Ankara – Day 4

Today is our last day in Ankara, so we head out to Ankara Castle. Near the castle gate there are plenty of shops selling spices, souvenirs, wool and traditional products. The Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum is located across the road from the main entrance of the castle.    

The foundations of the Ankara castle and citadel were laid by the Galatians but completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks made additional changes, restoration and further additions to the castle or citadel. The area both inside, and surrounding the castle, is the oldest part of Ankara.      

If you look out over the castle walls you can see examples of old and unrestored houses in the streets below. Within the castle area much of the traditional architecture has benefitted from restoration and as you walk up to the inner castle you will see some examples of fine architecture. Along the way there are plenty of places to stop and have a hot drink as well as a number of restaurants.

Ankara has always been a city of influence. It’s strategic position along the old trade routes dates back to the Assyrians. One of the most important cities of the Ottoman Empire, its location on the Silk Road, ensured its prosperity and influence.   The Citadel, or castle, is part of the landscape of Ankara. Built on the highest hill in the city, it will have been the central point and seat of governance, for the city rulers, for hundreds of years.

Many of the houses inside the castle walls can be dated back to the 17th century. Once you arrive at the top you will be treated to some stunning views of the city below. The citadel has been featured on several Turkish banknotes.

Whilst we were visiting the castle, local musicians Hasan and Uğur were playing traditional music in the castle courtyard. It is their music that you hear in the background. On the way out of the castle we came upon Çınar and Umut, two local lads who sing their songs and hope that visitors will be kind enough to tip them. They sang a song for the village of Tavakli. If you see the musicians in the courtyard or the boys just outside the central courtyard area pleas stop to say hello and leave them with a little something for their trouble.

Our next stop is the Rahmi M. Koc Museum which is dedicated to industrial technology. Situated by the castle entrance this museum is not as big as the one in Istanbul but you can easily spend a couple of hours here. There is also a café on site. With collectors items from all over the world, this museum has been expertly pieced together by the Koc Foundation, just as their other museums have, in Istanbul and Ayvalik.

The building is leased from the Ankara Municipality and was restored by the Koc Foundation before being opened in 2005. Ulus, the old centre of Ankara, a fascinating Aladdin’s cave of traditional shops from Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu, known as Weaver’s Road and Bakırcılar Çarşısı, the Coppersmith Bazaar, with its copper wares. Unfortunately  the bazaar was closed when we visited but one or two shops were open. Ulus is the place to buy your souvenirs, carpets, embroidery, jewellery, leather goods and antiques. Everything can be found here. And now we move on to the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.

If you only have time to visit only one museum in Ankara, then this would be your first choice. A world class museum, housed in refurbished Ottoman buildings, one of which a a 600 year old caravanserai, the other an old bazaar, the grandeur and spendour of the riches of Anatolia’s best can be found in this museum. From the Hittites through to the Ottomans, history unfolds in these halls, with artifacts dating back 7500 years. The Hittite artifacts are particularly impressive and the buildings in which the collections are housed are the perfect environment for such a splendid museum. The museum was recently renovated and completed in 2014.

We take a walk to SıhhiyeSquare to visit the Hatti Monument which used to be the symbol of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. The Hatti Sun Disc was adopted by the Hittites and is a famous landmark in Ankara. The Hatti Monument is and oversized replica of a bronze solar disc. We have barely scratched the surface of the City of Ankara during the course of these 4 videos. Like any large city there is so much more to see and do. With around 50 museums, we have just seen some of the most well known, but there are others to see.

Within a short distance of Ankara visitors can head out to Lake Mogan which used to be called Gölbaşı Lake, or Elmadağ, the Apple Mountain. A little further afield within an easy day trip there is much more to see and do. It is our intention to come back and visit the city again in the not too distant future. This trip was pretty rushed with not much time to visit friends or relatives who live in the city.

And now it’s time to catch the Metro and head back home. We watch the green parrots in the park before taking a Taxi to the AŞTİ, (Ankara Şehirlerarası Otobüs Terminali), Otogar, or bus station before catching our flight back home. Well that’s it from Ankara.

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