A large mosque with multiple domes and slender minarets against a partly cloudy sky, with an expansive paved courtyard in the foreground.


Ankara in Turkey, with its understated charm, offers a journey through time that intrigues and captivates visitors. The city’s historical significance is just the tip of the iceberg when exploring its multifaceted character. From its ancient origins to its modern vibrancy, Ankara holds many surprises waiting to be uncovered. As you navigate through its streets, you’ll discover a blend of tradition and innovation that makes Ankara a compelling destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of Turkey’s heritage and contemporary allure.

Historical Background

Ankara, Turkey’s historical background traces its roots back to ancient civilizations, culminating in its designation as the capital of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The city’s significance as the capital of Turkey was solidified by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s decision to establish it as the political and administrative center, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s history. Ankara’s historical narrative is deeply intertwined with its role in the resistance against the Ottoman Empire and Greeks during World War I, a period that ultimately led to the formation of the Republic of Turkey.

Throughout history, Ankara has served as a crucial center for political and historical events, symbolizing the country’s transition to a modern and independent state. The city’s historical tapestry is richly woven with elements of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture, showcasing its diverse cultural heritage. This blend of architectural styles reflects the various periods of rule and influence Ankara has experienced over the centuries.

The decision to make Ankara the capital was not only a strategic move but also a symbolic one, signifying a break from the traditional power centers of the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s vision for Ankara as the capital represented a new chapter in Turkey’s history, emphasizing progress, independence, and a modern outlook. The historical background of Ankara is a testament to the city’s enduring significance in shaping Turkey’s past and present.

Unique Charm

Reflecting a harmonious blend of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture, Ankara’s unique charm captivates visitors with its rich historical tapestry. The city’s allure is deeply rooted in its architectural diversity, which serves as a tangible representation of its historical evolution.

  • The Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture in Ankara creates a captivating visual narrative of the city’s past, offering a glimpse into the various civilizations that have shaped its identity over the centuries.
  • The Atatürk Mausoleum stands as a poignant symbol of Ankara’s historical and political significance, honoring the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
  • Ankara’s immersion in Turkish history adds depth to its charm, showcasing a transition from ancient civilizations to a modern, independent state. This historical backdrop enriches the visitor’s experience, providing a deeper understanding of Ankara’s cultural heritage and significance in the broader context of Turkish history.

The city’s unique charm is a testament to its ability to seamlessly blend the old with the new, creating a dynamic atmosphere that appeals to those with an appreciation for history, architecture, and cultural diversity. As you explore Ankara, each architectural marvel and historical site will unveil a layer of the city’s intricate past, leaving a lasting impression on all who visit.

Best Time To Visit

For budget-conscious travelers planning a visit to Ankara, the optimal time to explore the city’s attractions is typically from March to May. During this period, Ankara experiences mild weather, making it pleasant for sightseeing, and hotel prices are generally lower compared to peak seasons. Travelers looking to save money should avoid visiting from September to November when accommodation costs tend to be higher.

Spring and early summer in Ankara offer ideal weather conditions for exploring the city without the crowds often seen during peak tourist seasons. In contrast, fall, especially in September and November, can attract more tourists, leading to increased hotel prices. For those seeking a balance between good weather, fewer crowds, and reasonable prices, late spring or early fall can be the best times to visit Ankara.

Must-See Attractions

When exploring Ankara, make sure to visit the must-see attractions that showcase the city’s rich history and culture. One of the most iconic sites to visit is Anitkabir, the grand mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the revered founder of the Turkish Republic. This monument not only pays tribute to Atatürk but also offers a glimpse into Turkey’s significant historical past.

