Hacı Bayram, Çankırı Cd. No:36 D:42, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Doğanbey, Çankırı Cd. No:43, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
To begin our tour we are just outside of the Roman Baths! Constructed in the third century AD, during Roman rule, these Roman Baths are considered to be the best well preserved Roman ruins in the city. Now of course known as Ankara, these baths used to live in once was Ancrya. They served as a vital place for socializing where the citizens could converse and engage with one another.
Designed in a standard Roman style, there were many different rooms throughout the bath house. The three most important and well known are the caldarium (hot room), tepidarium (warm room), and frigidarium (cold room). All three rooms were a part of bathing rituals during ancient Roman rule.
These Roman ruins have now been converted into an open air museum that showcases over 1,000 ancient artifacts all in regards to the Roman Baths. They are separated into three main groups, either Steeles, Inscriptions, or Architectural Fragments. This is a fantastic location to learn more about the influence the Roman rule had on today’s city of Ankara, Turkey.
Doğanbey, Çankırı Cd. 1-2, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Just down the street from us in the plaza on your right are two excellent museums to learn more about Turkey’s fight for independence. The closest museum to us is the Museum of the War of Independence. As you walk through, you will get an immediate sense of the country’s struggles and triumphs, as there is an extensive collection of documents, photographs, and various artifacts that help represent what the people of Turkey lived through.
The second museum just a bit further down is the Museum of the Turkish Republic. An important feature of this museum is about the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustada Kemal Ataturk. Coined as the “Father of the Turks”, he is known for his many contributions to the modernization of Turkey such as the reforms he made to transform Turkey into a secular and democratic state. Ataturk introduced the Latin alphabet, adopted Western legal codes, implemented gender equality measures, and much more. Makes sense there’s almost an entire museum about him huh?
Hacı Bayram, Ziraat, Çankırı Cd. No:7 D:2, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
The monument that stands across the street from us is the Turkish Independence Monument, or Victory Monument. The man pictured goes by the name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and was the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
The monument represents Turkey’s fight for independence, specifically the triumph of the Turkish forces in the war and the result of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Designed in the architectural style of the early Turkish Republic, it features a tall obelisk rising from a large square base representing the country’s resilient people. Showcasing intricate designs yet a modern appeal reflects the fusion of traditional and modern Turkish architecture.
Hacı Bayram, Güvercin Sk. 1 B, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Just keep heading straight down this street! But if you’re like me and enjoy window shopping, this street is perfect for just that! Or actual shopping of course. Multiple shopping malls reside here, as well as many other independent stores. I know you want to get your shop on c’mon!
Necatibey, Çantacılar Sk. No:11, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
If you hop onto the little sidewalk platform on your left and look down you will notice ruins that seem to resemble that of an amphitheater. This is the Ancient Theater of Ankara! The exact date of its construction has been difficult to pinpoint, but it is said it was built in the 2nd century AD. Pretty long ago that’s for sure.
The excavations began due to the help of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, a museum we will actually get to check out later on in our tour. Thanks to the museum, the theater is now listed as a protected area and it cannot be removed or destroyed in any way. Restoration has begun to try and bring the theater back to life, as you can see the seating has been completed.
Necatibey, İpek Cd. No:10, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
The lovely park we have just walked into is the beautiful Hisar Park. A smaller shaded park that is lovely for a picnic on the many benches, a rest under the trees, or just a peaceful stroll through the foliage and manicured gardens. There is even a restaurant in the most northern part of the park called Hisar Kasri.
Now this is a restaurant you should definitely go to! A large and beautiful partially open air restaurant that sits above the park and the city of Ankara. With colorful seating, and hundreds of rainbow umbrellas as the ceiling, this restaurant’s design has just as much personality as its food.
With so many delicious traditional Turkish dishes to choose from. A popular entree is kafta, spiced ground meat with a side of pirinç pilavi, or rice pilaf. This is an excellent dish to try as I promise it is so good and also very authentic of a common meal in Turkey. Perhaps you can even wander through the park with a baklava!
