Ankara

(Average 0 of 0 Ratings)

Ankara’s history and character sometimes lead would-be visitors to dismiss the city as afunctional, soulless capital city. Such an attitude ignores 3200 years of history and Ankara’s place as Turkey’s premier college town. Its old houses and twisting streets lie in a confusing tangle beneath imposing Byzantine walls, concealing dozens of cafes with breathtaking views, while nearby Kızılay, the main student area, has bars and an active nightlife to suit all tastes.

You can make a trip to Gallipoli from Canakkale or Eceabat.
(0 Ratings)

Gallipoli Tour From Canakkale and Eceabat

Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey
  • Duration: Daily
  • From: 35€

If you want to make a trip to Gallipoli and staying in Canakkale, you can book a Gallipoli tour from Canakkale and Eceabat with...

View Tour
You can take amazing photos wile you are enjoying your friends. It is possible when you book a blue cruise tour.
(0 Ratings)

Turkey Blue Cruise Tours – Fethiye to Olympos

Fethiye, Olympos, Turkey
  • Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
  • From: 214€

You can join our amazing blue cruise from Fethiye to Olympos tours. For sure, this cruise tour will be the best days in your...

View Tour
You can see these people who goes from the Mevlana's road. They are locked oneself into Mevlana.
(0 Ratings)

Konya Day Tour From Istanbul

Konya, Turkey
  • Duration: Daily
  • Ask Price

Konya is one of the most important Islamic places in Turkey. If you give importance to history we strongly suggest that join Konya tour....

View Tour
You are going to see Maidens Tower by joining our Bosphorus Lunch Cruise tours.
(0 Ratings)

Morning Bosphorus Cruise Tour

Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • From: 24€

Voyage on Cruise begins around 8:30 am and finishes at 12:30 pm. We work each day to make your vacation a memorable one. We...

View Tour

Located at the intersection of two Eurasian trade routes, the city was first founded as Ankuwash over 3200 years ago by the Hittites. Legend has it that Ankara was next ruled by the great Phrygian King Midas. Subsequently occupied by Lydians, Galatians, Augustan Romans, Byzantines, and Selçuks, Ankara eventually fell into Ottoman hands. Then known as Angora, the sleepy village was populated mainly by long-haired goats. In 1923, after the Turkish War of Independence, Atatürk built a modem city overnight, more or less from scratch. The curtains of the new nation’s Opera House hastily went up, the Painting and Statue Museum was constructed and filled with contemporary Turkish art in just 18 months, and swampland was dredged to make way for the garish Gençlik Park. Modern-day Ankara is an administrative metropolis of parks, tree-lined boulevards, and embassies, providing cosmic look at modem Turkey: a multilayered society with several, sometimes contrasting, identities existing side by side.

TRANSPORTATION        

  • Flights: Havaş buses (every 1hr. 4am 1:30pm, $5) to Esenboga Airport (398 00 00) leave from Hipodrom Cad. (next to the train station). Major carriers serving Ankara include: Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Delta, Iberia, JAL, KLM, Lufthansa, and Swissair. Turkish Airlines (THY), 154 Atatürk Bul., Kavaklıdere (info and reservations 419 28 00; sales 468 73 40 or 468 73 41), offers direct flights to: Adana (1hr., 3 per day, $68); Antalya (1hr., 3 per day, $70); Bodrum (1hr., 5 per day, $82); Dalaman (1/2 hr., 4 per day, $82); Diyarbakır {1/2 hr.,2 per day, $68); Erzurum (1/2 hr., 2 per day, $68); İstanbul (1hr, 15 per day, $82); İzmir (1 hr., 12 per day, $82); Sivas (1hr.; M, Th; $59); Samsun (1hr., daily except Sa., $59); Tokat (1hr., Tu, $59); and Trabzon (3 per day, $68). Prices and schedules subject to change. Students under 24 and travelers over 65 receive a 25% discount; travelers under 12 receive a 50% discount. It’s best to buy tickets 2 days in advance. The private travel agencies between Kızılay and Kavaklıdere are convenient ticket vendors. THY open M-F 8:30am-8pm, Sa-Su 8:30am-5:30pm.
  • Buses: The terminal (a.k.a. AŞTİ or otogar), 5km west of Kızılay in Söğütözü, Is the westernmost stop on the Ankaray subway line. Take any train to Kızılay. To get to Ulus from there, transfer to the Metro line and ride 2 stops north to Cumhuriyet Cad., about 400m west of the equestrian statue. Dolmuş ($.60) and city buses ($.50) run from the otogar to Ulus, stopping at Hisarparki Cad., in the middle of the cheap hotel area. A taxi for the same trip should cost about $6.75; to Kızılay, $8. Scores of bus companies connect Ankara with nearly every point in Turkey. Ask for smaller destinations; chances are that there’s a bus going there. For major cities, Varan, 34/1 Izmir Cad., Kızılay (418 27 06 or 224 00 43), and Ulusoy, 18/A İnkılâp Sok., Kızılay (419 40 80 or 224 01 72 or 286 53 30), offer safer, faster, and more comfortable transportation. There are no longer direct bus routes to Afyon, Kemer, or Side, which are instead served by the İzmir bus (for Afyon) and the Antalya bus (for Kemer and Side). Prices and schedules subject to change. Student discounts sometimes available upon request.
  • Trains: The train station (Ankara Ulus Station) is connected to Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bui. a long underground tunnel doubling as a covered market. Follow this tunnel past the last platform to Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bui. The Ankaray stop will be about 300m to the left. Alternatively, walk the 1 km up Cumhuriyet Bui. to Ulus Sq. 20% discount for students and seniors. Sivas is served by the Malatya train.

