Welcome back to a brand-new year of college, my dear readers! I hope your holidays have been amazing and you’re ready to start again. But since we still have some time before we get really busy because of exams, I recommend that you and especially our newcomers to Ankara see these beautiful places. Have fun!
Anıtkabir is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (whose surname means “the father of the Turks”), a soldier, statesman and reformer, and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. The mausoleum also includes “The Museum of the War of Independence,” in which you can see scenes, documents, photographs of soldiers and many more exhibits and items pertaining to that war.
First and Second Grand National Assemblies of Turkey (TBMM)
Both the old and new assembly buildings are museums in which you can look at pictures and texts of speeches displayed on the walls, and sit on the seats in the assembly hall.
MTA Natural History Museum
The MTA Natural History Museum is an amazing place for every age group; it’s not like the other museums you’ve seen. This one has dinosaur skeletons, precious stones, fossils, stuffed animals, rocks, a world history chart, a model of our solar system, and so on.
Anatolian Civilizations Museum
As its name indicates, this museum focuses on the human side of Anatolian history. You can see how the people of the various civilizations lived, what kind of tools they used, which gods they believed in, how they interacted with others, etc. It’s a great museum for those of you who love archaeology and anthropology.
Çengelhan Rahmi M. Koç Museum
This museum is one of my favorites, because it’s like a toy store! It has miniature model houses from many countries, antiques, old toys and knickknacks, as well as old cars, aircraft and other types of vehicles.
If you’re one of those people who love walking on the street and exploring cafés and little shops, Bahçelievler is the place for you. Since it’s mostly university students who spend time there, it’s one of the best places to go with a group of friends.
Would you like to experience being in a different time zone? Ankara Castle is one of those places where you feel as if time had frozen. You can walk the narrow streets, see old houses, buy interesting things from street vendors and sit in a beautiful, nostalgic café with a cup of coffee and enjoy reading a nice book. For this last activity, I recommend Café Borges in Pilavoğlu Han.
Like the castle, Hamamönü is also an authentic place where you can have a rich Anatolian breakfast, enjoy some activities that date from the Ottoman era, and see beautiful streets and houses.
CerModern is a museum and modern art gallery. Before you go, don’t forget to check on what activities and exhibitions are taking place there that day.
Beypazarı, a town located in Ankara province about an hour’s drive from the central city, is another historical place, famous for its traditional houses, regional foods and silversmiths.
Kızılcahamam Soğuksu National Park
Soğuksu is a huge natural park where people usually go to hike in the woods, but there are other activities as well. If you want to spend a day away from all the dust and traffic of the city, you can have a picnic, relax in the spas and baths, enjoy eating in the restaurants or see different types of trees and plants. If you’re lucky, you can even see some wild animals, such as deer, foxes, vultures and squirrels.
Hacı Bayram Mosque
Named after a religious sect leader, Hacı Bayram Veli, the mosque appears quite humble from the outside. But on the inside, there are really beautiful wood engravings, tiles and kundekari woodwork. This design for the mosque may be intended to symbolize the value that the religious leader placed on inner beauty.
Eymir Lake is the perfect place for nature lovers. You can rent a bike and ride around the lake, or just sit on the grass and enjoy the scenery.
Atakule is a very high tower, from which you can see all of Ankara. It was closed for a long time for restoration, but most of it is open now. It’s also a shopping mall, so you can have a meal, do some shopping and go to the cinema there.
State Art and Sculpture Museum
The creations of many Turkish artists, including Abidin Dino, Fikret Mualla, Osman Hamdi Bey, İbrahim Çallı and Arif Kaptan, may be found in this museum; there are more than a thousand works of art on exhibit there. There’s also a hall inside the building that’s still used for concerts and operettas.