Kale, Karaman Sk. No:4, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Have you enjoyed the park? It’s a nice break to get some shade and greenery. We’re about to exit and make our way to one of the best museums in the city. I can’t wait to show you! You’ll cross the street up ahead and continue straight.
Kale, Karaman Sk. No:4, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Kale, Gözcü Sk. No:5, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Please go ahead and walk through the gates to the driveway of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. A unique and fascinating museum that highlights the cultural heritage and history of the Antolian region, and is built in a historic Ottoman building adding to its charm and overall credibility as an important historical site.
As you ponder the many exhibits, you will quickly discover it’s as if you’re going back in time. The museum takes you through the many time periods of Anatolian civilization from Paleolithic all the way to Roman eras. One of the most famous exhibits is the Hittite collection that showcases the iconic Sphinx Gate from Hattusa, the ancient Hittite capital. The museum’s extensive knowledge and many collections has won itself many awards such as the European Council’s Museum of the Year Award in 1997 due to its influential contribution to the field of archaeology.
We of course saw the Roman Baths at the beginning of our tour, but I’m sure you have noticed many areas throughout the city that appear to have this image of being dug up. This is because Ankara is a very popular site for archaeological digs, and there are multiple excavations going on constantly. This is another reason why the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is so important to not only the city of Ankara, but the rest of the world as well.
Please come back the way you came through the gates and we will continue on with the rest of our tour! We still have lots more to see.
Necatibey, Gözcü Sk. 8 B, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Now just a little past the Anatolian museum, we have the Erimtan Archaeology and Art Museum, but it is also a music venue! A private establishment and smaller than its neighbor, but it still boasts a fantastic collection of artifacts from the Roman, Urartian, Hittite, and Byzantine periods. And with the perfect space to host concerts, the museum’s classical chamber supports the love of music for adults and children alike. Here at the Erimtan Archaeology and Art Museum, Tuesday is Music Day! Every Tuesday the Chambers puts on concerts with many of Turkey’s amazing musicians, as well as even rising stars.
Kale, Kale Kapısı Sk. No:2, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Welcome to Kale Square! A historical and iconic landmark that serves as a kaleidoscope to Ankara’s vibrant past. As you walk through the steep winding streets you’ll notice the colorful roofs and the many vendors selling street food to homemade jewelry. This is an excellent place to stop for a souvenir for yourself, or a gift for a loved one. Here you will find many unique items created with passion and talent that will leave you talking about them forever. To your grandkid’s grandkids!
Kale Square is a part of the town that lives just beneath Ankara Castle, and just the place we are heading to! The main reason for all these uphill roads, I promise it’s worth it! But, before we head up to the spectacular castle and leave this must-visit destination area, take a look around.
There are many lovely people who live and work in the area, so many lives and stories you will never be around or hear about again. Please use this time to immerse yourself in the amazing culture and learn about the people that surround you. You may be surprised with how much you gain from even one conversation.
Okay! Let’s make our way to the castle.
Kale, Kale Kapısı Sk. No:11, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Kale, Kale Kapısı Sk. No:24, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Please make your way up to the castle! You may have to walk a path and even go under a few doorways and short tunnels. I cannot wait for you to reach the top!
What an amazing view this is huh? Atop Ankara Castle is one of the view locations in all of the city to be able to get a 360 degree panoramic view of all of Ankara. I told you the trek up here would be worth it, and don’t worry you get to walk downhill for now on after this.
Ankara Castle is a historic fortress with a history dating back to ancient times, and can even be traced back to the Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks. This was an ideal location for the castle as it looked down upon the rest of Ankara and was the perfect vantage point to protect the city from potential invaders.
