Visiting Ankara

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Question: Mehmet , the ITT office and some other agencies offer tours to various locations but, I don't want to stick with the itinerary of the tour. I want to go and spend more time at the places I like and skip the places that don't interest me. Is there a place that you recommend to go and stay overnight?

Response: The first place that comes to my mind that I will recommend is Ankara. If you miss a modern and westernized city, go to Ankara. Since it's the capital of the country and the embassies of every country are located there, Ankara has quite a high foreign population. Therefore, it is totally different from Adana and any other city in Turkey. It has wider roads and traffic flows a lot smoother. You will enjoy the restaurants offering food from different cultures and countries. 

You can easily find various shopping malls. Visiting and shopping at the stores in the old part of the city, by the Ulus district and up to the Citadel, is very interesting. You can find very different and unique carpets, costumes, antiques, embroidery and spices.
Ankara is the center for opera, ballet, jazz and modern dance. Its night life is also quite colorful with concerts, night clubs and various shows. 

Ankara is about 300 miles north of Adana and there is a good highway between the two cities. You can fly there daily or a bus ride takes about six to seven hours. You can find a bus almost every hour of the day to Ankara. You can also easily drive a personal vehicle to Ankara. 

As I said above, Ankara is the capital of the country and it is the second largest city in Turkey with a population of about 5 million people. Although its foundation is quite old, Ankara is mostly a new and modern city. It gained its importance and growth after it was declared as the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1920. 

Trains run between Adana and Ankara daily. A trip to Ankara by train is a very unique experience. My recommendation is to take the sleeper train, which departs Adana at 7:30 in the evening. The train arrives in Ankara about 8:30 in the morning the following day. The sleeping carts are for two people, but if you want you can have the cart for yourself. It will cost 61 Yeni Turkish Lira (approx. $45) or for two people it costs 94 Turkish Lira (approx. $70). You can buy round trip tickets as well. But, in that case, as soon as you arrive in Ankara, go to the ticket cage and make sure that you get your return ticket confirmed by the Ankara ticket office at the Ankara Train station.
The beds are quite clean and neat and have all the comfort you expect in a train including hot water. A Restaurant cart is next to the sleeper cart. Thus, you can easily have food and drinks during your trip. 

I think the best day to go to Ankara is Friday. If you depart on Friday, you arrive in Ankara on Saturday morning. You can tour the city all day Saturday and get on the train the same evening and arrive in Adana Sunday morning. Thus, you will have all day Sunday to rest and relax for Monday morning when you return to work. You don't need to make a hotel reservation, because you will be sleeping on the train. 

The best mode of transportation in Ankara is taxis. They are available everywhere and provide fast, effective and very inexpensive travel options.
here are many places to visit in Ankara. Ataturk's Mausoleum, where the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey is buried, is built on top of a hill with a good view of Ankara. The mausoleum is very impressive and it is a sign of respect and love from the Turkish people to their founding father. 

You may want to visit the Kocatepe Mosque. It is the second largest mosque in Turkey with a capacity of 24,000 worshippers. But since we have the largest mosque in the Middle East in Adana with a capacity of 28,500 worshippers, you can visit that mosque anytime during your tour here. Both mosques are magnificent and have similar architecture. 

The one place you shouldn't miss in Ankara is the world famous Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which was selected as the European Museum of the Year in 1997. The museum is at the skirts of the old city citadel. From the yard of the museum you can overlook the whole city. The museum building is originally an old caravanserai.
Anatolia is one of the most ancient regions of human settlement. Thousands of artifacts and pieces found in various ancient sites, representing the civilizations that passed through these lands, are exhibited in chronological order. The first things you will see at the first section of the museum are rock paintings dating from 6000 BC found at the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. Ankara is one site you will not want to miss in your travels across Turkey.