The second largest city and capital of Turkey, Ankara, is a beautiful location to explore while on vacation. The land is perfect for visitors who are heading there on their honeymoon, on a family vacation, traveling with friends, or doing some soul-searching on their own. The endless history and culture can be experienced in the various monuments, museums, attractions, and events that take place there. Some of the sites and attractions that shouldn’t be missed include Ankara Castle, Ataturk’s Mausoleum, the Kocatepe Mosque, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Visitors will love the many sights and sounds that the historic and beautiful city offers, along with trying the delicious cuisine for which Turkey is renowned.
1.Altinkoy Open Air Museum
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The Altinkoy Open Air Museum in Ankara is one of the best places for visitors to get an understanding of what life was like in the villages of Turkey over a hundred years ago. The interactive feel of the community-like attraction makes it memorable for visitors of all ages. The village square expands to old-time mosques, houses, fountains, and everything else that comprised village life in the olden days. People can buy fun items from the village grocery store or dine in the authentic outdoor cooking areas. There are many workshops that display various skills and family-friendly traditional events celebrated throughout the year.
Besikkaya Mahallesi, Altindag/Ankara, 2044/1. Sk., 06230 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-75-15-88
2.Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi
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Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi, or the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, can be found in a former bazaar and caravanserai that have been renovated to house the museum exhibits and its administrative building, conference hall, laboratory, and library. The exhibits have many items from Anatolian archaeology on display, starting with the Paleolithic era all the way to the Ottoman period. Visitors will be able to see various marble, glass, gold, silver, and bronze works from as far back as the first millennium BC. The coin collection has examples of the first minted money among other rare cultural treasures, which can be viewed by all.
Kale Mh., Gozcu Sk. No:2, 06240 Ulus/Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-24-31-60
3.Ankara Air Force Museum
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The Ankara Air Force Museum was opened with the purpose of sharing the colorful history of Turkish aviation with visitors as well as future generations. There are over 700 artifacts, documents, and photographs on display regarding the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority and the Turkish Air Agency in the museum building. Some of the items showcased in the museum’s halls also include uniforms, certificates, and medals. Visitors can then head to the garden, where model and original aircraft are displayed, as well as the historic Parachute Tower, which was built by Turkish and Russian engineers in 1937. The parachuting experience is open to anyone 16 years or older and is one of the most fun aspects of the museum.
Doganbey Mh., 06250 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-11-30-13
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Established in the 7th century AD, Ankara Castle was owned by the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire all the way to the Seljuk Turks and the Ottoman Empire. Presently, visitors can see the early medieval-era fortification, which comprises an inner line and an outer line of walls, along with many towers, constructed out of reused masonry. The unique architectural style showcases the tradition and culture that Turkey is renowned for, and visitors will be able to see many music and art masterpieces while there. There are many concerts and festivals held on the castle grounds during the summer months, which visitors can attend while there.
Kale Mah., 06240 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-54-13-55-38-46
5.Aqua Vega Aquarium
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Found within one of Turkey’s largest shopping malls, the Aqua Vega Aquarium is perfect for a day out for visitors of any age. The aquarium has a 340-foot-long tunnel that surrounds visitors with the natural habitat and life of underwater creatures. The aquarium tanks have various themes for visitors to explore and house both salt and freshwater life. It is fascinating to see the exotic creatures from various rivers and oceans from around the world. Other aspects of the aquarium include touch pools, a reptile house, various dedicated photography points, a souvenir shop, and a cafeteria to relax and dine in.
Dogukent Bulvari, Nata Vega Outlet, 06480 Mamak/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-25-54-28-28
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Anitkabir, or Ataturk’s Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was the first president of the Republic of Turkey after leading the Turkish War of Independence. The architecture of the memorial tomb is the result of a competition held by the Turkish government; the mausoleum was designed by architects Emin Onat and Ahmet Orhan Arda. Visitors will be able to explore the many aspects of the mausoleum, including the arcades that surround the ceremonial courtyard and the beautiful detail on the stone-clad buildings. Other aspects include the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor, and Peace Park.
