Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after İstanbul. The city has a population (as of 2005) of 4,319,167 (Province 5,153,000), and a mean elevation of 850 m (2800 ft). It was formerly known as Angora. The Hittites gave it the name Ankuwash , the Galatians and Romans called it Ancyra, and in the classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine periods it was known as Ἄγκυρα Αnkyra. Ankara also serves as the capital of the Province of Ankara.
Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the center of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the center of Turkey's highway and rail network, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), white rabbits and their prized wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region's muscat grapes.
Ankara Castle and ancient citadel overlooking the modern city from above
Ankara is situated upon a steep and rocky hill, which rises 500 ft. above the plain on the left bank of the Enguri Su, a tributary of the Sakarya (Sangarius) river. The city is located at 39°52'30" North, 32°52' East (39.875° N 32.8333° E). The city, which is one of the driest places in Turkey and surrounded by a barren featureless steppe vegetation, with various Hittite, Phrygian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. It has a harsh, dry continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Rainfall occurs mostly during spring and autumn.
The hill is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which add to the picturesqueness of the view; little else is preserved of the old town, which was not well built. Many of its houses were constructed of sun-dried mud bricks along narrow streets.  There are, however, many finely preserved remains of Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus (20 BC) also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum
Anıtkabir, Atatürk's mausoleum.
A Hattian artifact, from the 3rd millennium BC, in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Roman Bath in Ankara
Another view of the Roman Bath
Ruins of the Roman amphitheater
Anıtkabir is located on an imposing hill in the Anittepe quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architecture. An adjacent museum houses a superior wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and in the establishment of the Republic (Anitkabir is open everyday, and the adjacent museum every day except Mondays).
The Ankara Ethnography Museum (Etnoğrafya Müzesi): This museum is opposite the Opera House on Talat Pasa Boulevard, in Ulus district. There is a fine collection of folkloric as well as Seljuk- and Ottoman-era artifacts.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi): Situated at the Ankara Castle entrance, it is an old "bedesten" (covered bazaar) that has been beautifully restored and now houses a unique collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and Roman works and showpiece Lydian treasures.
The Çengelhan Rahmi M. Koç Museum (Çengelhan Rahmi M. Koç Müzesi): An industrial museum opposite the entrance to the Citadel, close to Anatolian Civilization Museum. Located in the historic Çengelhan - a former Caravanserai, built in 1522 - the Museum displays huge variety of exhibits on such diverse themes as Engineering, Road Transport, Scientific Instruments, Maritime, Medicine, and many others. The beautiful and atmospheric courtyard now houses the newly restored shop where the founder of the Koç Group, Mr Vehbi Koç started his working life. And when you have finished your museum visit, you can relax in either the Divan Café or the sophisticated Divan Brasserie in the courtyard.
The State Art and Sculpture Museum (The Painting and Sculpture Museum) (Resim-Heykel Müzesi): Close to the Ethnography Museum and houses a rich collection of Turkish art from the late 19th century to the present day. There are also galleries which host guest exhibitions.
The War of Independence Museum (Kurtuluş Savaşı Müzesi): In Ulus Square, is what was originally the first parliament building of the Republic of Turkey. The War of Independence was planned and directed here as recorded in various photographs and items presently on exhibition. In another display, wax figures of former presidents of the Republic of Turkey are on exhibit.
The TCDD Locomotive Museum: Near the railway station by Celal Bayar Blvd., is an open-air museum that traces the history of steam locomotion through the locomotives and artifacts on display.
Ankara Citadel: The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop, and the rest was completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks further made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel, being the oldest part of Ankara, contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. There are also recreational areas to relax. Many restored traditional Turkish houses inside the citadel area have found new life as restaurants, serving local cuisine, music and of course, Raki.
Roman Theatre: The remains, the stage, and the backstage, can be seen outside the castle. Roman statues that were found here are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (see above). The seating area is still under excavation.
Temple of Augustus: It was built by the Galatian King Pylamenes in 10 as a tribute and sign of fidelity to Augustus, and was reconstructed by the Romans on the ancient Ankara Acropolis in the 2nd century. It is important for the Monument Ancyranum, the sole surviving political testament of Augustus, detailing his achievements inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. In the fifth century the temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines. The temple is in the Ulus quarter of the city.
