Ankara (formerly Angora, ancient name Ancyra) has been the capital of Turkey and the province of the same name Ankara since 1923. In 2007 the city had 3,642,000 inhabitants, today it has over 4.4 million. This makes it the second largest city in the country after Istanbul.
Ankara is situated about 960 m to 1200 m above sea level and has a dry continental climate, which is characterized by hot dry summers and cold snowy winters. In summer, temperatures can rise up to 35 degrees, while at night it drops to 10 degrees. The steppe climate in Ankara is similar to a desert, but not as extreme. Winter temperatures are around 0 degrees during the day and at night they can reach -10 degrees and sometimes drop to -20 degrees. Thanks to the altitude, summers in Ankara are pleasant.
Arrival by Aircraft
The Turkish capital has an international commercial airport, the Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB) about 28 km northeast of the city centre.
The following airlines fly directly to Ankara from German-speaking countries:
- Anadolujet for Turkish Airlines from Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main and Vienna
- Germania from Berlin-Tegel, Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Hannover
- germanwings from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart
- Lufthansa from Munich, Frankfurt
- Pegasus Airlines from Berlin-Tegel, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne/Bonn, Munich and Vienna
- SunExpress from Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Stuttgart
- The cheapest way to get from the airport to the city is by public bus line 442 (Belko Air). One trip costs 8 TL (as of November 2014). The journey takes about one hour, departing every 20 minutes, with an intermediate stop at the long-distance bus station. There is also a private bus company (Havas – one way 10-12.5 TL), which goes to the city centre and the bus station.
As a relatively young city Ankara offers among others the following sights:
- the Kocatepe Mosque (Kocatepe Camii)
- the Hacıbayram mosque
- the Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk
- the Atakule television tower
- the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations at the foot of the citadel
- the first republican parliament opposite the historic Ankara Palas Hotel in the Ulus district
- Ankara Castle
- “Augustus Tapınağı” a religious site built in 200 B.C.
- the roman ruins of the temple of Augustus and the Therme and the Julian column
- Other museums and sights
- Alagöz Karargah Museum
- Ethnography Museum
- Kurtuluş Savaşı Müzesi (= Freedom Fighting Museum)
- Roman hamam
- Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi Oyuncak Müzesi (=toy museum)
- Atatürk ve Freiheitskamp Museum on 3000 m²
- Cumhuriyet Müzesi (II TBMM Binası)
- Çengelhan Rahmi Koç Museum
- Gordion Museum
- Mehmet Akif Ersoy Müze Evi (House of the poet of the Turkish national anthem “Istiklal Marsi”)
- ODTÜ Bilim ve Teknoloji Müzesi (Knowledge and Technology Museum)
- Pembe Köşk
- Çankaya Köşkü (Çankaya Ataturk Museum)
- Türk Hava Kurumu Müzesi (Turkish Aviation Museum)
- A.O.Ç.Atatürk Evi Museum
- Beypazarı Tarih ve cooling door museum
- Devlet Resim ve Heykel Museum
- Eğit-The Eğitim Museum
- G.Ü.Mesleki Eğitim Fakültesi Museum
- PTT Museum
- Meteoroloji Museum
- Ülker Zaim Museum
- Ziraat Bankası Museum
- 75.Yıl Cumhuriyet Eğitim Museum
- Şerife Uludağ Kız Olgunlaşma Dinner 100.Yıl Museum
- TCDD Açıkhava Buharlı Buharlı Lokomotif Museum
- Telecomunikasyon Museum
- TRT Museum
- Hava Museum
- Şefik Bursalı Museum House
- TCMB Money Museum
Traditional bazaars can be found on a small scale in the old districts of Ulus and Altindag, especially below the castle. In the district of Kizilay (city centre), south of Ulus, there are more modern shops, large shopping malls can be found there as well as in many other districts. In the various shopping malls there are shops with all international brands. In the middle of Kizilay there is one of them, the Kizilay Alisveris Merkezi. Other large shopping malls are located along the road towards Eskisehir, including Armada, Next-Level, CEPA and Kentpark. These are usually open Monday to Sunday from 10-22. For those who want to shop in a more relaxed way, the Hilmi-Tunali Street, the old shopping mile of the city, offers small boutiques, numerous cafés and restaurants in addition to well-known chains.
Students like to go away in the “seventh street”, the “yedinci caddesi” in Bestepe. There are many nice cafés and pubs right next to each other, of course only in some of them alcohol is served. In most of the cafés there are board games, also shisha smoking is possible in many of them. Some pubs also have live music, from a certain time on they also dance. In the amusement center in Kizilay there are also several bars, some of them have more of a “red light touch”, on the other hand there is also a very recommendable rock pub with live music (mostly cover bands). In the cafés, pubs and restaurants around Tunali Hilmi rather the better off students or young people of Ankara leave.
As the capital city of Turkey, all well-known large and small hotel chains are generously represented in Ankara. They offer something suitable for every budget. Some of the cheapest hotels are located in Ulus, the old town, which however has the reputation of not being the safest place for women travelling alone. However, the streets are busier in the evenings than, for example, in the many purely residential areas, which are also less central. If you plan to spend a longer period of time in Ankara in summer, you can also call the local municipal student halls of residence. Most of them close during the summer, but some have to stay open due to the “summer school” students and are usually not fully occupied during the summer, so they also accept non-student tourists at reasonable rates. However, those who value comfort and privacy would be in the wrong place.
Ankara is a very safe city for a city of millions. Even at night you can move around the city safely. The risk of robberies and other violent crimes is very low. One should pay attention in every metropolis. The usual precautions apply. However, petty crimes such as pickpocketing can occur. Therefore you should always take care of your things and keep your bags locked.
The biggest danger is the traffic, as the appreciation for the individual integrity, especially of pedestrians, is quite low. Every road should be crossed carefully and very quickly. Even if pedestrian lights show green, it is advisable to keep a watchful eye. At zebra crossings it is better to look twice before crossing the road.
Another danger for pedestrians are the pavements, because they are often in a very bad condition. Because of the bad or irregular repair of the pavements, many of them are unpaved, with loose cobblestones and holes in the asphalt. The risk of stumbling and injuring yourself should therefore not be underestimated.
The lingua franca is Turkish. Because of its function as the capital, the level of education in Ankara is high. The people are generally very nice and helpful. However, one cannot expect to speak practiced English. Most people speak only a few words of English or another foreign language.