ORIENTATION  

The city’s main street, Atatürk Bul., runs north-south. At its north end, the Ulus precinct consists of dusty cement apartments and crowded markets, all centered around a colossal equestrian monument to Atatürk. To the east of Ulus rises Hisar (Citadel), a traditional Anatolian village scattered with upscale restaurants and crowned by the 9th-century Ankara Fortress (Ankara kale). Ulus and Hisar comprise Eskişehir (Old City) and include most of the sights and the cheapest hotels. A couple of kilometers south of Ulus along Atatürk Bul. is Sıhhiye, a commercial neighborhood distinguished mostly by its giant Hittite reindeer. Further south along Atatürk Bul. is Kızılay, the center of Yenişehir (New City), bustling with bookstores, bars, kebap houses, and students from the six nearby universities. West of Kızılay is Maltepe, a district full of grim nightclubs and cheap student dorms. Kavaklıdere, Çankaya, and Gaziosmanpaşa, south of Kızılay, represent the stately side of Ankara: lush residential areas of embassies, ministries, five-star hotels, and night clubs. Bus runs the length of Atatürk Bul. from the Atakule tower to the equestrian statue in Ulus. In addition, a new subway system, the Ankaray suburban railway line, runs east-west from its center in Kızılay. The bus terminal (AŞTİ on the signs, otogar to locals) in Söğütözü is 5km west of Kızılay, at the westernmost Ankaray subway stop. The railway station (gar), on Cumhuriyet Bui., is 1km southwest of Ulus Square.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION               

  • Local Buses: Buses come in 3 flavors: red and green (both government-run), and blue (private). Buy tickets for red and green buses from booths near major bus stops or from street vendors. On the blue buses, pay the conductor after boarding. Tickets on all buses cost $.50, students $.30.
  • Local Dolmuş: Hubs near Hacı Bayram Camii and at the intersection of Denizciler Cad. and Adnan Saygun Cad. $.35-,60, depending on distance. Student fare available.
  • Subway: Ankara’s new, clean subway system provides possibly the fastest and easiest way to get around the city. The east-west Ankaray line (stations marked by a white “A” on a green background) connects the bus station to Dikimevi, with stops in Tandogan, Maltepe, Kızılay, and the Colleges (Kolej). The north-south Metro line (white “M” on red background) also stops in Kızılay, running north from there to Sıhhiye, Ulus, and the northwestern suburbs. Passes $2.50, students $1.50. 6:15am-midnlght.
  • Car Rental: Hertz, 138/B Atatürk Bul., Kavaklıdere (468 10 29; fax 468 19 26), and Avis, 68/2 Tunus Cad., Kavaklıdere (67 23 13; fax 467 57 03), both have airport offices and are more expensive. Both open daily 9am-7pm. Best Rent A Car, Büklüm Sok., No. 89/9, Kavaklıdere (467 00 08; fax 467 02 05), rents Fiat Şahin (from $45 per day) and Escorts (from $73 per day). Open M-Sa 8am-7:30pm, Su 8:30am-6pm. Alara Rent A Car, 1/A Güniz Sok., Kavaklıdere (426 54 75; fax 426 52 63), rents Fiat Şahins (from $30 per day) and air-conditioned Toyotas (from $84 per day). Prices Include unlimited mileage and insurance. Open M-Sa 8:30am-7pm.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION             

