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EXPLORE ANKARA & CENTRAL ANATOLIA

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Ankara City Centre

Turkey's 'other' city may not have showy Ottoman palaces or regal facades, but Ankara thrums to a vivacious, youthful beat unmarred by the tug of history. Drawing comparisons with İstanbul is pointless – the flat, modest surroundings are hardly the stuff of national poetry – but the civic success of this dynamic city is assured thanks to student panache and foreign-embassy intrigue.

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Anit Kabir

The monumental mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938), the founder of modern Turkey, sits high above the city with its abundance of marble and air of veneration. The tomb itself actually makes up only a small part of this complex, which consists of museums and a ceremonial courtyard. For many Turks a visit is virtually a pilgrimage, and it's not unusual to see people visibly moved. Allow at least two hours in order to visit the whole site.

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Ankara Hisar Citadel

 

The imposing hisar (citadel) is the most interesting part of Ankara to poke about in. This well-preserved quarter of thick walls and winding streets took its present shape in the 9th century AD, when the Byzantine emperor Michael II constructed the outer ramparts. The inner walls date from the 7th century.

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Museum of Anatolian Civilisations

The best place in the country to get to grips with the complex weave of Turkey's history, the exhibits here house artefacts cherry-picked from just about every significant archaeological site in Anatolia.

The central hall houses reliefs and statuary, while the surrounding halls take you on a journey of staggering history from Neolithic and Chalcolithic, through the Bronze Age Assyrian and Hittite eras, to the Iron Age's Phrygian and Urartian periods.