Theme Week Turkey – Ankara: doner kebab, good wine and Angora

Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 03:01 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Turkish Parliament © T.C. Büyük Millet Meclisi

Turkish Parliament © T.C. Büyük Millet Meclisi

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of 938 metres (3,077 ft), and as of 2008 the city had a population of 4,500,000. Ankara also serves as the capital of Ankara Province. As with many ancient cities, Ankara has gone by several names over the ages. It has been identified with the Hittite cult center Ankuwaš, although this remains a matter of debate. In classical antiquity and during the medieval period, the city was known as Ánkyra (Ἄγκυρα, “anchor”) in Greek and Ancyra in Latin; the Galatian Celtic name was probably a similar variant. Following its annexation by the Seljuq Turks in 1073, the city became known in many European languages as Angora, a usage which continued until its official renaming to “Ankara” under the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930. Another proposed theory show that the original name of the city might be taken over from the Ankara River of Asia by the invading Seljuk Turks.

Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the center of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the centre of Turkey’s highway and railway networks, and serves as the marketing centre for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired Angora goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), white rabbits and their prized wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region’s muscat grapes. The historical center of Ankara is situated upon a rocky hill, which rises 150 m (492 ft) above the plain on the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya (Sangarius) river. The city is located 450 km (280 mi) southeast of Istanbul, the country’s largest city. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded mostly by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, which is 72 m² per head.

Middle East Technical University Campus © AtilimGunesBaydin Ankara Citadel © Mark Hamilton Ankara Castle walls © Peace01234 Ankara Arena © Cetorhinus Yunus Emre Institut © Mcdrwal Turkish State Theatre's head office © Atilim Gunes Baydin Goksu Park © www.goksu.com.tr Ethnography Museum © Avniyazici Dikmen Valley Towers and Park © Turgut Cankaya Presidential Residence © T.C. Presidency Art Deco style Ankara Train Station © Decadent Art Armada Mall © Turgut State Art and Sculpture Museum © Cetorhinus Sheraton Hotel and Beymen building © Turgut Park Kurtuluş © Turgut Musem of Anatolian Civilisations © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen Kocatepe Mosque © Noumenon Keçiören Park with its mini zoo © Ankaralı Turgut Former Turkish Parliament Building, now the Republic Museum © Cetorhinus Atatürk's Mausoleum © Helen P. Betts Ankara State Opera House © Roman Frei Ankara is famous for its local varieties of grapes and wine © Turkish Flame Ankara Collage © Dsmurat Turkish Parliament Building © T.C. Büyük Millet Meclisi
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Ankara is famous for its local varieties of grapes and wine © Turkish Flame
Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The hill which overlooks the city is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which adds to the picturesqueness of the view, but only a few historic structures surrounding the old citadel have survived to the present day. There are, however, many finely preserved remains of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus and Rome (20 BC) which is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.

Foreign visitors to Ankara usually like to visit the old shops in Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu (Weavers’ Road) near Ulus, where myriad things ranging from traditional fabrics, hand-woven carpets and leather products can be found at bargain prices. Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Bazaar of Coppersmiths) is particularly popular, and many interesting items, not just of copper, can be found here like jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery. Up the hill to the castle gate, there are many shops selling a huge and fresh collection of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and other produce. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kızılay, or on Tunalı Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum (named after the ancient Assyrian merchant colonies (Karum) that were established in central Anatolia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC) which is located towards the end of the Avenue; and in the Atakule Tower at Çankaya, the quarter with the highest elevation in the city, which commands a magnificent view over the whole city and also has a revolving restaurant at the top where the complete panorama can be enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion. The symbol of the Armada Shopping Mall is an anchor, and there’s a large anchor monument at its entrance, as a reference to the ancient Greek name of the city, Ἄγκυρα (Ánkyra), which means anchor. Likewise, the anchor is also related with the Spanish name of the mall, Armada, which means naval fleet. As Ankara started expanding westward in the 1970s, several modern, suburbia-style developments and mini-cities began to rise along the western highway, also known as the Eskişehir Road. The Armada and CEPA malls on the highway, the Galleria in Ümitköy, and a huge mall, Real in Bilkent Center, offer North American and European style shopping opportunities (these places can be reached through the Eskişehir Highway.) There is also the newly expanded Ankamall at the outskirts, on the Istanbul Highway, which houses most of the well-known international brands. This mall is the largest throughout the Ankara region.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on City of Ankara, Ankara University, Wikitravel Ankara, Wikivoyage Ankara and Wikipedia Ankara. Learn more about the use of photos . To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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