Mebusevleri Mh., 06570 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-22-31-28-05
7.Çengelhan Rahmi M Koc Museum
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The Cengelhan Rahmi M Koc Museum is a technology museum that was established in Ankara in 2005. Facing the Ankara Citadel, the museum can be found in a renovated inn and quarters in historic Atpazari. Visitors at the museum will be able to see galleries dedicated to carpets, pharmaceutical exhibits, and agricultural machinery. There are other exhibits with items and artifacts relating to rail transport, everyday life tools, communication instruments, navigation, and the sea. While there, visitors will be able to learn about Vehbi Roc, one of the first industrialists of Turkey, as well as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Sutepe Mahallesi, Depo Sokak No: 1, Altindag – Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-0-31-23-09-68-00
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Since 2010 the CerModern museum has exhibited stunning modern art and hosted various events for visitors to enjoy. The museum is housed in a former railway workshop that brings together the aesthetic and art in a versatile and dynamic environment. Past exhibits have included housing the Istanbul Photo Awards, Iranian Women Photographers, and works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as Fernando Franco I Oaxaca. Movie screenings and concerts are held throughout the year, in addition to exhibitions and workshops fun for all ages. Visits to CerModern are never the same, with the many different rotating exhibits.
Anafartalar Mahallesi, Altinsoy Cad. No:3, 06101 Sihhiye / Altindag/Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-10-00-00
© Erimtan Museum
The Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum is a cultural center of arts that focuses on Yuksel Erimtan’s collection of Anatolian archaeological artifacts. The ancient objects take visitors back in time by telling a story of Turkey’s cultural heritage and artistic life. There are over 2,000 items on display, including glass artifacts, gems, coins, jewelry, bronze works, seal stones, and much more. The museum hosts a chamber music concert series titled Music at the Museum or Tuesday Concerts and invites visitors to listen to some of Turkey’s leading musicians. Visitors will be able to take home some wonderful goods – jewelry, household items, and much more – at the museum’s in-house store.
Kale Mh., Gözcü Sk. No:10, 06240 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-11-04-01
10.Esztergom Turkish Cultural Center
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The Esztergom Turkish Cultural Center is located within the historic Esztergom Castle and has been promoting Turkish history and culture since 2005. Visitors will be able to see motifs of traditional Turkish art within the center’s museum. The building itself is a work of art; the Turkish-Islamic architecture, from the marble to the handcrafting, is a stunning sight for visitors to enjoy. There are many events and workshops on tradition and art held at the cultural center for visitors to participate in. Visitors can take home a bit of the beauty with souvenirs from the museum shop or have a delicious bite to eat at the on-site restaurant.
Güçlükaya Mh., Fatih Cad., 06280 Keçiören/Ankara
11.Ethnography Museum of Ankara
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Dedicated to the cultures of Turkic civilizations, the Ethnography Museum of Ankara is one of the most visited attractions in Turkey. The building was designed specifically for the museum between 1925 and 1928 by architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoglu. The artifacts within the museum reflect the culture and character of Turkey; some of them are jewelry, manuscripts, stone and wooden artifacts, glass and tile items, metal works, and hand-woven and hand-embroidered goods. The carpets and rugs on display have a long history in Turkish handicrafts; they come from various regions across Turkey and are decorated with geometric patterns, animal figures, and much more.
TalatPasa Bulvari Türkocagi Sokak No:4 Opera / Sihhiye / Ankara, Phone: 3-12-31-13-00-73-10-87-95
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Gençlik Parki is a 68-acre public park that was created over 75 years ago in 1943. Surrounded by Ulus Square and near the Ankara Opera House, the park is considered one of the lowest points in Ankara at an altitude of 2,790 feet. Visitors to the park will be able to explore the cultural center and the youth center; the park also houses the Ankara Municipality Convention Hall and various other kiosks that are scattered throughout. Other than a public swimming pool, there are also many concerts and performances hosted at the park for visitors to enjoy.
Doganbey Mh., Atatürk Blv, 06060 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey,
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Located near the Cengel Han Rahmi M Koc Museum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, the Hisar citadel dates to Hittite times over 3,000 years ago. Visitors can enter the Hisar through the Clock Gate, also known as Finger Gate, which has a large clock on the octagonal tower. They’ll be able to see bits of old marble sarcophagi that have been incorporated into the walls over the years alongside traditional Turkish villages that have remained the same within the citadel for centuries. Other aspects include hotels, restaurants, cafes, towers, and mosques; visitors will be able to see all of these along with spectacular views of the Turkish capital.
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The Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, and is recognized as one of the largest mosques in the world. It took 20 years to build and was finally completed in 1987. The mosque is one of the most recognized landmarks in Turkey and can be seen from almost anywhere in central Ankara. The stunning design of the mosque is built in such a way that it can accommodate over 24,000 worshippers at any given time. The neoclassical Ottoman architectural style was influenced by many mosques and other Islamic structures from all over the world.