Must-See Attractions:

  • Museum of Anatolian Civilizations: The Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi houses a remarkable collection of artifacts from various Anatolian civilizations, providing visitors with a comprehensive overview of the region’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Ankara Castle: Dating back to the Roman era, Ankara Castle stands as a testament to the city’s ancient roots. Explore its winding alleys, towers, and walls to enjoy panoramic views of modern Ankara juxtaposed with historical remnants.
  • ANKAmall Alisveris Merkezi: For a contemporary experience, head to ANKAmall Alisveris Merkezi, a bustling shopping center that offers a mix of retail outlets, dining options, and entertainment facilities. Immerse yourself in Ankara’s modern lifestyle while indulging in shopping and leisure activities.

These attractions, from ancient landmarks to modern shopping centers, collectively paint a vivid picture of Ankara’s diverse cultural landscape, making your visit to the Turkish capital memorable and enriching.

Safe Neighborhoods

Safe neighborhoods in Ankara boast low crime rates and a peaceful atmosphere, making them ideal for residents and visitors seeking a secure environment. Among the notable safe neighborhoods in Ankara are Cankaya, Oran, Gaziosmanpasa, and Kavaklidere. Cankaya stands out as the diplomatic district, known for its safety due to the high presence of embassies and diplomatic missions, ensuring a secure environment. The area is popular among expats and locals for its well-maintained streets, parks, and amenities.

Oran and Gaziosmanpasa offer a blend of residential and commercial spaces, providing a safe and comfortable living environment for their residents. These neighborhoods are characterized by their peaceful atmosphere and contribute to a sense of security, making them attractive places to live.

Kavaklidere is renowned for its upscale residential options, upscale shopping centers, and vibrant dining scene, all set within a safe and secure neighborhood environment. The area is popular among those looking for a high-quality lifestyle within a tranquil and secure setting. In conclusion, Ankara’s safe neighborhoods offer residents and visitors a sense of security, peace, and comfort, making them sought-after areas in the city.


In considering accommodation options in Ankara, travelers can choose from a range of establishments, including luxury hotels such as Divan Ankara and Radisson Blu Hotel. These upscale hotels offer a comfortable stay with top-notch amenities and services to cater to your needs.

  • Upscale Amenities: JW Marriott Hotel Ankara is a recommended choice for travelers seeking upscale amenities. From luxurious bedding to spa facilities, these hotels provide a premium experience for guests looking to indulge during their stay.
  • Historic Ottoman Building: For a unique experience, Divan Çukurhan stands out by offering accommodation in a historic Ottoman building. This hotel seamlessly combines traditional architecture with modern conveniences, giving guests a glimpse into Ankara’s rich history while ensuring a comfortable stay.
  • Convenient Location: Ankara HiltonSA is a popular choice known for its hospitality and convenient location. Situated in key areas of the city, these hotels make it easy for travelers to explore Ankara’s attractions and business districts while enjoying a relaxing retreat at the end of the day.

Whether you prefer luxury, history, or convenience, Ankara’s accommodation options cater to various preferences, ensuring a pleasant and tailored experience for every visitor.


Ankara boasts a well-developed public transportation system that includes buses, metro, and a suburban railway connecting various parts of the city. The public transportation network offers convenient and affordable options for getting around Ankara. Additionally, the city is known for its extensive road network, with major highways like the O-20 and O-4 providing efficient connections to other regions.

Esenboğa Airport serves as Ankara’s primary airport, offering domestic and international flights to various destinations. The airport plays a crucial role in connecting Ankara to the rest of the world. Moreover, Ankara benefits from a high-speed train service known as the Yüksek Hızlı Tren, which links the city to key destinations such as Istanbul, Eskişehir, and Konya. This service provides a fast and efficient mode of travel for both residents and visitors.

For those seeking point-to-point transportation within Ankara, taxis and ridesharing services like Uber are readily available. These services offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to reach your destination quickly and comfortably. Whether you prefer public transportation, road travel, air travel, or private car services, Ankara provides a range of transportation options to suit your needs.


