Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is situated in the northwestern part of the country. The country’s capital has made remarkable progress from a dusty Anatolian backwater to today’s sophisticated arena for international affairs. Turkey’s economic success is reflected in the booming restaurant scene around Kavaklıdere, and while the vibrant street life is enough of a reason to visit, Ankara also boasts two extraordinary monuments central to the Turkish story – the beautifully conceived Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and the Anıt Kabir, a colossal tribute to Atatürk, modern Turkey’s founder. While the date of the city’s foundation is uncertain, archaeological evidence indicates habitation at least since the Stone Age, and a thriving Phrygian town was located in the area at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Alexander the Great conquered Ankara in 333 BC, and in the 3rd century BC, the town served as the capital of the Tectosages. In 25 BC, Ankara was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the emperor Augustus. As a city of the Byzantine Empire, Ankara was attacked by the Persians and the Arabs. About 1073, Ankara fell to the Seljuq Turks, but the Crusader Raymond IV of Toulouse drove them out again in 1101. The Byzantines, however, could not maintain their control, and Ankara became a bone of contention between the Seljuqs and their rivals among the Turkish frontier lords. After 1143, Seljuq princes fought among themselves for possession of the city. With the establishment of the Seljuq empire, Ankara declined. In 1354 the city was captured by Orhan (Orkhan), the second sultan of the Ottoman dynasty, and it became a part of the Ottoman domains in 1360. Ankara was besieged during the Anatolian campaign of Timur (Tamerlane). In 1403 it again became subject to Ottoman rule, and in subsequent centuries it regained its importance as a commercial and urban center because of its location on the caravan route to the East. After World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nationalist leader, made Ankara the center of the resistance movement against both the government of the Ottoman sultan and the invading Greek forces; he established his headquarters there in 1919. Ankara was declared the capital of Turkey in 1923. We walked around the Alâeddin Mosque, with one minaret, to the walled citadel with numerous Ottoman buildings from the Seljuq era. After that, we took dinner at the popular pub Kitir and took a beer at another busy pub, Crossroads. The following day we visited the gigantic mausoleum Anıt Kabir.

Parking location – Ankara: 39.934952N 32.851248E (🚻 – 24/7, 🅿️ – 40 TRY / 24 hrs)