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Ankara: A City Worth Visiting



Although many residents of Ankara live in suburbs called ‘gecekondu’, the New Town that was planned after 1923 has developments that match other cities in the world. The term ‘gecekondu’ means ‘built overnight’ and the simple houses resemble those found in Turkish villages, which in themselves will give you insight into traditional Turkish life without leaving the city. The old quarter will also give you the opportunity to learn more about history that goes back more than 3,000 years. The first documented town in this place dates back to around 1200 BC, during the Phrygian period. In fact, even the name ‘Ankyra’ can be traced back to this period.

Citadel (Local Name: Hisar)

The fortress of the Old City was built on an andesite ridge that is 120 meters high facing AltinDag, which is the oldest ‘gecekondu’ in the city. It foundations can be traced back to the Galatians. The Citadel has double walls made of huge blocks of stone. Both the walls and the houses sandwiched between them are part of the historic monuments under the protection of UNESCO.

The lower gate (Hisar Kapisi) has a clock tower and it leads to alleyways of ‘dis kale’, the outer fortress, from the old horse market. There is another gate with double bays known as Parmak Kapisi that leads to the inner fort, called iç kale. Sark Kale is a tower that links the outer and inner defenses. Reinforcements in the 19th century made its walls have a thickness of 8 meters. There are 42 towers on the inner ring wall. You need a permit if you want to visit the White Fortress (Ak Kale). Apart from the grandeur of the citadel itself, you will have the opportunity to see some panoramic views when you climb the east tower.

Caracalla Baths

These are what remain from the Roman baths that Emperor Caracalla built between 212 and 217. The original baths had at least ten rooms with water at various temperatures and baths. There were also several changing rooms. Although the baths were burnt in the tenth century, the lower floor is still preserved with a heating system and covered passageways. In front of it is the palaestra, the place where people exercised. The baths are open daily between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Julian's Column

Located in the Old Town, Julian's Column (Belkis Minaresi) stands 15 meters high. Its construction can be traced back to 362 AD, probably as a tribute to the visit of Emperor Julian Apostatas.

Ak Köprü

This is a seven-arch bridge on Istanbul Caddesi. On its west side are inscriptions that seem to date it back to 1222 during the reign of Seljuk governor Kizilbey.

Çubuk Baraji I

A number of reservoirs were constructed to maintain the supply of water in the town. Çubuk Baraji I was the first such dam to be constructed, which was between 1929 and 1939. It has a capacity of 12.5 million cubic meters, although it has suffered from silting over the years.

These are just a few of the sites in Ankara that prove the city is worth visiting.



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