As you can see there are many walls throughout the castle, and from the point we are at, all the way to the walled in part of the castle that you can see from your viewpoint. If it helps, you should see the flag of Turkey to help pinpoint the location. The outer castle surrounds Ankara in the shape of a heart where the inner castle has two large gates. Enjoy the view for as long as you’d like. When you are ready please make your way back down and we will continue on with our tour, downhill this time!
Kale, Kale Kapısı Sk. 36 B, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
So, what did you think? Wasn’t it incredible? I have never seen anything like that before; the castle is such a special place. I hope you are not only proud of yourself for making it all the way up here, but that you felt it was worth it for a once in a lifetime view.
Kale, 2. Sk. No:18, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Kale, Gözcü Sk. No:6, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Around us currently are many different cafes and markets that sell local goods and Turkish sweets and tea. If you are a cooking enthusiast or just a foodie, you should really enjoy this special little section of the neighborhood.
Kale, Can Sk. 27/C, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Now for the collector or the art lover, there are many antique shops and art galleries here in this pocket and around the corner. With many interesting finds, you’ll be sure to find something you simply cannot live without.
Kale, Kuş Sk. No:7, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
The Aslanhane Mosque is a striking structure with its larger than life minaret just by its entrance, it’s a difficult building to miss. Built in the 13th century during the Seljuk period, the mosque reflects the distinctive style of Anatolian Turkish architecture. With a rectangular prayer hall, a dome, and a minaret. The roof is made out of wood and is supported by two dozen wooden columns. And of course the interior is adorned with gorgeous and detailed decorations and calligraphy that showcase not only the time period, but also of the history and culture of Ankara. Also known as the “House of the Lion” due to the lion statue on the marble wall of Ahi Serafettin’s tomb, located opposite the mosque.
Visiting the Aslanhane Mosque is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Ankara, but more specifically the history of religion throughout the city. It is not only a beautiful example of Turkish architecture but a vessel for Turkey’s rich history and its cultural treasures.
Kale, Aslanhane Sk. No:3, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Sakarya, Ulucanlar Cd. No:6, 06230 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Sakarya, Yüzbaşı Sk. No:14, 06230 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
If you’re looking for traditional souvenirs to bring home, just on our left is the perfect souvenir shop to check out! I’m sure you will be able to find the perfect token of Ankara.
Sakarya, Tilkicioğlu Sk. No:18, 06230 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
At this corner where we stand there are two museums on either side. Both with a niche audience from each other, as well as the majority of major museums around the city.
On our right is the Poets and Writers Museum. A quite small and lesser known museum than the other, it will teach you about some of the most influential Turkish poets and writers. From ancient Roman and Byzantine eras to more modern and current times. This is surely a location you will not hear about through your common travel guides as it really flies under the radar even though its contents are unique and quite fascinating for the history buff in us all.
To our left is the Gokyay Foundation Chess Museum. Still small and not as well known as some of the other museums throughout Ankara, yet this one is surely to strike a fancy with you. It is hard to not be intrigued, what is a chess museum exactly? Well, here lies the private chess collection of Akin Gokyay. With 719 pieces, possibly more by the time you arrive, it is the first and only chess set collection that is in the Guinness World Records Book! Spanning from 110 different countries and multiple kinds of materials, there has to be a chess set that would spark anyone’s interest!
Necatibey, Anafartalar Cd No:137, 06230 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Remember how I mentioned there are a ton of archaeological discoveries going on in the city of Ankara? Just to our left is one! Maybe if you ask around you can see what they’re looking for.
Kale, Anafartalar Cd No:95, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
As you can probably already tell there is a huge selection and variety of different stores. This one here though is a vintage clothing store! If you're anything like me and love anything vintage, this would be a great place to check out, who knows what you might find!
Necatibey, Anafartalar Cd No:113, 06250 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Kurşunlu Mosque is a classical Ottoman mosque with stone walls and a lead covered dome. It also has a minaret like the Aslanhane Mosque that we saw earlier. Estimated to have been built in the 16th century has no inscriptions and only two windows in the main part of the mosque. It is said that the lead covered dome is where the mosque received its name as well as being an example of mihrab style.
