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7 January 2021 / Travel

All About the Capital of Turkey–Ankara

Many people who are unfamiliar with the country assume the capital of Turkey is Istanbul, yet they will be incorrect. The Capital is Ankara in the central Anatolian region. It gained this prominent status after the newly formed Republic of Turkey on the 13th of October 1923. It replaced Istanbul that, for many years, mainly during its time as Constantinople, was the Ottoman-empire's ruling city.

The decision was that of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who led the Turkish War of Independence and who Turks revere as their nation's founding father. From Ankara, the Turkish government rules and it has also established itself as a leader of education and business. Although Istanbul still overshadows it, it is worth putting it on your list if you want to learn more about Turkish history.


Facts about the Capital of Turkey–Ankara

The Historical Story

Historians are uncertain about Ankara's metropolis's founding date, although records show Alexander the Great, and the Roman empire ruled it. During Byzantine rule, the Persian and Seljuk empires attacked. The Ottoman sultans gained power in 1354, and again in 1403, and during this time, it became a major route on the old silk road leading from Asia to Europe. Its most prominent moment is when it became the ruling centre and a symbol of secularism. The decision to change it from Istanbul was quite smart, but simple. For centuries, invading forces always looked to Istanbul's occupation, mainly because of geography, and its position between east and west.

The Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus strait and Golden horn proved problematic because as well as invading on land, armies could also come in by sea. This proved itself repeatedly, with the latest example during World-war 1, when allies tried to gain control via the Dardanelles and Gallipoli peninsula. Hence Mustafa, the first president after conquering the Allies, abolished the Ottoman empire, moved the capital to an inland Anatolia position for protection from seas, and signed Lausanne's treaty within a short time.


Modernisation into a Cosmopolitan Capital

As Turkey's Second Largest City, Ankara has become everything you would expect from a thriving metropolitan landscape. Think street-side cafes, shopping malls, family-friendly suburbs, a lively nightlife scene, the best in foreign and Turkish cuisine, as well as an extensive public transportation network including buses and taxis. With a total population of roughly 6 million people, it also reflects modern Turkey through its status as an education hub and centre of excellence for business that heavily contributes towards the Turkish economy. Many countries also base their embassies there, and there is a large community of ex-pats.

Having said that, traces remain of its historical value, and famous monuments include Julian Column's Roman remains and the Augustus and Roman temples. The castle reflects Byzantine times, while the Alaeddin Mosque symbolises Seljuk architecture. We see Ottoman remains in the 15th-century Haci Bayram mosque and the Kursunlu Han that is now the Anatolian Civilization Museum featuring Hittite collections of artefacts. However, one building prompts many a foreigner to visit Turkey.


Mausoleum of Ataturk in Ankara

The military success of Kemal Ataturk and the birth of the Turkish Republic led to Kemalism. Placing high honour on his memory, Turkish people often make the journey to the Mausoleum of Ataturk. Called Anitkabir, it sits in the Maltepe area and includes a peace park, and the world's tallest pole displaying the Turkish flag. Every year, on November the 10th government officials and the president gather, to commemorate the date of Mustafa's passing, and his contribution towards a secular nation.

Did You Know?

Not to be confused with the Van cat, the Turkish Angora cat is specific to the Ankara region. Known for their long, silky white fur, and different coloured eyes, the species is sometimes prone to deafness but earns fame as the ideal family and household pet. In the early 20th century, Ankara embarked on a breeding program to continue their existence, and these days, the cat is famous all over the world for its unique characteristics.

Other Cities in Turkey: From the Aegean-sea to the Mediterranean, black-sea and south-eastern regions, Turkey has many major cities that stand out either for their modern outlook or historical values. This article discusses the most interesting that travellers should visit including Gaziantep, Trabzon, Bursa, Antalya, and Aegean Izmir.

All About Istanbul: Besides learning about the Capital of Turkey, everyone is always interested in the largest city; Istanbul. Reflecting modern and traditional Turkish culture, it uniquely sits on two continents, in the Thrace region. If you plan on travelling to Turkey, put it on your bucket list.

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