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A flight to Ankara with Qatar Airways will take you to Turkey’s capital. Its recorded history stretches right back to the Bronze Age and the Hatti civilization. The city’s skyline is littered with reminders of its long and illustrious heritage, from Roman and Phrygian ruins to Ottoman castles and Byzantine temples.
Ankara is also bristling with architectural examples of its present, from state houses and consulates to shopping centres and hotels. A real mix of ancient and modern, Ankara is a stunning backdrop in which to enjoy a fascinating break. Fly to Ankara with Qatar Airways for an opportunity to explore the city at your leisure.
The most famous of all Ankara’s attractions must be the Citadel, which can be seen from any point in the city on a clear day. Although its exact age isn’t known, it is thought to be over 3,000 years old, sporting examples of Byzantine architecture. In addition to housing an irregular plaza, the Citadel walls house another surprise: a traditional, Turkish village – right in the heart of a bustling city!
A trip to Ankara wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city’s castle. Although it might not be the best-preserved castle, it is brimming with life. Outside, you’ll find a few souvenir shops and cafés inside, you’ll find that the space has been used by previous inhabitants in which to build small houses – and people still live there. While the castle may not be big, it houses a fascinating mix of ancient architecture and modern life.
The nearby Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is also well worth a visit, giving you further insight into how the people of the city used to live.
If you’ve had your fill of architecture and archaeology, then you might want to get to grips with the local scenery and environment. First on the list on your trip to Ankara ought to be Kugulu Park. This park is immaculately kept and a superb place to unwind or enjoy a picnic. It also plays home to the city’s thriving population of swans, who are used to the public and will even allow you to feed them. Karagol Lake offers a more spectacular view of the area around the city and, if you feel like stretching your muscles, you can trek around the adjacent mountains.
If you are taking children on your trip to Ankara, then it’s worth paying a visit to the Ataturk Farm and Zoo. Here, children can meet working farm animals and see more exotic species, including monkeys, big cats and numerous species of bird. The farm also sells fresh produce, including cheeses or you can eat at the traditional restaurant in its grounds.
If you want to get to know a culture, then there’s no better way than through their food. Turkish cuisine is an eclectic mix, reflecting the numerous civilizations who have left their mark, throughout the millennia. It’s not all restaurants and cafés, though; you’ll find some of the tastiest food sold by street vendors, including dishes such as pitta breads, kebabs and meatballs.
However, whether you’re eating at a restaurant or on a street corner, you can’t take a trip to Ankara and not sample some good, strong Turkish coffee. It’s often served with a glass of water, just in case you need to make it a touch weaker.
However, if you want to indulge yourselves, there are some superb restaurants to be found within the city walls, specialising in fresh, seasonal fish and is frequented by local politicians and diplomats. If you simply need to satisfy your sweet-tooth, seek out the local bakeries, where you can enjoy a sumptuous range of pastries and cakes. And, if Turkish coffee is a little too strong for you, you can enjoy a mug of Italian or American coffee.
If you want to make shopping a part of your trip to Ankara, then it’s a good idea to have a think about what you’re after before you head out. The main problem is that there is so much in the way of shopping here that you can easily spend a day wandering through markets and bazaars and come home empty-handed!
If you want modern shops, then head up to Kavaklidere, where you‘ll find Tunali Hilmi Cadessi – one of the newest shopping centres in the city. Here you’ll find contemporary stores, music shops and plenty of cafés However, if you want something more traditional, seek out Ankara Kalesi, which is home to the antique district.
Although Kizilay is one of the best shopping areas in the city, it’s also one of the most crowded. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll find yourself browsing designer boutique shops, small craft stands, and innumerable bookshops and hidden-away shopping arcades.
Flights to Ankara will bring you into Ankara Esenboga International Airport, about 30km northeast of the capital. There are plenty of taxis and local buses available to take you to and from Ankara but, if you’d prefer to drive yourself, there are also car-hire facilities.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Ankara please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / F
International dialing code: +90