Anafartalar, Acıçeşme Sk. No:15, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Just a bit further until we reach our next destination! In the meantime would you like to hear a Turkish legend? I’m sure many of you know of King Midas; the man whose touch turned everything into gold? Well, did you know that that story takes place just an hour outside of Ankara? There are ruins that rarely anyone visits, but one can make out from a bird’s eye view that this was once an important and powerful city. It is the city of Gordion, the birthplace of King Midas. Based on archaeological findings, it has been discovered that King Midas was in fact a real ruler of Gordion in 8th century BC. But did his touch really turn everything into gold? There was an excavation done in the resting place of King Midas, where they found a tomb. The best preserved wooden structure the world has ever seen for the past 3,000 years. But, this turned out to be Mida’s father’s tomb nonetheless.
There are still discoveries going on as we speak, and perhaps one day we will learn the truth about this world captivating Turkish legend.
Anafartalar, Dibek Sk. No:25, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Anafartalar, Atatürk Blv No:17, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
The Melike Hatun Mosque is quite the visual masterpiece isn’t it? Sitting on the grounds of 3,600 meters squared or 39,000 square feet, the mosque itself has enough for 7,000 prayers. It was only opened to the public in 2017, but the structure is named after and dedicated to a wealthy woman from the 14th century named Melike Hatun. There isn’t too much information in regards to details of who she was, except that she was a commissioner of many public buildings during her lifetime.
The blending of Ottoman, Seljuk, and more contemporary architecture styles, has created a beautifully unique structure. The four minarets that stand tall circling the mosque where each one has three balconies. Above the entrances, there are even inscriptions made of gold leaf. Whereas the interior does not skip on the details as well. The dome we see from the outside is just as intricate and stunning from the inside with its many designs and array of different colors.
Although it is a newer mosque, it is still an important and popular destination as it reflects Turkey’s influential culture and its long lasting history. I urge you to walk around the mosque as some of its designs really are remarkable and so much better up close!
Anafartalar, Atatürk Blv No:17, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Anafartalar, Gençlik Park İçi Yolu No:35, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
One of the largest and most popular parks in Ankara is our last stop, Gençlik Park! A gorgeous park chock full of gardens, walking paths, fountains, playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, a pond, and even a whole carnival is set up in the west part of the park. So yeah, you could easily spend a whole day in Ankara, and never even leave Gençlik Park!
Established in 1943, the purpose was to give Ankara residents a location to truly enjoy outdoor activities, and really just have a place to leisurely enjoy life from the bustling energy that can be Ankara, Turkey. The president at the time, Ismet Inönü, wanted to give his community more ample green spaces in the midst of the city’s infrastructure. And luckily for him and the rest of Ankara, Gençlik Park has continued to grow and develop into its own world, making it one of the most desirable areas in the city.
As we made our way into the park, we walked past a lovely fountain that led us to the large pond in the center of the park. Not only can you take a peaceful stroll around this pond, you can even take paddle boats and see the city and Gençlik from another point of view. This is an excellent activity for all ages, or if you just really need to get off those feet!
But, if you’re interested in sightseeing a bit more, it really is a fantastic walk through the paths, gardens, and the many trees and flowers. Gençlik Park is where we end our tour to leave you with the opportunity to reflect on your trip to Ankara in one of the most serene and nature-filled spaces around.
Thank you so much for taking the time today to learn about the city of Ankara and all that it has to offer! With so much history extending over many years, there are museums everywhere showcasing amazing artifacts, historical figures, and even chess! Delicious food is around every corner, and so much shopping you probably have your hands full right now, at least I hope they are! Please enjoy the rest of your day and the rest of your time in Ankara, Turkey, and thank you again for hanging out with me. See you soon!