TOURIST AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

  • Tourist Offices: 121 Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bul. (231 55 72). Directly outside the Maltepe stop on Ankaray (from Kızılay, take the train headed toward AŞTİ). 
  • Embassies: Bulgaria, 124 Atatürk Bul., Kavaklıdere (426 74 55; fax 427 31 78). Visa applications M-F 10 am-noon. Egypt, 126 Atatürk Bul., Kavaklıdere (426 10 26; fax 427 00 99). Greece, 9-11 Ziaürrahman Cad., Gaziosmanpaşa (436 88 60; fax 446 31 91). Visa applications M-F 9:30am-noon. Iran, 10 Tahran Cad., Kavaklıdere (427 43 20; fax 468 28 23). Visa applications M-F 3-5pm. Iraq, 11 Turan Emeksiz Sok., Gaziosmanpaşa (468 74 21; fax 468 48 32). Visa applications M-F 10am-3pm. Israel, 85 Mahatma Gandi Cad., Gaziosmanpaşa (446 29 20; fax 426 15 33). Jor¬dan, 18A Mesnevi Dede Korkut Sok., Aşağı Ayrancı (440 20 54; fax 440 43 27). Leb¬anon, 44 Kızkulesi Sok., Gaziosmanpaşa (446 74 85; fax 446 10 23). Northern Cyprus, 20 Rabat Sok., Gaziosmanpaşa (437 60 31; fax 446 52 38). Russia, 5 Karyağdı Sok., Çankaya (439 21 22; fax 438 39 52). Syria, 40 Sedat Sîmavi Sok., Çankaya (440 96 57; visa department 440 17 21; fax 438 56 09) Visa applications M-F 8:30-9:30am.
  • Banks: You can’t throw a stone in Kavaklıdere, Kızılay, Maltepe, Ulus, or Sıhhiye without hitting a bank branch. All large banks offer currency exchange, but only major banks such as Akbank (no commission) and Garanti will cash traveler’s checks. Change offices (döviz) along Atatürk Bul. offer slightly better rates (but no traveler’s checks). 24hr. ATMs can be found on virtually every street corner. Türkiye İş Bankası , Yapı ve Kredi, Pamukbank, and Garanti Bankası accept V/MC/Cirrus/Plus/Eurocard; Vakıfbank and Akbank also accept AmEx.
  • Wire Transfers and Moneygrams: Western Union, 27 Meşrutiyet Cad., Kızılay (419 88 58). Open M-Sa 9am-5pm. Western Union services also at MNG Bank, 84 Uğur Mumcu Cad., Gaziosmanpaşa (447 66 50). Open M-F 9am-6pm. AmEx cardholders can send and receive moneygrams at Koçbank by the statue in Ulus Meydanı.

LOCAL SERVICES

  • Lost Property: Kayip Eşya offices in Esenboga (398 05 50), the main otogar bus ter¬minal (224 10 10 or 224 01 78), city municipal buses (384 03 60), and the Head Security Office (Emniyet Müdürlüğü; 303 06 06), on İskitler Cad.
  • Library: National Library (Milli Kütüphane), Bahçelievler (212 62 00; fax 223 04 51). Take the dolmuş ($.35) to Balgat from Kızılay’s Güvenpark and ask to be let off at the Milli Kütüphane. Entry to this multi-level, marble, CD-ROM- equipped library will be easier if you have either a form from your embassy (for foreigners living in Turkey) or a research permit, obtained from the Turkish Embassy in your home country. Try using a student ID card or ISIC. Study salons open M-F 9am-8:30pm, Sa-Su 9:30am-6:30pm; stacks open M-F 9am-noon and 1:30-4:30pm.
  • English Language Bookstores: Most bookstores in Kızılay offer a range of Penguin Classics, Stephen King, and nonfiction. Dost Kitabevi, has an extensive and very good selection, with a branch in Kızılay, 11 Karanfil Sok., carrying English language newspapers and magazines. (425 24 64. Open M-Sa 9am-10pm, Su noon-7pm.) Tahran Kitabevi, 19/A Selanik Cad., Kızılay (417 25 50) carries a range of magazines (The Economist, Newsweek, etc.) and many books about Turkey. Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 2-7pm. Turhan Kitabevi, 8/B Yüksel Cad., Kızılay. From spring to fall, the open-air book market on Olgunlar Sok. sells a haphazard range of back-issue US magazines.
  • Turkish-American Association (Türk-Amerikan Demeği): 20 Cinnah Cad., Kavaklıdere (426 26 44; fax 468 25 38; Programs Dept. 426 26 48). Cinnah Cad. branches off from Atatürk Bul. south of Bakanlıklar. Take any bus from Atatürk Bul. heading toward Çankaya or Gaziosmanpaşa. Offers Turkish and English classes, art exhibits, ballroom dances, concerts, and a lecture series. Monthly bulletin with events schedule. Small selection of US magazines in the Graphica Cafe (tea $.35). Open daily 9am-8:30pm.
  • The British Council and Cultural Affairs, British Embassy, 41 Esat Cad., Küçükesat 06660 Ankara, (424 1644 ext. 118; fax 424 1399). Open to all, the British Council has BBC TV, a nice café, and an excellent library with books on Turkey, English newspapers, and The Economist.
  • Laundromat: Self-service Ekspres Çamaşır (419 32 32, ext. 272), in Kızılay in the Beğendik shopping mall under the Kocatepe mosque. Go up the first set of motorized ramps and take a right; exit the main shopping area through the corridor and turn left. Wash and dry $3.75. Free locker storage. Open daily 9:30am-9pm. Bora Çamaşer Yıkamatik, 16/A Dumlupinar Cad., Cebeci (363 42 43), is closer to Ulus. Follow Cemal Gürsel Cad. to the Kurtuluş Ankaray stop, turn left and go underneath the train overpass. From here turn right onto Gerher Nesibe Yolu and then left onto Dumlupinar Cad. Wash and dry $3.75. Open daily 8am-9pm.
  • Hamams: Şengul Hamamı, 3 Acıçeşme Sok., Ulus (men’s section 311 03 63; women’s section 310 22 98), down a small side street off Denizciler Cad., about 200m from the Marmara Otel. Nearly 600 years old, with pool and sauna. $4; massage $1.50. Students 20% off. Open daily 5:30am-11pm. Karacabey Hamamı, 101 Talat Paşa Cad., Ulus (311 84 47), has a stately wooden antechamber. $3.75; kese and massage each $1.25. Open daily 6:30am-llpm. The Marmara Hamamı (324 25 27), 17 Denizciler Cad., next door to the Marmara Otel in Ulus, has a sauna and a spa¬cious central room. $5; massage $2. Open daily 5am-10pm. Separate women’s hamam around the corner (open 8am-6:30pm).

