I am back as I promised! This blog post is for those of you who find pleasure in exploring and enjoy getting lost in history. Ankara is a city of great historical and cultural significance and I am about to give you my pick of the top 4 places that will definitely take you back in time. If you want to tap into the past and make your stay in Ankara even more memorable, then do not forget to allocate at least a day to visit these places. The maps in this post will help you through your exploration, so don’t be afraid of getting lost. Let’s begin Exploring Ankara!
1. Anıtkabir (“Memorial Tomb”)
Obviously this was going to be my first pick! This place is far more than just a historical place. It is not only the final resting place of Atatürk (“Father of the Türks”) but also a symbol of modern Turkey. People flock to Anıtkabir on Victory day, Republic day, the day of Atatürk’s birth and his death. So if you happen to be in Ankara on 30th of August, 29th of October, May 19th and November 10th, then do not forget to visit Anıtkabir to see the atmosphere and witness the electricity. Apart from the mausoleum, Anıtkabir has a very impressive museum that displays items, weapons and documents from the Ottoman era. Many of Ataturk’s belongings are also showcased for people to see. Entry to Anıtkabir is free of cost. It is open for visit, every day of the week from 9am – 5pm. Every time I am at Anıtkabir, I always manage to find myself in awe. The most recent was 4 days ago, on the 10th of november. Don’t worry, I did not forget you guys! Here are some pictures I took just for you.
2. Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi (“The museum of Anatolian Civilizations”)
This one will take you way, wayyy back in time. The oldest artifacts exhibited in the museum date back to almost 10000 BC! A trip to this museum will make you realize how trivial the time we spend in this world actually is, and that is empowering! All our personal problems simply begin to feel rather petty, as you begin to comprehend how little time we as individuals have in this world. You get to see objects from the Paleolithic Age, Early Bronze Age to the Hittite period. You can also see artifacts from the Greek, Roman and the Byzantine period. That is a lot to explore! The building of this museum itself has a rich history; the main museum building is built on “Kurşunlu Han”, which served as a caravanserai, during the period of the Ottoman Empire. The entry ticket for this museum is ₺20 ($6). If you do have the “Müzekart” (Museum card) you are able to enter all museums in Turkey that are controlled by the Ministry of culture and tourism, for free! I got my card at the entrance of this museum as there was a student discount on it, and surprisingly it cost me only ₺20! It was a very difficult choice to make, I was not sure if I wanted to buy just one ticket for ₺20 or get the museum card for the same amount and visit countless museums for free… Anyways, the museum is open for visit every day of the week from 8:30AM – 4PM. I strongly suggest getting the museum card If you plan on visiting many other museums and ancient remains throughout Turkey. Sit back and enjoy some pictures that I took at the museum.
3. Rahmi Koç müzesi (Rahmi Koç Museum)
If you are following my list in order and are at the museum of Anatolian civilizations, then getting here would only be a matter of 5 minutes’ walk. Rahmi Koç museum is a private museum so your museum card will not work here. However, the entry ticket costs just₺8 (around $2.4) and ₺4 for students. There is also a discount If you show up in a group of 10. This is going to be money well spent, I promise! After visiting the museum of Anatolian civilizations you could consider this museum to be showcasing things that are relatively “recent history”. The museum is very well organized. Instead of sorting items in only chronological order, the museum is rather divided in history of different subject matters. For instance, the museum has sections titled, “History of Engines”, “History of Rail Transport”, “History of Aviation”, “History of Computers” and so on. This kind of sorting makes it very easy to observe how particular technology has evolved over time. You are able to see the evolution of warfare, photography, communication, transportation, gaming, etc . This museum made me realize of how old I have become, by placing a PlayStation 1 on display. To think that I grew up playing that thing and now it’s in a museum, that’s not an easy pill to swallow! “Picture? … or it did not happen!” Okay!..
4. Ulucanlar Cezaevi Müzesi ( The Ulucanlar Prison Museum)
This is approximately 13 min away from Rahmi Koç museum by walk. Follow the map and you will be alright! You will be walking through the old city so trust me, this walk is only going to make you thank me more. There are many small and cozy cafés/restaurants on your way. You could stop by at any of these to have a cup of çay (tea) and gözleme to go along with it. The small streets will make you think twice if you are actually in the city of Ankara. Once you reach Ulucanlar cezaevi muzesi though, be prepared to get heavy-hearted and gloomy. This museum is very different from the others in the post. This is because It used to be an actual prison from 1925 till 2006. It has a history of being used as a political prison, where people (mostly authors, poets and journalists) were imprisoned and hung for speaking and writing against the establishment. The atmosphere is awfully despondent; dark and cold cells, with mannequins sitting in confined cells along with rats on the floor. This puts you in the shoes of those prisoners that have actually spent time in there. Places like these make you content with your situation in life and grateful for living a life of freedom. The entrance ticket to the museum costs just ₺5 ($1.5), ₺3 for students and free for people above the age of 65 and for those who have a disability. The museum is open for visit every day of the week, except for Monday. The timings are 10AM – 5PM. Here are some pictures of the prison museum.
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