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Divan Ankara

Experience Ankara

The Citadel

The Citadel

Most people tend to think of Ankara as a modern city of large government buildings and wide-open space, but, in fact, it is a city of great antiquity (older even than Istanbul itself), dating back to the Bronze Age, when it was inhabited by the Hatti. Known in Ancient times as Ancyra, the city was ruled by the Phrygians, Persians and Celts among others before being conquered by Rome and made the capital of the province of Galatia. Ankara’s Hisar district, or Citadel, is one of the most picturesque old quarters in Anatolia. Full of winding lanes lined with traditional Ottoman houses, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, it is surrounded by magnificent Byzantine fortifications constructed in the early 9th century by the Emperor Michael the Amorian.

Aslanhane Mosque

Aslanhane Mosque

The Aslanhane is the finest of Ankara’s mosques. Constructed in the early 13th century, it is a rare example of a Seljuk wooden, hall-mosque, of which only about half a dozen have survived. It lies just out side the ramparts of the Hisar, and its roof is supported by a forest of 24 wooden pillars with intricate stalactite capitals. It is also notable for its handsome, tiled mihrab or prayer niche.

Alaeddin Mosque

Alaeddin Mosque

Constructed in 1178, this is the oldest mosque in Ankara, but due to restorations during the Ottoman period, it has lost most of its original characteristics. Today, it is chiefly remarkable for its magnificent mimber (or pulpit), which is a masterpiece of Seljuk woodcarving.

Ahi Elvan Mosque

Ahi Elvan Mosque

This mosque was built in 1382 and renovated in 1413 by Sultan Mehmet I. Like the Alaeddin Mosque, it has a superb mimber (or pulpit) in the Seljuk style. Its roof is supported by twelve columns retrieved from Roman and Byzantine structures.

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

Although not especially large, this is indisputably one of the world’s great museums. Here, beginning with the astonishing wall-paintings from the Neolithic site of Çatal Höyük, one can literally walk through the history of ancient Anatolia, viewing the masterpieces created by Hittites, Urartians, Hurrians, Phrygians and Lydians. Even if you are not typically interested in museums, this is one you should not miss.

Temple of Augustus and Rome

Temple of Augustus and Rome

The Temple of Augustus and Rome, which was built in the late first century BC after the Roman conquest of Anatolia and Ancyra’s proclamation as the capital of Galatia, was expanded by the Romans in the 2nd century AD and then converted into a church in the 6th century by the Byzantines. The ruins of the Temple of Augustus have been partly incorporated into the early 15th century Mosque of Hacı Bayram.

Roman Bath

Roman Bath

This bath is attributed to the Emperor Caracalla and was dedicated to the God of Medicine, who had his origin in Anatolia, Asclepios. Only portions of the bath’s substructure and first floor survive.

Hacı Bayram Mosque

Hacı Bayram Mosque

This mosque in the Seljuk style was built in honour of Hacı Bayram Veli in the early 15th century by an unknown architect. It was subsequently restored by the great Ottoman architect, Sinan, in the 16th century, and its Kütahya tile decorations were added in the 18th century.

Anıtkabir / The Atatürk Mausoleum

Anıtkabir / The Atatürk Mausoleum

As the last resting place of the man who ensured Turkey’s independence and established the modern, secular Turkish Republic, one would expect Anıtkabir to be an imposing structure, which indeed it is. With its ranks of tall pillars, it resembles a modernist interpretation of one of the great Anatolian temples, and it remains a place of pilgrimage for patriotic Turks. The interior is largely empty so that all attention is focussed on the great man’s forty-ton sarcophagus. The complex also includes the tomb of Atatürk’s comrade-in-arms and successor as president, İsmet İnönü.

Rahmi M. Koç Çengelhan Museum

Rahmi M. Koç Çengelhan Museum

The Rahmi M. Koç Çengelhan Museum in the Ankara Citadel is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Ankara. Built by Rüstem Pasha, the husband of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent's daughter Mihrimah Sultan, in 1523, for centuries the Han, or trading house, hosted travelers and traders as well as playing a central role as the trading center of the Ankara region. With its arches and columns, its architecture is unique and evokes its Ottoman heritage. The building, which was later used as a tannery and a wool depot, has been transformed into Ankara’s first Museum of Industry, with more than 800 pieces on display.

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