In discussions about travels in Turkey, I often came across the opinion that the capital city, Ankara, is not the most interesting for tourists. Planning my next trip, I decided to check this fact in practice and allocate one day for a walk around this metropolis.
Trip to Ankara from Istanbul
I rarely traveled on Turkish trains, so I decided to make the journey to Ankara by rail. The train from Istanbul to Ankara, on which I traveled, departs from Halkalı station. It makes several stops in different parts of the city. I started my journey from the Söğütlüçeşme platform in the Asian part of Istanbul.
The travel time was 3 hours and 32 minutes. In April 2023, the ticket cost 248 liras, and it could be purchased in advance through the E-bilet app. The train has power outlets and seating at tables, although choosing such a seat turned out not to be the best option—while it's suitable for using a laptop, the space is limited due to the proximity of another passenger.
My train arrived in Ankara at 11:42. I planned my route to be at the Kurtuluş metro station by 4:00 PM and take a bus to the airport. Afterward, I had to fly to Trabzon. Thus, the walk took about four hours, covering a distance of approximately ten kilometers.
According to guidebooks, Ankara has many attractions, and I chose those easily accessible on foot from the station. The first such place was Atatürk's Mausoleum, also known as Anıtkabir. It is located in a large park.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, passed away on November 10, 1938. The construction of the mausoleum began in 1944, taking nine years to complete. Interestingly, archaeological excavations were conducted on this site before the construction of the complex. Discoveries made during these excavations are now kept in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which I'll mention below.
Entrance to the park and mausoleum is free. Visitors need to go through the standard security check for personal belongings. I had a quadcopter with me, and they asked me to leave it in the storage room, which is also free.
The Roman baths of Ankara were built in the second century AD and were in use for five centuries. Today, the archaeological excavation site has been transformed into an open-air museum.
On the site, you can see the remains of the bathhouse and numerous details of various sculptures, tombstones, and architectural elements.
The attraction is located on a 2.5-meter-high hill, covering an area of 65,000 square meters. The entrance fee in April 2023 was 40 Turkish liras.
Within a 15-minute walk from the ruins of the Roman baths, I found another ancient landmark—the Temple of Augustus. However, just like in the previous case, only the ruins of this ancient structure have survived to our time.
The temple is known for inscriptions on its walls detailing the deeds of Emperor Augustus, who lived in the first century BC. These inscriptions were executed in red paint on a gold background after the ruler's death.
The size of the temple building was 36 by 54 meters. In the sixth century, it was rebuilt into a Byzantine church, and in the first half of the 15th century, a mosque was added to the building. Today, we can only see a few impressive walls that have survived from the ancient structure.
The last stop on my route was the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. As evident from the name of the exhibition space, it narrates the history of the peoples who once lived on the territory of modern Turkey.
The museum's history began in 1921, with its opening initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Restoration work on the modern building started in 1938, and the first part of the exhibition opened five years later. Complete restoration of the two abandoned buildings, which now house the museum complex, was completed by the late 1960s. In 1997, the exhibition space was honored with the title of European Museum of the Year.
The entrance fee in April 2023 was 150 Turkish liras.
Unfortunately, during this walk, I didn't have time to visit two other interesting places. I would have liked to see Ankara Castle and the Ulucanlar Prison Museum, but there was no time for that.
As I mentioned at the beginning, in the evening of that day, I had a flight to Trabzon. After completing my route, I headed to the Kurtuluş metro station to take a bus to Ankara Airport. The bus departs from the AŞTİ bus station, located at the metro station of the same name. When planning a trip, keep in mind that different transport cards operate in all Turkish cities, and each time you'll have to buy a new pass.
The next part of my story will be dedicated to the aforementioned mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Have a nice trip!