View of the Ankara Castle on the hill, Turkey

Things to do in  Ankara

The crossroads of Turkish history

An often-overlooked travel destination in Turkey, Ankara is a vision of modern Turkey with a youthful atmosphere and a fast-changing environment. Home to the impressive Ataturk Mausoleum, the world-class Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and the lively Kizilay Square, Ankara boasts an eclectic mix of cultural landmarks, culinary delights, urban flair, and endless things to do. Climb to the top of Ankara Castle for panoramic views of the city; and when the sun goes down, don't miss the chance to indulge in authentic Turkish cuisine, from the succulent kebabs to the sweet baklava.

Top 7 attractions in Ankara

Ataturk Mausoleum (Anitkabir)

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Crowning a hill above Ankara, the Atatürk Mausoleum (Anıtkabir) is a modern mausoleum and complex holding the tomb of Turkey's (officially the Republic of Türkiye) founder—Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who died in 1938. Built between 1944 and 1953, the complex draws thousands of Turkish nationals and other visitors who come to honor the much-revered leader.More

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

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One of the most renowned museums in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is a must-see for visitors to the country’s capital. Housed in what was once a 15th-century bazaar building, the museum charts the civilizations of Turkey’s central Anatolia region, all the way from the Paleolithic to the Lydian period of the 6th century BC.More

Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalesi)

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On a hilltop overlooking Ankara Old Town, Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalesi), also known as Ankara Citadel (Hisar), is the city’s most imposing landmark. Framed by 7th- and 9th-century fortifications, its lanes are flanked by Ottoman houses and wood-beamed restaurants and topped by ramparts offering spectacular city views.More

Hattusa (Hattusha)

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Located deep in Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) Anatolia region, Hattusa (also written Hattusha, Hattuşaş, or Hattusas) is one of the country’s biggest archaeological sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During its pomp in the second millennium BC, Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire, wielding power across Anatolia and beyond. Its ruins coat a large hillside and include temples, fortifications, gates, and statues.More

Temple of Augustus and Rome

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Constructed in 25 BC after the Romans conquered what is now Anatolia—the central region of today’s Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye)—the marble Temple of Augustus and Rome stands in central Ankara. With only two walls and a doorway still intact, the site is mostly in ruins but prized for its Roman-era inscriptions, which chart the deeds of the Roman emperor Augustus.More
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Atakule

Atakule

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Topped by a globe-shaped viewing platform and upper spire that reaches a height of 410 feet (125 meters), the Atakule is a 1989-built communications and observation tower in central Ankara. One of the city’s most prominent landmarks, it rises from a shopping mall in the Cankaya district and commands 360-degree views over the capital.More
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Aslanhane Mosque (Aslanhane Camii)

Aslanhane Mosque (Aslanhane Camii)

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Built in 1290, Aslanhane Mosque (Aslanhane Camii) is Ankara’s oldest mosque. Located just beneath Ankara Castle in the city’s old town, Aslanhane is sometimes called the “Lion’s Den” or Ahi Serafettin Mosque. It’s open to visitors who want to view its beautiful stone-and-wood architecture.More

Top activities in Ankara

Turkey Exclusive Tour

Turkey Exclusive Tour

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All about Ankara

When to visit

The summer months between June and August are a no-brainer for the best all-around weather. From exploring the sprawling parks to indulging in Turkish cuisine alfresco style, Ankara's summer season is filled with endless sunshine. Temperatures average around 85°F (30°C), but with the city's many museums, the hottest days can be spent indoors marveling at Turkey's rich history and art. In winter, temperatures drop dramatically to below freezing, making it a much darker and quieter time to visit.

Getting around

From the winding streets of Ulus to the bustling avenues of Kızılay, Ankara is a city best experienced on foot. You can enjoy the unique architecture, vibrant street life, and delicious food offerings while strolling through the neighborhoods. However, the city's efficient metro system is a great option to cover more ground. With trains running frequently and stopping at major tourist destinations, you'll be able to see what Ankara has to offer efficiently and on a budget.

Traveler tips

To truly experience the local culture, head to a traditional restaurant and taste the local cuisine. Indulge in a traditional Iskender kebap, made of pide bread and topped with thin slices of döner kebab and tomato sauce. Or try an original dish, Ankara tava, made with a combination of lamb, orzo pasta, hot peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spices. The bustling central neighborhood of Kızılay is filled with plenty of restaurants serving these local dishes and more.

Local Currency
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time Zone
TRT (UTC +2)
Country Code
+90
Language(s)
Turkish
Attractions
7
Tours
41
Reviews
32
EN
d6315488-4e2e-40e2-95e4-c7f59cac2d90
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People Also Ask

What is special about Ankara Turkey?

As the capital city of Turkey, Ankara is the country's political center. From the historical foundations of the Citadel to the critical museums documenting Turkey's history and cultural heritage, visitors are sure to be intrigued by what the city has to offer. With a more youthful atmosphere and modern expansion in recent years, it stands in contrast to the more famous but much older city of Istanbul.

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Is it worth visiting Ankara, Turkey?

Yes, if you're looking to discover more about modern-day Turkey, then Ankara is a must-visit destination. This city is a treasure trove of art and history, boasting an impressive collection of museums and monuments, including the Citadel and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. As an insight into the vision for the future, Ankara offers a nice contrast to Istanbul, which is steeped in plenty of history. Ankara also strikes a nice balance, with numerous parks and green spaces for a leisurely afternoon stroll with locals.

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What's Ankara known for?

Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is known for being the country's political heart. You'll be enthralled by the unique blend of modern and traditional architecture, blending the old with a vision for the future. From the ancient Citadel and hilltop mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara boasts a rich cultural history. Ankara is also known for its worldly cuisine, featuring delectable dishes like traditional kebabs, meat stews, and sweet baklava.

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What is Ankara famous for food?

When it comes to Turkish food, Ankara is not to be overlooked. One must-try dish is the iskender kebab, featuring thinly sliced lamb, fresh tomato sauce, and bread soaked in butter. Another local specialty is döner kebab, shawarma made with slow-cooked beef on a vertical spit. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in a piece of mouth-watering baklava, traditionally filled with pistachio.

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Why do people visit Ankara?

As the capital city of Turkey, Ankara attracts a wide variety of people. Being the political heart with a rich history and fast-paced atmosphere, it's no wonder that travelers from all corners of the globe flock to this cultural hub. With stand-out landmarks like the ancient citadel and the vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, it captures the attention of all ages and interests. Whether spending a few days en route elsewhere or as the starting point of a Turkey trip, there's no denying Ankara is an excellent introduction to the country.

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Is Ankara better than Istanbul?

Ankara and Istanbul are famous cities in Turkey but with distinct characters. While less visually appealing than Istanbul's skyline, Ankara boasts a fantastic blend of old and new that offers an insight into modern-day Turkey. On the other hand, Istanbul is filled with endless visually stunning and culturally rich landmarks. Both are essential cities for those looking to discover Turkey's heart and soul.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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