In the center of An Anatolian peninsula, Ankara is a big unknown to most travelers to Turkey, overshadowed by the reputation of the landmarks of Istanbul or the natural wonders of Cappadocia. But this city of almost five million inhabitants, vibrant and at the head of the most liberal Turkey, deserves recognition. It has one of the best archaeological museums in the world, the remains of an ancient citadel, imposing mosques, good Turkish and international restaurants and modern cafés with splendid terraces. The ideal way to get around is to get into one of the many taxis — unlike in Istanbul, there are hardly any traffic jams here — which will take us to any point of interest for a ridiculously low price.
9.00 Minarets that touch the sky
After the healthy Turkish breakfast (olives, fresh cheese, tomato, delicious local breads, jams and coffee or tea) served by almost all hotels in the country, the road begins in the central district of Kizilay to visit the imposing Kocatepe Mosque (1), one of the largest in the world, in the neo-Ottoman style, built in the 20th century. The prayer courtyard under the superimposed domes, which can accommodate around 25,000 worshippers, is as impressive as its exterior view, so it is worth taking off your shoes to enter.
11.00 At the dawn of civilization
the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (of them)located very close to the walls of the Ankara Fortress, is the great attraction of the Turkish capital. Considered one of the best in the world of its kind, the building itself, a well-restored 15th-century covered and vaulted market, is worth a visit on its own. In the different rooms arranged on two floors in chronological order, a sublime collection of archaeological and artistic remains from the Paleolithic to the Roman period is exhibited. Tools, amulets or figurines excavated from Neolithic sites, such as that of Çatalhöyük, 10,000 years old, are among the best in its collection, as well as impressive utensils, weapons, furniture, goldsmithery, mythological bas-reliefs, ceramics and jewels of the successive cultures that developed on this bank of the Euphrates at the dawn of history: Hittites, Assyrians, Lydians, Phrygians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.
13.00 Intramural wandering
The citadel, kale Is fortress (3) It has stood since the 7th century on a hill a few minutes walk from the museum. Behind the solid walls, restored several times during a history of invasions and sieges, a traditional quarter has been preserved whose alleys and squares near the main entrance are well renovated and adorned with fountains. This is where several restaurants, tourist shops and a few hotels are located. store. Continuing the ascent from the Alaettin Mosque (4), from the 12th century to its origins, we access a much more degraded area, but with the interest of a neighborhood where we live almost like in a traditional Turkish city. It is worth noting the blocks of stone that support arches or form columns and on which you can see engraved inscriptions in Latin or Greek, reused by the successive conquerors of the city.
15.00 Very special skewers
A few meters from the main entrance of the citadel, on one of the slopes that descend towards the center, the lamb skewers of the restaurant Sadik Oustanin (5) For many people in the capital, these are the best in town. In the kitchen on the ground floor, in full view, a huge kebab integrated in a horizontal bar rotates slowly over the embers and thus a delicious flavor is obtained. Alcohol is not served, but the best idea is to accompany the meat with the traditional Ayranthe liquid and sour yogurt typical of Turkey.
4:00 p.m. Kemal Ataturk Mausoleum
Again, the taxi is the most recommended means of transport. Anitkabir (6), the huge mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the founder of modern Turkey. The man who opted for secularism and ordered the substitution of the Arabic alphabet of the Ottomans for the Latin alphabet in order to facilitate rapprochement with Europe died in 1938, and today a veneration bordering on adoration returned to him in a large neoclassical building. Every few hours you can see an energetic changing of the guard, and the building’s museum, on one side of the huge esplanade, illustrates the campaign of the Father of the Turks against the Allied Powers who in 1919 attempted to divide what was left. of the Ottoman Empire.
7:00 p.m. Turkish Delight Center
the pretty street Tunali Hilmi, in the modern and refined district of Kavaklidere, is a favorite of Angorians for shopping, as it is home to the clothing, cosmetics and accessories stores of many of the best known international brands. But for the traveler, the greatest interest lies in the well-maintained local shops, such as the beautiful grocery store Tugba Kuruyemis (7), ideal for buying the famous Turkish delights, these colorful jelly candies, traditional tea or coffee, jams, honey, etc. At 101 B of this same street, Kuru Kahveci Hassan Usta (8) It is recommended to buy the national cakes, such as the baklavaan amazing variety of nuts or coffee from their own roasting.
22.00 For a good bye
If at this stage you are a little saturated with kebab, you can go to dinner at mezzaluna (9)on Iran Street, or Gioia (10), close to Tahran, both located in the Kavaklidere region. They serve good pasta dishes, pizzas and salads, and more than decent wines. If you want to end the day with a certain party, the Pub James Cook (11)in the neighboring Tunus street, is a spacious place with a good atmosphere and a magnificent terrace, ideal to say goodbye to Ankara.
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