The second largest city after İstanbul, Ankara is the capital of Turkey. In the heart of Anatolia, the region was formerly the birthplace of the Hatti civilization in the Bronze Age and then homeland for many others including the Hittite, Persian, Galatian, Roman, Seljuk, Byzantine and the Ottoman. Following the Ottoman defeat at World War I, the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established the headquarters of his resistance movement to the Allies, who were sharing the land of the Ottoman Empire, in Ankara in 1920. After the victory of the Turkish War of Independence under command of Atatürk, the Republic of Turkey was established on 29 October 1923, and Ankara was declared the capital of the country.
Ankara is an ideal place to start your journey to Anatolia, Cappadocia or the Black Sea coast. Divided into the new city (Kavaklıdere) and old city (Ulus), Ankara is a melting pot of historical and contemporary cultures. Modern architectures of luxurious hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, government houses, foreign embassies and Turkey's most important universities reflect the modern face of Turkey, while the archeological sites including the Roman Baths, the Temple of Augustus and the fortress in Ulus takes you back to ancient times.
Located on the imposing hill of Anıttepe, Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk, receives hundreds of visitors daily. This impressive monument houses the tomb of Atatürk and a museum with a lively collection of artifacts including a wax statue of him, his letters, books, antique cars and personal belongings as well as an exhibition of photographs and videos of important moments of his life.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is another must-see, displaying an amazing archaeological collection starting from the Stone Age until the Roman Period inside a 15th century caravanserai. The first landscape picture of the world, Mother Goddess statues, and the first house samples are some of the highlights you can see in the museum.
A lunch at Washington Restaurant in the authentic Ankara Citadel will bring you back to modern Turkey with its impressive view of the city and exclusive service praised by many visitors including the Clinton family. The 125 meter high Atakule Tower is another good option to watch the city from the sky.
For shopping, head to the Beymen store in Kavaklıdere, Harvey Nichols in Kentpark shopping mall in Çankaya or Panora shopping mall in Oran. The handmade home decors of Hiref boutique created with an inspiration of traditional Anatolian art will bring the wealth of Anatolian culture to your home. A walk in the traditional Çıkrıkçılar Çarşısı (Weavers' Road) with small shops selling hand-woven carpets and native fabrics and to Bakırcılar Çarşısı for handmade copper souvenirs are also a must of your visit.
Kızılcahamam with thermal springs, Yassıhöyük with the archeological site of the largest Phrygian city's remains and Gölbaşı with its natural beauties are the other regions to visit around Ankara.