EMERGENCY AND COMMUNICATIONS

24-Hour Pharmacy: Listings of on-duty (nöbetçi) pharmacies in the Hürriyet daily paper (same page as movie listings). On-duty establishments have a sign in their windows.

  1. Hospital: Bayındır Tıp Merkezi, Kızılırmak Mah.  28th Sok., Söğütözü (287 90 00), is Ankara’s best private hospital. Centrally located, brand-new Bayındar Klinik, 201 Atatürk Bul. (428 08 08), Kavaklıdere, is smaller but offers all services. Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi (310 35 45), Hasırcılar Cad., Samon pazarı and Ankara Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi (319 21 60), Tıp Fakültesi Cad., Dikimevi, are the largest university hospitals.
  2. Internet Access: Most of Ankara’s internet cafes are in Kızılay, though connection speed and ambiance vary. Many are fairly smoky. Several post connection speeds in their windows. 01 Internet Center Cafe, 107 Atatürk Bul. (419 27 54; fax 425 79 27), on the 3rd floor of the Engürü İş Hanı, is one of the best. Fast connection, color printing, photocopying, and scanning. $1.25 per hr. Open daily 9am-llpm. Nearby Intek Internet Cafe, 47/1 Karanfil Sok. (417 17 72), offers speedy connections for $1.25 per hr. Çay, coffee, and other snacks. Open daily 8am-midnight. İrde Internet Cafe, 31 Sela¬nik Cad., 2nd fl. (419 68 56), offers great connections for $1.25 per hr.
  3. PTT: In Ulus, on Atatürk Bul., just south of the equestrian statue. Open 24hr., although ices are limited at night. Poste restante. In Kızılay, on Atatürk Bul. just off Kızılay Square, opposite the metro. Open M-Sa 8am-8pm; Su 8:30am-12:30pm, 1:30- 7:30pm. In Kavaklıdere, on Cinnah Cad. just off the Kavaklıdere roundabout. Open daily 8:30am-12:30pm, l:30-5pm. In the train station on Talat Paşa Cad. Open daily 7am-llpm. All offer full services.

ACCOMMODATIONS    

KIZILAY

Though more expensive, student-oriented Kızılay is more pleasant than dustier, noisier Ulus. Ulus is nearer to most of the sites; Kızılay is the cultural downtown.

  • Otel Ertan, 70 Selanik Cad. (418 40 84 or 425 15 06). Going south along Atatürk Bul., take the 4th left after McDonald’s onto Meşrutiyet Cad., then the 3rd right onto Selanik Cad. Garden in front. Great value on a peaceful street, yet close to the Kızılay nightlife. 20 rooms, all with shower, toilet, and TV. Singles $15.50; doubles $24.50.  Otel Büyük Erşan, 74 Selânik Cad. (417 60 45 or 417 60 46; fax 417 49 43), across from Otel Ertan. True to its name, 3-star “Big Erşan” has 85 rooms, each with toilet, shower, TV, and refrigerator, with prices to match. The hotel has a retro feel, like something out of a 60s movie. Singles $26; doubles $38; triples $57.
  • Hotel Ergen, 48 Karanfil Sok. (417 59 06/07/08; fax 425 78 19). Going south along Atatürk Bul., take the 4th left after McDonald’s onto Meşrutiyet Cad., then take the next right. Two-star Ergen has 48 rooms, well-furnished with private bath. Most have TV. No hot water 2-8pm. Singles $21, students $15; doubles $30, students $23.
  • M.E.B. Özel Ülkü Kız Öğrenci Yurdu, 61 Karanfil Sok. (419 37 15 or 419 30 67; fax 419 36 49), between Akay Cad. and Meşrutiyet Cad. For female students only. This girls’ dormitory provides clean lodgings and a cafeteria. 24hr. hot water. Open July- Sept. Dorms $7 per night, $220 per month; singles $9 per night, $245 per month.

MALTEPE

Just west of Kızılay, Maltepe is the main student residential area, and home to a huge and impressive mosque, some high class hotels and numerous wedding halls. Though somewhat removed from the sights, it is still relatively close to the Kızılay action and escapes the chaotic bustle of Ulus.

  • M.E.B. Özel Çağdaş Erkek Öğrenci Yurt, 15 Neyzen Tevfik Sok., Maltepe (232 29 54 or 232 29 55). From the Demirtepe Ankaray stop, walk 100m along Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bul. with the Maltepe mosque on your right (back toward Kızılay). A set of stairs just past the mosque leads to Neyzen Tevfik Sok.; walk uphill until you see the dorm on your left. Most rooms share a bath. TVs and computers are available. Dormitories serve as a co-ed hostel from July-Aug., but only accept male students at other times of the year. Singles $10; doubles $20.
  • Hitit Öğrenci Yurtları, 96 Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bul. (231 02 81 or 231 07 91), on the left as you walk from the Maltepe Ankaray stop back toward Kızılay. This dorm offers dormitory-style lodging to male guests at the unbeatable price of $4 per night, or $11.50 per week. The guard speaks no English, so brush up on your Turkish basics. Shared bathrooms. Prices drop for stays of a month or longer.

