Guest Author - Rachel Schaus
The city of Ankara is located in the center of the Anatolia region, high up on the Anatolian Plateau. Its history dates to 3000 years B.C. Hittites, Lydians, Persians, and Galatians were inhabitants during the B.C. era, and later this region became dominated by the Romans, Byzantines, and finally the Turks in 1071. Both the Hittites and Galatians from this region are mentioned in the Jewish Tanakh and Bible records.
Ankara became an important trading post for the Roman empire in the north, and than a significant trading center for the caravan route of the Ottoman times. It once again gained eminence when Kemal Ataturk chose it as his base to lead the War of Liberation and became the capital of the Republic of Turkey on October 13, 1923.
Most important sites to see for modern visitors to Turkey are the Ataturk Mausoleum, which contains the body of Kemal Ataturk, known as the founder and father of modern day Turkey. It is important for visitors to Turkey demonstrate proper respect for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and his picture will be noticed frequently throughout the country.
To see ancient remains of civilizations in the area, visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations close to the citadel entrance. Make sure to check out the covered bazaar (bedestan). The citadel is home to many different restaurants serving local and international foods and locally made wine. Wine making dates back to the Bronze age and the Hittite civilizations. For history buffs, spending time near the citadel will be helpful as an ancient Roman theater can be seen as well as other ancient houses and ruins.
From the Galatians era, the Temple of Augustus built by King Pylamenes in 10A.D. and reconstructed by the Romans at the Ankara Acropolis is important as the only remaining political testament of Augustus who ruled at the time of the birth of Jesus.
Roman baths, political monuments, beautiful mosques, parks such as Genclik Park and many more cultural sites should be considered in anyone's itinerary to Ankara.