Though Istanbul is the more recognizable city as well as the most populous, however, Ankara is actually the capital of this European Middle Eastern divided country. Ankara is a great place to go if you want to escape some of the crowds of Istanbul but still be in an outrageously cosmopolitan city.
Though it is definitely a metropolis, Ankara holds it’s ancient history near, which makes it all the more special. There’s so much to do and see in Ankara, what are you waiting for?
What to Do
Religion is very important in Turkey, and one of the places to see it in action is the Haci Bayram Mosque. This mosque was built in the 15th century and the architecture has stood the test of time. Though it’s not used as much as a place of prayer, it’s still historically and religiously significant, so make sure when you go to cover up.
History buffs cannot miss out on the Roman baths of Ankara. The baths were built in the 3rd century by the Roman Emperor Caracalla but were destroyed back in the 8th century by a fire. Still, today you can see the remnants of the baths, with the three rooms that were each built for a specific purpose.
One site you cannot miss seeing is the Ankara Castle. What’s different about the castle is that it was actually built as a military stronghold, so it’s a very secure structure. Historians don’t know exactly when the castle was built, but most put it at the beginning of the 7th century.
What is most incredible about the castle is that it gives you sweeping 360-degree views of the entire city of Ankara, and you really cannot get a better view of the city from anywhere else-perfect for a photo op!
Anıtkabir is another must-see site, which is the name of the memorial tomb of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This was the founder and first president of Turkey, and he highly revered in society for the country gaining its independence in the early part of the 20th century. It is a fascinating and beautiful building to see, and it’s also completely free which is a real treat as a tourist.
What to Eat
The gastronomical culture of Turkey is so vast and delicious, you don’t want to miss out on anything! The meat in Turkey is prepared so thoughtfully and deliciously, even a doner kebab will make your mouth water. If you’re looking for a really interesting meat-based dining experience, you have to check out the plates at Inci Kasap and Steakhouse.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t afford not to have Kanafeh. This Turkish dessert is cousins with baklava but has a creamy cheese filling. If you want to try all sorts of kanafeh, the best place to go to is a restaurant called Zeugma Kunefe. They have a ton of varieties of Kanafeh and other sweets, and they plate so beautifully you’ll never want to leave.