ULUS

Ulus is packed with cheap hotels, some more squalid and Dickensian than others. The highest concentration is by the market, east of the equestrian statue.

  • Otel Hisar, 6 Hisarparkı Cad. (311 98 89 or 310 81 28). Walk east from the eques¬trian statue. Offers simple, comfortable rooms and Hisar views. Among the cheapest in town. Singles $6.50; doubles $11. 
  • Otel Zümrüt, 16 Şehit Teğmen Kalmaz Cad. (309 15 54 or 309 01 17). From the statue, follow Atatürk Bul. south; take the 2nd left onto Teğmen Kalmaz Cad. The advantages of a larger hotel at a good price. Comfortable, carpeted rooms with phones. Singles $4.50, with bath $7; doubles $12, with bath $17; triples $17, with bath $21.
  • Hotel Kale, Anafartalar Cad., 13 Alataş Sok. (311 33 93 or 310 35 21). From the statue, follow Anafartalar Cad. toward the Citadel; bear right before it becomes Hisarparki Cad., and take the 3rd left onto Şan Sok. Hotel Kale is about 150m ahead at the intersection of Şan Sok. and Alataş Sok. Near the center of Ulus, but a quiet distance from any major road. Rooms come with TV, phones, and baths with 24hr. hot water. Singles $13, students $7; doubles $29, students $24; triples $39, students $34. 
  • Farabi Otel, 46 Denizciler Cad. (310 07 77; fax 310 09 59). Slightly distant from the other hotels clustered around the Ulus statues, Farabi is a good, quiet alternative near the PTT. Clean singles $5.50, doubles $8.
  • Hotel Taç, 35 Çankırı Cad. (324 31 95 or 324 31 96). North of the statue, Atatürk Bul. becomes Çankırı Cad., a busy, noisy, well-lit street. Lodging here is closer to the Roman ruins and slightly more expensive than elsewhere in Ulus. 35 clean rooms, some with private showers. Singles $8, with shower and toilet $11.50; doubles $16.50, with shower and toilet $19.50.
  • Otel Bulduk, 26 Sanayi Cad. (310 49 15/16/17). Walk south from the equestrian statue along Atatürk Bul., take the first left after the PTT, then turn right onto Sanayi Cad. Bulduk is on the right. A bit more upscale than other hotels in the area, with 68 rooms, all with TV. Singles $13, with bath $16.50; doubles $23, with bath $28.

CAMPING

D.S.İ. Kampı Campground, Bayındır Barajı (372 27 31), on the Samsun Yollu Üzeri about 15km from Ankara. By car, take the road to Samsun, past Kayaş; this state operated campground is on the right. Dolmuş leave the Ulus hubs on Denizciler Cad. and Bentderesi Cad. ($.30). Gas station and cafe nearby. Free toilets, showers (24hr. hot water), and laundry. $1.50 per day. Open May 1 until it gets too cold (about Sept.).

FOOD   

The main culinary neighborhoods are Kızılay (mid-range), Gençlik Park (cheap), Hisar (upscale, touristy), and Kavaklıdere (upscale, trendy). In addition, just southeast of the Atakule Tower, Hoşdere Cad. lays claim to many good restaurants, as does Ahmet Mitat Sok., the side street one block south. For comprehensive supermarkets selling food, rugs, furniture, electronics, watches, shoes, linens, toys, cosmetics, and life insurance, head to Gima, with branches on Atatürk Bul. (next to the PTT) in Kızılay and on Anafartalar Cad. in Ulus, or Beğendik (open 9am-10:30pm), under the Kocatepe mosque in Kızılay (at the south end of Mithat Paşa Cad.). The Migros chain (look for the MMM symbol) restricts itself to standard supermarket wares and has branches on Celâl Bayar Bui. in Maltepe and on Uğur Mumcu Cad. in Çankaya. In addition, small, hyper specialized food stores line the streets of Kavaklıdere, Kızılay, and Ulus. Com on the cob, rice rolls, and pastries are available from street, vendors all over the city.

KIZILAY

Some of Kizilay’s streets have been turned into pedestrian zones bustling with a student crowd in restaurants, bars, and cafes. It’s hard to go wrong here; just follow the crowds and avoid fast food joints. Numerous shops on Olgenlar Sok. sell Kizilay’s cheapest meal, the $.75 döner. For cheap food outlets and bars, turn onto Karanfil Sok. from Atatürk Bul.; for more upscale (and expensive) food, walk a couple blocks farther from Atatürk Bul., onto Bayındır Sok.