Exploring Ankara through a variety of tours offers visitors an enriching experience to delve deeper into the city’s cultural and historical treasures. Whether you’re interested in the ancient Hittite civilization or the modern-day Ankara Sightseeing, there are tours catering to a range of interests and preferences.

Key Tours to Consider:

  • Daily Hattusas / Boğazköy Tour: This tour provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Hittite civilization, allowing you to explore the historical roots of the region.
  • Private Tour: Ankara Sightseeing: Covering key landmarks such as Anitkabir and Ankara Castle, this tour offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s rich history and cultural significance.
  • Full Day Cappadocia Private Tour: For a unique and immersive experience, consider taking a tour of Cappadocia. Marvel at the surreal landscapes and underground cities that make this region a must-visit destination.

Moreover, a Private Guided Walking Tour in Ankara can provide a personalized exploration of the city’s historical sites, giving you a deeper understanding of Ankara’s past and present. Additionally, the Turkey Exclusive Tour offers a comprehensive experience that combines Ankara’s history with visits to other significant Turkish cities, allowing you to gain a broader perspective of the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

Outdoor Activities

Amid Ankara’s diverse offerings, engaging in outdoor activities allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Ankara offers a variety of options for outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore scenic parks and green spaces through activities like hiking, picnicking, and cycling. If you’re a fan of outdoor sports, clubs and facilities in Ankara provide opportunities for golf, tennis, and even horseback riding. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the surrounding areas of Ankara offer camping, fishing, and nature walks. Nature lovers can indulge in bird-watching at places like Lake Eymir and Mogan Park, which are known for their biodiversity and serene environments. If you’re up for a challenge, venture into the mountains and valleys near Ankara for activities such as rock climbing, paragliding, and off-road excursions. Whether you prefer a leisurely picnic in the park or an adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventure, Ankara has something for everyone to enjoy in its natural surroundings.

Food, Wine & Nightlife

When delving into Ankara’s food, wine, and nightlife scene, you will encounter a diverse array of culinary delights and entertainment options to suit every taste. The city offers a vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues where you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and enjoy the local music and dance culture.

  • Traditional Turkish Dishes: Ankara boasts a diverse culinary scene featuring traditional Turkish dishes like mouth-watering kebabs, flavorful mezes, and indulgent baklava. These dishes showcase the rich culinary heritage of Turkey and are a must-try for food enthusiasts.
  • Local Specialties: Don’t miss the chance to savor local specialties such as Ankara Tava, a delicious stewed lamb dish cooked with an assortment of vegetables, and Beypazarı rice pilaf, a fragrant and flavorful rice dish that perfectly complements any main course.
  • Locally Produced Wines: Wine enthusiasts can delight in locally produced wines from the Ankara region, such as the renowned Kalecik Karası and Emir varieties. These wines offer a unique taste of the region’s vineyards and are perfect for pairing with your meals or enjoying on their own.

In addition to the culinary delights, Ankara also offers a vibrant nightlife scene where you can dance the night away, socialize with locals and fellow travelers, and create unforgettable memories in the bustling city atmosphere.

Street Markets

At Ankara’s vibrant street markets, you will discover a bustling array of products ranging from fresh produce to traditional goods, offering a unique shopping experience for both locals and tourists. Street markets like Ulus Pazari and Samanpazari are popular among visitors seeking an authentic taste of Ankara’s local culture. These markets showcase a diverse range of items, including textiles, handicrafts, spices, nuts, dried fruits, traditional sweets, and handmade souvenirs, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Turkish goods.

Exploring Ankara’s street markets not only provides a chance to shop but also an opportunity to engage with local vendors, learn about Turkish traditions, and practice the art of bargaining for the best prices. The lively atmosphere and the vibrant colors of the market stalls create a sensory experience that captivates the senses. Whether you are looking for a specific item or simply browsing, the street markets in Ankara offer a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

With many markets operating daily, you can easily incorporate a visit into your itinerary to fully experience the local shopping culture. So, don’t miss the chance to wander through Ankara’s bustling street markets, where the essence of Turkish hospitality and commerce intertwine to create a memorable shopping adventure.