Kültür Mahallesi, Dr. Mediha Eldem Sk. No:67, 06420 Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-22-95-70-00
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The Republic Museum was established in 1981 by the Ministry of Culture and Museum. It is often called the “Second Parliament Building of Turkey” because it housed the Turkish Parliament from 1924 to 1960. Designed by architect Vedat Tek in the Turkish neoclassical style, the building itself is a beautiful sight to explore. Visitors will be able to see various items on display at the Republic Museum, including photographs of all former prime ministers and presidents of Turkey. Other items include coins and banknotes issued during the Republican age as well as photos and mock-ups of country developments after the republic was proclaimed.
Doganbey, Cumhuriyet Cd. No:7, 06050 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-10-53-61
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Ankara was an important Roman town and its history is visible in the beautiful Roman ruins near Ulus Square. Visitors will be able to walk along the Roman road straight to the Column of Julian, which commemorates that Roman emperor’s visit to the city. Further along the road visitors will get to the Temple of Augustus and Rome and then the Cankiri Caddesi, which is the northern continuation of Ataturk Bulvari. The main attractions for visitors are the extensive remains of Ankara’s Roman baths. There are many guides and tour companies that will take visitors through the ruins, explaining the details of what is presently there and what once was.
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17.State Art and Sculpture Museum
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Dedicated to sculpture and fine arts in Ankara, the State Art and Sculpture Museum was established in 1930 and is housed in a building designed specifically for it by architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoglu. There is a rich collection of art from the late 19th century to the present day for visitors to experience. The exhibitions spaces include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and much more; there are classes and workshops held at the museum to assist amateur and professional artists on various topics. Various temporary exhibitions from all over the world are housed at the State Art and Sculpture Museum throughout the year.
Hacettepe, Türkocagi Sk., 06230 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-10-20-94
18.Ulucanlar Prison Museum
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One of the first of its kind in Turkey, the Ulucanlar Prison Museum is one of Ankara’s actual former state prisons. For over 81 years, the prison was home to many of Turkey’s notable journalists and political activists, including Bulent Ecevit, the former prime minister of Turkey. The museum was established in the restored building in 2011 and now houses many exhibits for visitors to see, including photographs, personal belongings from past inmates, as well as original graffiti on the walls of the prison. The museum’s library has books written by the former prisoners as well. Other aspects include wax sculptures of inmates in daily prison life, a Turkish bath, and a gallows in the yard with the original hangman’s knot.
Sükriye, Ulucanlar Cd. No:63, 06030 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-25-07-01-38
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19.War of Independence Museum
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Housed in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly building, the War of Independence Museum displays important documents, photos, and furniture from the Turkish War of Independence. The museum is completely open to the public and allows visitors to better understand Turkey’s history, the war, and the events that took place. There are many aspects of the museum to explore: the corridor is filled with oil paintings depicting events that took place from 1918 to 1923, while the Presidential Room has been preserved with original items such as the presidential seal. Visitors will be able to see some of Ataturk’s personal artifacts in the administration room of the museum.
Anafartalar Mahallesi, Doganbey Mah. Cumhuriyet Cad. No:14, Ulus/Ankara, 06050 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey, Phone: +90-31-23-10-71-40
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19 Best Things to Do in Ankara, Turkey
- Altinkoy Open Air Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Nikolai Sorokin - Fotolia.com
- Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi, Photo: Courtesy of Nikolai Sorokin - Fotolia.com
- Ankara Air Force Museum, Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- Ankara Castle, Photo: Courtesy of ferhaterdem - Fotolia.com
- Aqua Vega Aquarium, Photo: Courtesy of gpointstudio - Fotolia.com
- Ataturk's Mausoleum, Photo: Courtesy of 0meer - Fotolia.com
- Çengelhan Rahmi M Koc Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Regormark - Fotolia.com
- CerModern, Photo: Courtesy of siriporn1982 - Fotolia.com
- Erimtan Museum, Photo: Erimtan Museum
- Esztergom Turkish Cultural Center, Photo: Courtesy of Andrey Shevchenko - Fotolia.com
- Ethnography Museum of Ankara, Photo: Courtesy of EvrenKalinbacak - Fotolia.com
- Genclik Parki, Photo: Courtesy of daloglu - Fotolia.com
- Hisar, Photo: Courtesy of efesenko - Fotolia.com
- Kocatepe Mosque, Photo: Courtesy of Luciano Mortula-LGM - Fotolia.com
- Republic Museum, Photo: Courtesy of BirgitKorber - Fotolia.com
- Roman Ruins, Photo: Courtesy of efesenko - Fotolia.com
- State Art and Sculpture Museum, Photo: Courtesy of coffmancmu - Fotolia.com
- Ulucanlar Prison Museum, Photo: Courtesy of 0meer - Fotolia.com
- War of Independence Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Andrey Shevchenko - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of muratart - Fotolia.com