Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora is the capital of Turkey.
The city is located in the northwestern part of the country, in central Anatolia region.
As of December 2019, the population of Ankara is about 5.5 million people. It is Turkey’s second largest city after Istanbul.
Ankara covers a total area of 2,516 square kilometers (971 square miles).
The city has average elevation of 938 meters (3,077 feet) above sea level.
The region’s vibrant history can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, and then by the Lydians and Persians.
Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians’ defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great who conquered the city in 333 BC.
In the 3rd century BC the town served as the capital of the Tectosages, a tribe of Galatia (the ancient name for the region around Ankara).
In 25 BC Ankara was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the emperor Augustus.
From the 4th century the city was a centre of Christian activity in Byzantine Empire. As a city of the Byzantine Empire, Ankara was attacked by both the Persians and the Arabs.
About 1073 Ankara fell to the Seljuq Turks, but the Crusader Raymond IV of Toulouse drove them out again in 1101.
The Byzantines, however, were unable to maintain their control, and Ankara became a bone of contention between the Seljuqs and their rivals among the Turkish frontier lords.
After 1143, Seljuq princes fought among themselves for possession of the city. With the establishment of the Seljuq empire, Ankara declined.
In 1354 the city was captured by Orhan, the second sultan of the Ottoman dynasty, and it became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1360. [Image below: Ankara in the 18th Century]
The leader of the Turkish nationalists, Kemal Atatürk, established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Ankara in 1919. After the War of Independence was won and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, Turkey was declared a republic.
Ankara became the new Turkish capital upon the establishment of the Republic on 29 October 1923, succeeding in this role the former Turkish capital Constantinople (Istanbul) following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The architecture of the present-day city reflects its varied history.
The Ankara Castle is the oldest part of the city, and rests on a hill 978 meters (3,209 feet) high. It has hosted several civilizations at various periods of history. The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop. The Byzantines and Seljuk Turks made further restorations and additions.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara. It exhibits stunning findings from Anatolia’s most important archaeological sites and provides a comprehensive view of Turkey’s ancient past. A historic caravanserai holding artifacts from up to 7500 years, including the most extensive and valuable collection of Hittite artifacts in the world.
Anıtkabir is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. It is located in Ankara and was designed by architects Professor Emin Onat and Assistant Professor Ahmet Orhan Arda, whose proposal beat 48 other entries from several countries in a competition held by the Turkish Government in 1941 for a “monumental tomb” for Atatürk.
The Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque in Ankara. It was built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter in Kızılay, and its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark that can be seen from almost anywhere in central Ankara.
Wonderland Eurasia, previously known as Ankapark, is an amusement park in Ankara. Upon opening, the park hosts 17 roller coasters becoming the second ranked amusement park in the world with the most number of roller coasters tied with Cedar Point located in Sandusky, Ohio and Canada‘s Wonderland located in Vaughan, Ontario.
There are about 50 museums in the 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, at 72 square metres (775 square feet) per head.
The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat (the source of mohair), and the Angora cat.
The area is also known for its pears, honey and muscat grapes.