  • Göksu Restaurant, 22/A Bayındır Sok. (431 22 19), is one of the classier places in the neighborhood, with excellent Turkish and European food at mid-range prices (decent filet mignon $4.50). The desserts are particularly delicious. Sit outside on the glass enclosed patio or inside among the exaggerated but elegant reproductions of Hittite reliefs, while waiters in bowties attend to your needs. Open daily noon-midnight.
  • Körfez Lokantası, 24 Bayındır Sok. (431 14 59). Specializes in seafood ($7-12). Kiliç (swordfish), barbunya (red mullet), karides (prawn), and other dishes available depend¬ing on the season. Last food orders 10pm.
  • Cafe M, 42 Selanik Cad. (419 36 65). Join the cell-phone toting collegiate hipsters on the outdoor terrace and look as cool as possible. Try the banana split ($2) or the tiramisu ($1.50). Open daily 7am-10:30pm.
  • Melbo, No. 95 Atatürk Bul. (418 03 63), on the top floor of a huge department store. Take the elevator near the PTT entrance. Clearly visible from Atatürk Bul., Melbo offers solid standards with a spectacular view of central Ankara.
  • Cafe Tenedos, 29/A Kızılırmak Cad. (419 34 50), at the intersection of Kızılırmak Cad. and Selanik Sok., west of the Kocatepe mosque. Quality live jazz from Sept.-June. Pleasant patio, wooden interior. Ginger peach soda $2. Open daily 9am-midnight.

ULUS

Since Ulus isn’t a particularly compelling neighborhood for restaurants, the quickest and easiest option is to grab a döner or kebap. Ulus is home to several bakeries; a particularly good one is at the south end of the equestrian statue plaza.

  • Uludağ Lokantası, 54 Denizciler Cad. (309 04 00). A large, reasonably priced restaurant with stellar kebaps renowned throughout Ankara. Situated in a large modern building in an otherwise very ordinary area. Try the özel uludağ kebap ($1) and the ekmek kadayıfı (Turkish sweet pastry with cream, $2).
  • Tapi Tavuk, 23/A Şehit Teğmen Kalmaz Cad. (309 38 16; fax 309 18 15; order in 3112111). Decent, inexpensive food in an informal, down to earth environment. Tavuk Şiş $2.50, Tavuk köfte $2, good breakfasts $1. Open 6am-9pm.
  • Santral Kebap, Orbek Sakağı (312 77 57) is a small, friendly, simple restaurant, serving good kebap ($1). Open until 11pm.
  • Arjantin 78, 14/C Çankırı Cad. Kraner İşhanı (311 77 12 or 310 16 94 or 310 71 97). One of the best Ulus has to offer, near the Roman ruins, only a few minutes from the hub of Ulus. Serves excellent fish tavuk ($.75) and beers in a decidedly smoky atmosphere. Open noon-11pm.
  • Bulvar, 14/37 Çankırı Cad. (311 71 17) is a diner-style joint featuring soups ($.75), kebap ($1.50) and desserts ($.75) at very reasonable prices.

HİSAR

To gel to the Hisar’s several excellent and reasonably priced restaurants, enter the Southern Gate from near the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. There are several steps leading up on the next road up the hill. You will see several signposts indicating the way to the restaurants perched on the citadel’s walls.

  • Zenger Paşa Konağı, 13 Doyran Sok. (311 70 70). Zenger is an impressive and tasteful combination restaurant and museum in a restored 1730 Ottoman house. Clear explanations and displays of pre-Islamic Turkish mythology and customs accompany live Turkish music on an exquisite covered terrace overlooking the city. Excellent food at reasonable prices. Don’t leave without trying the delicious gördeme crepe specialty ($1). Main courses $2-5. Open daily 10am-11pm; music starts at 7:30pm.
  • Hisar Kule Lokanta (301 78 99). Slightly smaller and with even better prices than its Hisar rivals, this restaurant offers excellent food and stunning views from the roof tower in a relaxing atmosphere. Patlıcan salatası $1, meze $1.50. Main courses $1.50-3. Open 10am-1am.
  • Kale Washington, 5-7 Doyran Sok, (311 43 44; fax 324 59 59). On the square just to the left, Kale Washington is a classy restaurant with a business  atmosphere, serving tasty fare on an open-air, canopied terrace. Try the patlican salatası (eggplant salad, $2.50). Entrees about $6. Open noon-midnight.

KAVAKLIDERE AND GAZİOSMANPAŞA

Kavaklıdere’s glitziness is striking compared to Ulus and the Hisar, as several upscale restaurants compete for well-heeled patrons. It does have its charm, however, and there are plenty of reasonable and enticing restaurants, cafés, and bars. Arjantin Cad. is best avoided unless you’re on a serious expense account.

