julian the Apostate, and the historic Ulus, with historic buildings representing various local traditions. A great museum is housed in Salt Ulus, while other museums include the Cengelhan Rahmi Koc Museum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The oldest park in the city, Genclik Park, is also worth a visit. For jewelry shopping, head to the Bazaar of Coppersmiths. For local cuisine, be sure to try the doner kebap.
Where to stay
Ankara is home to many major chain hotels, which offer consistent service and highly rated hotels. Some of these hotels include the Swissotel, Ramada Plaza, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Movenpick, and Demora. Inexpensive options are First Apart Hotel, and the city’s hostel, Deeps Hostel.
For a high-end stay, there are many great options in Ankara, including the King Hotel, Hotel Midas, Hotel Gold, Divan Cukurhan, and the JW Marriott Hotel. A unique accommodation option is the Angora House, near the castle, which features a home from the Ottoman era.
Flight Schedule from Ankara to other cities
- Ankara to Stuttgart Flight Schedule
- Ankara to Munich Flight Schedule
- Ankara to Dortmund Hbf Flight Schedule
- Ankara to Dusseldorf Flight Schedule
- Ankara to Vienna Flight Schedule
- Ankara to Cologne-Bonn Flight Schedule