Roman Bath: This bath has all the typical features of a classical Roman bath: a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (cool room) and caldarium (hot room). The bath was built in the reign of Emperor Caracalla in 3rd century AD to honour the Asclepios, the God of Medicine. Today only the basement and first floors remain. Situated in Ulus quarter.
Column of Julian: This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362, to commemorate a visit by the Roman Emperor Julian. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital.
Monument to a Secure, Confident Future: This monument, in Güven Park, Bakanlıklar quarter, was erected in 1935 and bears Atatürk's advice to his people: "Turk! Be proud, work hard, and believe in yourself."
Victory Monument (Zafer Anıtı): Erected in 1927 in Zafer Square in the Sıhhiye quarter, it depicts Atatürk in uniform.
Hatti Monument: Built in the 1970's in Sıhhiye Square, this impressive monument symbolizes the Hatti gods and commemorates Anatolia's earliest known civilization.
Atakule Tower in central Ankara
Kocatepe Mosque: This mosque was constructed in the late 20th century in accordance with classical Ottoman models, which emphasize the placement of four minarets. Its size and prominent location make it a landmark that can be seen from almost anywhere in central Ankara.
Haci Bayram Mosque : This mosque, in Ulus quarter next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the early 15th century in Seljuk style by an unknown architect. It was subsequently restored by architect Sinan in the 16th century, with Kütahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Haci Bayram Veli, whose tomb is next to the mosque, two years before his death (1427-28). Open space of this mosque is 437 square meter at first floor and 263 square meter at second floor.
Ankara has many parks and open spaces mainly established in the early years of the Republic and well maintained and expanded thereafter. The most important of these parks are: Gençlik Park (houses an amusement park with a large pond for rowing), the Botanical Garden, Seğmenler Park, Anayasa Park, Kuğulu Park (famous for the swans received as a gift from the Chinese government), Abdi Ipekci Park, Güven Park (see above for the monument), Kurtuluş Park (has an ice-skating rink), Altın Park (also a prominent exposition/fair area), Harikalar Diyari (claimed to be Biggest Park of Europe inside city borders) and Göksu Park.
Kızılay, a popular destination for shopping in central Ankara
Göksu Park in the Eryaman district
Atatürk Farm and Zoo (Atatürk Orman Çiftliği, AOÇ): an expansive recreational farming area housing a zoo, several small agricultural farms, greenhouses, restaurants, a dairy farm and a brewery. It is a pleasant place to spend a day with family, be it for having picnics, hiking, biking or simply enjoying good food and nature. There is also an exact replica of the house where Atatürk was born in 1881, in Thessaloniki, Greece. Visitors to the "Çiftlik" (farm) as it is affectionately called by Ankarans, can sample such famous products of the farm such as old-fashioned beer and ice cream, fresh dairy products and meat rolls/kebaps made on charcoal, at traditional restaurant (Merkez Lokantasi, Central Restaurant), cafés and other establishments scattered in the farm.
Interior view of Karum Shopping & Business Center
Armada Shopping Mall & Tower won "Europe's Best Mall" award by ICSC in 2003
Foreign visitors to Ankara usually like to visit the old shops in Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu (Weavers' road) near Ulus, where a myriad of things ranging from traditional fabrics, hand-woven carpets and leather products can be found for bargain prices. Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Bazaar of coppersmiths) is particularly popular, and many interesting items, not just of copper, can be found here like jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery. Up the hill to the castle gate, there are many shops selling a huge and fresh collection of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and other produce.
Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kızılay, or on Tunalı Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum which is located to the end of the Avenue; and in the Atakule Tower in Çankaya. Çankaya being the quarter with the highest elevation in the city, the tower has a magnificent view over the whole city, and also has a revolving restaurant at the top where the complete panorama can be enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion.
As Ankara started expanding westward in the 1970s, there are several modern, suburbia-style developments and mini-cities along the western highway, also known as Eskişehir road. The Armada mall on the highway, the Galleria in Ümitköy, and a huge mall in Bilkent Center offering North American and European style mall-shopping opportunities (These can be reached following the Eskişehir highway). There is also the newly expanded Ankamall on the outskirts following the Istanbul highway which houses most well-known European brands. This mall is the largest in the Ankara region.