  • Dally News Cafe, 1 Arjantin Cad. ( 468 45 13). The exception to the pricey restaurants on Arjantin Cad. Newly renovated as an Italian restaurant, but still lined with newspapers, this is a smart, up-market place to while away an afternoon with the upper crust of Ankara society. The perfect spot to spend a relaxing afternoon with a free copy of the English-language Turkish Daily News. chicken with white wine sauce $6.50. Live music F-M 7:30pm-10:30pm. Open daily 9am-midnight.
  • Hacı Arif Bey, 48 Güniz Sok. (467 00 67; reservations 467 57 67). Directly opposite the home of former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, this large restaurant serves food fit for a king under a huge tent. Often crowded with an eclectic mix of patrons in a communal atmosphere. İskender kebap $3.50; peynirli künefe $1.50.
  • Dolmax, Tunalıhılmı Cad., Büklüm Sok. (467 52 52). This combination restaurant and doll shop has to be seen to be believed. Excellent food served in surreal surroundings with endless shelves of dolls. Chicken fried rice with chefs sauce ($5.50.)
  • Dönen Restaurant (440 74 12), atop the Atakule tower in Çankaya. Serves trout ($11) and ızgara ($8) as snazzily-dressed guests slowly revolve on a mechanized disc. The overpriced food may be justified by the best view in Ankara. Open 10am-1am.  
  • Annem Restaurant, 66 Tunalı Hilmi Cad. ( 426 02 02 or 468 24 10 for reservations). Located at the corner of Tunali Cad. and Büklüm Sk., this is an upmarket but reasonably priced restaurant in an upscale area. Entrees $2.50. Open noon-midnight.
  • Deli Dolu Meyhane, 106/6 Tunalı Hilmi Cad. (466 06 90). To find the entrance, walk down the alley to the right of the restaurant and into the first apartment building on the left; Deli Dolu is on the third floor. Nightly music creates a lively atmosphere in this traditional wooden restaurant. Try to sit on the balcony for a view of the whole area. Main course $3-5. Open 4pm-3am.
  • Dolphin Cafe Bar, 99/D Tunalı Hilmi Cad. (427 64 68). More of a café-bar with food than a full-scale restaurant, Dolphin Cafe has an intimate, wood-paneled upstairs seating area. Entrees $1-5. Open daily 9:30am-midnight.
  • Hikmet Gökçe Gıda, 108/A Tunalı Hilmi Cad. (466 49 49). A solid, popular eatery serving all the basics, Himet is less upscale than many of the others on this road and a convenient alternative to the fast food chains nearby. Seating on the outdoor terrace.
  • Zeynel, 90/B Tunus Hilmi Cad. (466 19 19/20). Turn right on the McDonald’s on Tunus Himli Cad. This dessert-and-coffee shop is the first place you’ll come across. Try the ice cream crème caramel, a Kazandibi specialty. Open 7am -12:30am.

SIGHTS

 MUSEUM OF ANATOLIAN CIVILIZATIONS (ANADOLU MEDENİYETLERİ MÜZESİ).

This extraordinary museum, at the foot of the Citadel, is Ankara’s most important sight and winner of Europe’s Museum of the Year Award in 1997. This restored 15th-century Ottoman building houses a collection of astoundingly old artifacts tracing the history of Anatolia from a 6th millennium BC bone and obsidian razor to Ottoman pottery. The museum’s greatest strength is its organization  shaped corridor leads visitors chronologically through the development of human technology, art, and religion. The museum is small enough that a visitor can browse the entire collection without getting “museum feet;” quality, rather than quantity, is the key. Larger artifacts (including sections of the city walls from 950 11C and carved reliefs) are kept in the central room. The museum boasts artifacts from every age of Turkey’s ancient history, from Çatalhöyük, the blockbuster of all Neolithic sites; through the early Bronze Age, Assyrian trade colonies, the Phrygian kingdom of Midas, and the Urartrians. Highlights include perfectly preserved I littite bull vessels; original gate figures from Bogazkale; and a life-size reproduction of King Midas’s tomb at Gordion. Equally impressive is the room of 3300-year- old hieroglyphic tablets, ranging from one written by the wife of Ramses II to a tablet of the Hittite Queen Puduhepa. and an underground section featuring ancient coins. The English labeling is reasonably extensive, but if you want more lime to absorb Anatolia’s rich history, the photo-packed catalogue ($10) explains all. (2 Gözcü Sok. Walk to the top of Hisarparki Cad., turn right at the Citadel steps (without climbing them), and follow the Citadel boundaries to a set of steps leading up to the entrance,  324 31 60; fax 311 28 39. Museum open Tu-Su 8:30am-5:30pm. $3, students $2.)

ATATÜRK’S MAUSOLEUM (ANIT KABİR)

Upon Atatürk’s death, Turkey held an international contest to select a plan for his mausoleum. The winner, Emin Onat, designed the simple, monumental, Hittite influenced Anıt Kabir. It took nine years to complete and now covers 750,000 sq. meters near Tandogan Square.