Local Festivals

Ankara’s local festivals showcase a vibrant tapestry of cultural celebrations that draw in both residents and visitors alike. The city hosts several internationally renowned festivals that cater to diverse artistic tastes:

  • The Ankara International Music Festival is a prestigious event that features classical music performances from around the globe. Established musicians and rising talents grace the stage, captivating audiences with their melodic harmonies.
  • The Ankara International Film Festival is a cinematic extravaganza that presents a wide array of films, attracting filmmakers, actors, and cinema enthusiasts. From thought-provoking documentaries to captivating dramas, this festival offers something for every film buff.
  • The Ankara International Jazz Festival brings together jazz musicians and enthusiasts for a lively celebration of this soulful genre. Performances range from smooth melodies to upbeat improvisations, creating an electrifying atmosphere that resonates throughout the city.

These festivals not only entertain but also educate and inspire attendees, fostering a sense of cultural appreciation and unity. Whether you are a music aficionado, a film buff, or a jazz enthusiast, Ankara’s local festivals offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the arts and experience the city’s vibrant cultural scene.


With a vibrant array of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, Ankara offers a dynamic nightlife scene that caters to diverse tastes. Popular areas like Kızılay, Tunali Hilmi, and Gaziosmanpaşa are renowned for their lively nightlife and bustling atmosphere. In these districts, visitors can immerse themselves in a variety of experiences, from live music performances to DJ sets, themed parties, and cultural events.

Ankara’s nightlife landscape is a rich tapestry that includes traditional Turkish taverns (meyhane), modern bars, rooftop venues, and lively dance clubs. Whether you’re a fan of traditional music or electronic beats, you’ll find a spot that suits your preferences. The city’s nightlife caters to a diverse crowd, welcoming locals, expats, and tourists alike, ensuring a vibrant and inclusive social experience for all.

Live music performances are a highlight of Ankara’s nightlife, with many venues hosting talented musicians and bands, adding a melodic touch to the evenings. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed evening sipping drinks while listening to acoustic tunes or seeking a high-energy club with pulsating beats, Ankara’s nightlife scene has something for everyone. So, venture out and explore the city’s vibrant nightlife to create unforgettable memories.

Cost of Living

Exploring the cost of living in Ankara reveals a city where affordability is a key factor compared to larger urban centers like Istanbul. In Ankara, rent prices for apartments are generally lower, making it a more budget-friendly option for residents and expatriates alike. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around 1,500 TRY per month, which is notably cheaper than similar accommodations in Istanbul.

When it comes to dining out, Ankara offers a pocket-friendly experience. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant typically costs around 20-30 TRY per person, allowing you to enjoy various cuisines without breaking the bank. This affordability extends to transportation costs as well. A one-way ticket on public transport is priced at 3.50 TRY, making it a convenient and economical way to get around the city.

  • Rent prices in Ankara are affordable, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing around 1,500 TRY per month.
  • Dining out in Ankara is budget-friendly, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around 20-30 TRY per person.
  • Transportation costs in Ankara are reasonable, with a one-way ticket on public transport priced at 3.50 TRY.


How does Ankara’s unique blend of historical significance and modern military presence contribute to its overall character and appeal? As the capital city of Turkey, Ankara stands as a testament to the country’s rich history, dating back to the time of the Hittites and playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The city’s historical importance is palpable in its architecture, museums, and cultural sites, offering visitors a glimpse into Turkey’s past.

Ankara’s character is further shaped by its significant military presence, with personnel from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps stationed in the city. This military community not only adds to the city’s vibrancy but also supports the modernization efforts of the Turkish Armed Forces through programs like ODC Turkey. The presence of service members contributes to Ankara’s multicultural fabric, enriching the city’s cultural landscape with diverse influences from around the world.

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