he seat of Turkey's government in the strategic heart of central Anatolia,Ankara is the city selected by [Linkleri sadece kayıtlı üyelerimiz görebilir.ForumTR üyesi olmak için tıklayınız],the republic's founder, to house the capital of the newly politically defined country. Though thoroughly modern in appearance Ankara's history and that of the surrounding area dates back to the Bronze Age and the Hatti civilization. In the second millennium B.C. the Hittites followed as lords of the land and were succeeded in turn by the Phrygians, Lydians and Persians. In the third century B.C., the Galatians, a Celtic race, made Ankara their capital. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning 'anchor' (which is one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts). The Romans and then the Byzantines held this strategic expanse of land until 1073 when the Seljuk Turks, commanded by Alpaslan, conquered it. Just over three centuries later in 1402, the city, then but a small outpost, passed into the hands of the Ottomans led by Beyazit I.
After the first World War, Ankara assumed a prominent position as the center of Ataturk's national resistance and the War of Independence that liber ated the Turkish homeland from the domination of foreign powers. On the 13th of October, 1923, Ankara was declared the capital of the new Republic of Turkey.
Dominating the modern part of the city, much of it constructed since Ankara's rise to prominence, is the imposing limestone Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk. Completed in 1953, this fusion of ancient and modern architectural concepts testifies to the power and grace of Turkish architecture. A museum at Anitkabir displays some of Ataturk's personal items and documents. His house in Cankaya, next to the Presidential Palace, is open on Sunday afternoons.
The oldest parts of the city surround the ancient hisar or citadel. Within the walls, the 12th century Alaeddin Mosque although much rebuilt by the Ottomans, still boasts fine Seljuk woodwork. Many interesting traditional Turkish houses have been restored in the area, and some have found new life as art galleries or attractive restaurants serving local dishes and wine. The beautiful Ankara castle restaurant offers excellent local and international cuisine and wine. It's well-known that Ankara was the cradle of "vine" (Hatti and Hittite) by 2000 B.C. Many vineyards around Ankara sponsor wine-tasting socials. Close to the gate, Hisar Kapisi, the beautifully restored bedestan (covered bazaar), houses the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its priceless collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and Roman artifacts, and the showpiece Lydian treasure. The museum is open every day except Monday. Out side the citadel the 13th century Arslanhane Mosque and the 14th century Ahi Elvan Mosque are worth visiting.
The legacy of Roman times - the third century A.D. public baths (built by the Roman Emperor Caracalla), the fourth century Julian Column and the second-century Temple of Augustus is located in an area below the citadel, near Ulus Meydani (Nation Square). The sole surviving "Political Testament of Augustus", a statement detailing the achievements of the Emperor Augustus, remains inscribed on the wall of his temple in Ankara. At one time every temple dedicated to him throughout the Roman Empire bore this document; this is the only complete copy in existence today. The Galatian king Pylamenes built the temple as a tribute to Augustus in 10 A.D. and in the second century, it was re-constructed by the Romans on the ancient Ankara Acropolis. In the fifth century the Byzantines converted the temple into a church.
Excavations of a Roman theatre, pro-scene (stage), and scene (backstage), can be seen outside the citadel. Roman statues found here are exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. The audience area is still under excavation.
Adjacent to the temple stands the 15th-century Had Bayram mosque and mausoleum. This complex is greatly venerated by Muslims as a holy shrine.
From Ulus Meydani, with its equestrian statue of Ataturk, continue down Ataturk Boulevard to the Ethnographical Museum which houses magnificent Seljuk doors of carved wood, and other artifacts of daily life. Nearby, the Sculpture and Painting Museum illustrates the history of the Turkish fine arts. The largest mosque in Ankara graces the Kocatepe quarter. Kocatepe Mosque was built between 1976 and 1987, and is in the Ottoman architectural style.
Ankara has an active artistic and cultural life with world class performances of ballet, modern dance, jazz, theater, opera and folk dancing. The city is especially well known for its Philharmonic Orchestra which attracts a loyal following. Ankara hosts two international festivals in April: "The Arts and Music Festival", and the world-famous "April 23rd International Children's Festival".
Visitors to the city usually like to browse through the old shops in Cikrikcilar Yokusu near Ulus. On the street of coppersmiths, Bakircilar Carsisi, you can find many interesting old and new items, not only of copper but jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiquities and embroidery. A walk up the hill to the Cit adel Gate takes you past many interesting stalls and vendors selling spices, dried fruits, nuts and all manner of produce. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kizilay, on Tunali Hilmi Avenue and in the Atakule Tower in Cankaya. The top of Atakule, at 125 meters, offers a magnificent view over the whole city. Its excellent revolving restaurant allows you to enjoy the complete view in a leisurely fashion. In the new Karum shopping mall, in Kavaklidere, some of Turkey's most chic clothing stores tempt the passer-by