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Ankara: Center of civilizations in Anatolia

History and Culture

Ankara was formerly called as “Ankuwash” by the Hittites, “Áγκυρα-Ànkyra” during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, “Ancyra” (which means “anchor”) by the Galatians and Romans. The last city name “Ankara” is slightly modified from “Ancyra”.

The history of Ankara goes back to the Hatti civilization of Bronze Age. In the 2nd millennium B.C., the city was conquered by the Hittites, in the 10th century B.C. by the Phrygians then followed by the Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans. Starting from 1000 B.C., Ankara significantly grew in both size and importance during the period of Phrygians. For this reason, in Phrygian tradition, King Midas venerated as the founder of Ancyra. Galatians were the first to make Ankara their capital city. When the city was conquered by Romans, Ankara continued to be the capital city and the commercial, cultural and arts center as well. During the Seljuks’ and Ottomans’ periods, Ankara became an important location for transportation and natural resources. As a consequence of its strategic location in World War I and Turkish War of Independence, Ankara was declared to be the Capital City of Turkish Republic in October 13, 1923 and now it is the second biggest city of Turkey. It is “the heart of Turkey” concerning both its location and its function. Since Ankara housed many different civilizations and empires, its cultural heritage is very unique and precious. Çatalhöyük, King Midas Tomb, Mother Goddess, Cybele Statuette, Temple of Augustus and Alaeddin Mosque are some of the examples of this rich cultural heritage that can be traced in Ankara.

Ankara at a Glance

Ankara with its universities, technology development zones, industrial zones, sector clusters, non governmental organizations, and high quality of life is not only administrative but also social, cultural and innovation capital of Turkey.


The city of Ankara lies at an elevated altitude of 600-850m, on the eastern edge of the Anatolian Plateau and has a continental, suitable climate.


The city well connected to ALL other parts of the country by highways, (new) high speed trains and the modern international and domestic airport.


Ankara's population in 2014 is almost 5.05 million, and has high annual growth rates (e.g. +200,000 migrants in 2011); over 50% of the residents in Turkey can reach Ankara in less than 4 hours ground travel.

Tourism and Attractions

The capital of civilization in Anatolia, Ankara with its ruins of Hittite, Phrygia, Roman, Seljuk Empires and with its key role during the Turkish Independence War, is gaining popularity as a tourist destination.

Ulus is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Ankara. The Roman baths, now an open-air museum, the Julianus Column and Augustus Temple are some of the historical ruins in Ulus. The Anatolian Civilizations Museum has a unique collection of artifacts, artworks and remains of age-old Anatolia. Hacı Bayram-ı Veli Mosque from 14th century A.D. is situated in the vicinity of Ulus. The Grand National Assembly Building (First Senate House), the symbol of the Turkish Republic, today, is the Museum of Turkish Independence. The Mausoleum, where the founder of Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lies in eternal peace, represents the respect of Turkish people of their savior.

Traditional Ankara houses in Inner Castle and Hamamönü are open-air museum destinations with their authentic streets, cultural and artistic events, hand-made products exhibited at the street corners, shopping stores promising novelties for all tastes and budgets.

The districts of Ankara also offer an alternative outing for those who are willing to enjoy the quiet life of the countryside.