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The heart of the Turkish Republic, Ankara, is the second largest city of Turkey after Istanbul. The city genuinely lies on the border where east meets west. This means that a traveller can sit outside at a café under the shade of a tree-lined boulevard eating Meze. The European influences combined with the ones of the Middle East have coloured the architecture, food, wine, nightlife, fashion and arts. The two cultures have merged to build a city with a unique identity. By dropping anchor in Ankara, as its name suggests, you are crossing the border of history.
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Do and see
To visit ancient Ankara, head to Ulus, where the narrow and winding streets are filled with stalls and shops selling antiques and Kilims. Kızılay is the place for outdoor beer houses, fried mussels and inexpensive shopping. To experience Ankara today, head to the fashionable city centre Tunalı and then upwards towards Çankaya for a mix of modern food and clothing.
Ankara Kalesi
This castle overlooks the city from Ulus, the historic district. Within its walls, there is a small village with shops and restaurants in wooden beamed houses and the Old Turkish House Museum.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations houses a huge collection of Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Roman and Lydian treasures. It won the European Museum of the Year in 1997.
Museum of Painting and Sculpture
At the Museum of Painting and Sculpture you can find a major permanent collection of modern Turkish paintings, featuring works by Osman Handi and Hikmet Onat. This space is also reserved for temporary exhibitions of international works.
Museum of Ethnography
Museum of Ethnography specialises in the Ottoman period, especially textiles, metalwork and carved wooden doors. The museum really reflects the Turkish history and character.
Kocatepe Mosque
Kocatepe Mosque is a huge, white mosque constructed in the late 20th century. The beautiful mosque has four minarets making it visible from almost anywhere in the city of Ankara.
Ataturk Mausoleum
This mausoleum honours the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The mausoleum hall is a colonnaded temple with huge bronze doors. Turks from all around the country and foreigners pay their respect to the founder of the Republic every day.
With beautiful scenery in winter and autumn, this is one of the favorite places for picnics in Ankara. There are several trekking routes across the mountains. You can find Karagol about 68 kilometres north of the city on the airport road, turn off for Cubuk.
Atakule (Tower)
This 125 metre high observation and communication tower is located in the heart of the city in Çankaya. The tower also doubles as a shopping mall so before you are laden with bags, travel to the top to get a panoramic view of the city, or better yet, watch the magnificent Ankara sunset.
Esenboğa International Airport
Ankara Esenboga Airport is located approximately 33 kilometers north of Ankara. Havaş, airport buses and shuttles, run regularly to and from the city. The buses for the city centre depart from the airport approximately 25 minutes after landing and do generally not operate between 9.30pm-3am, depending on their final stop. They have two stops in the city, one near the stadium and one in Asti Bus Terminal, which is located further away. There are also public city buses, Ego, running to and from the airport. The buses leave right outside the arrivals floor, in both the Domestic Terminal and International Terminal. Taxis are another option and they are available 24 hours every day. Car rental and parking are available at the airport.
Public Transport
In Ankara there are many means of transport, which are both cheap and easy. Asti Bus Terminal is the main bus terminal, here you can take the bus to any destination within the country and it is located about 5 kilometres southwest of the city centre. The Metro and Ankaray, both underground transports, are the fastest way to get around some parts of the city. City buses go all around the city, but you need to buy tickets. On Belediye Otobüsü buses (EGO), the red and blu ones, you should opt for the electronic ticket. On Halk Otobüsü buses, the green or blue ones, you pay with cash.
In all Turkish cities it is not hard to get a taxi, and they are also the easiest way to get around. Look for the yellow taxis with the sign “Taksi” on top. In Ankara and Turkey in general, you can also find the Dolmuş. Dolmuş is a sort of cheap taxi service with cars and minibuses, stopping at requested stops.
Post offices are generally open from 8.30am-5.30pm, and some branches close for lunch between 12.30pm-1.30pm. Some of the major post offices stay open until 12am. A few branches are also open on Saturdays. One post office can be found:
Pharmacies, called Eczane, are plenty and easy to spot. In each neighbourhood, you can find one pharmacy that is open all night, a so called Nöbetçi Eczane. Their names and addresses are written on the windows of all pharmacies. Pharmacies are normally open between 9am-7pm.
Country code: +90 Area code: 0312
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