At the mausoleum entrance, six unhappy statues of men and women represent the grief of the Turkish nation upon its father’s death. Twenty-four lions, paired little-style and symbolizing power, line the broad stone promenade leading to the mausoleum. Across the vast courtyard is the tomb of İsmet İnönü, first prime minister of the Republic and Atatürk’s close friend. The mausoleum complex has no lever than nine towers and two giant victory reliefs, a museum, and a hail of honors. Objects on display include Atatürk’s 1936 Lincoln sedan, his rowing machine, his tie clips, and numerous ceremonial gifts and plaques he received as Turkey’s head of state. An excellent series of photographs commemorates Atatürk’s career and social life, hobnobbing with Chiang Kai Shek, Hailie Selaissie, and King Abdullah of Jordan, among others. Other photographs taken after his death show cloud formations shaped like his profile, suggesting that even the sky mourned his loss. In the Reform Tower, the salon shows non-stop period documentaries, including some very moving posthumous propaganda films with Chopin soundtracks. “Tell us heavens, tell us flag, clouds, birds, mountains—where is Atatürk now?” Wrap up your tour with a stop at the gift shop for your favorite Atatürk paraphernalia: Atatürk post cards, CD-ROMs, plaques, clocks, and photos. (Anıt Cad. Take the Ankaray line to Tandogan and follow the Anıt Kabir signs along Anıt Cad. The unmarked entrance is guarded by two soldiers. It’s a 10-minute uphill walk from the gate to the mausoleum entrance, -a231 79 75. Open M 1:30-5pm, Tu-Su 9am-5pm; winter 9am-4pm. Free.)

HİSAR

On a high hill overlooking the city, the original, pre-republican hill town of Ankara remains more or less unchanged, and has managed to preserve a village feel despite being mere meters away from the urban hub. Protected by its impos¬ing Byzantine walls still in excellent condition the Hisar provides a vantage point over the new city and the contrasts between the old and the new, and the remarkable range of civilizations to have dominated the city and plains beyond. The network of narrow, twisting streets is full of merchants and craftsmen of every variety, and it’s probably the best place in town to go looking for caipets or kilim. At the very top of the hill, the eastern tower (Şark Kulesi) and the northern tower (Ak Kale) offer excellent views. Buy shoes, sheets, and Superman outfits on Çıkrıkçılar Sole., which runs just southwest of the citadel, downhill from the entrance to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. From the restaurant area, follow the road uphill and then climb the steps. Descend the Hisar from the other side, toward the Hacı Bayram Mosque, for a view of beautiful gardens and a picnic area amid the steps leading down. (Fortress open 11am-5pm. Free.)

NORTH-CENTRAL ANATOLIA

MOSQUES

The immense Kocatepe Mosque looms just east of Kızılay on Mithat Paşa Cad. Completed in 1987, this facility is billed as a 16th-century mosque using 20th-century technology: glowing green digital clocks indicate prayer times. Constructed with dazzling white stone, it shines as one of the world’s largest mosques. The stunning stained glass and tiled interior contains a model of the mosque at Medina a present from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in 1993. Kocatepe is particularly striking at night, when moths sleep on the white flagstones overlooking the illuminated city and the enormous, round crystal chandeliers inside are lit. After your visit, you can do some upmarket shopping at the Beğendik supermarket and mall ultra-modern, air-conditioned, and directly underneath the mosque.

Downhill and south of the citadel’s towers, in the site of the original village of Ankara, the small, 13th-century Aslanhane Mosque (Ahi Şerafettin) bears witness to Ankara’s Selçuk legacy. Inside, wooden pillars with Corinthian capitals stretch from the ornate floor to the wooden ceiling, while Selçuk faience tües adorn the mosque’s alcove. One of Ankara’s most historically important mosques, the Hacı Bayram Camii, among the Roman ruins, is built alongside the tomb of dervish saint Hacı Bayram Veli. To get there, go east from Ulus’s equestrian statue on Anafartalar Cad. and take a left at the first major intersection.

ROMAN RUINS

Compared to the Classical ruins of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, Ankara’s Roman remains are less than impressive. If this is your last and only opportunity to see a piece of Rome, however, you may want to check out the Roman Baths (Roma Hamamı), a five-minute walk up Çankırı Cad. from the equestrian statue in Ulus. Turn left as you go up the stairs for the most intact remains and follow the path along until you reach the baths. Built by the Emperor Caracalla (212-217), these baths were in continuous use for 500 years. Little is visible today except the well-excavated foundations. The many brick piles supported the floors of the baths and allowed heated air to circulate and warm the tiles. Column capitals, statues, and other fragments are arranged around the grass. (Open Tu-Su 8:30am-12:30pm, l:30-5:30pm. $1.50, students free.)

The inner sanctum of the Temple of Augustus and Rome (Ağustos ve Roma Mabedi) lies in overgrown ruin directly adjacent to the Hacı Bayram Camii. Romans built the temple in 25 BC on the site of earlier temples to Cybele the Anatolian fertility goddess, and the Phrygian moon god. Later converted to a Byzantine church, the site became holy to Muslims in the 15th century when Hacı Bayram Veli, a dervish saint, was buried here. Guests can ask the guardian of the dervish tomb to unlock the temple gate. To the south toward the vegetable market, the lonely Column of Julian (Jullanus Sütünü), built in honor of the emperor’s 4th-centiuy visit, is now crowned by an immense stork’s nest. (Follow Hükümet Cad. past the fork leading to the Hacı Bayram Camii and take a left.)

OTHER SIGHTS

At the southernmost end of Atatürk Bul. lie the grounds of the Presidential Mansion (Cumhurbaşkanlığı Köşkü), still the home of Turkey’s head of state. While you can’t tour the current quarters, if you come to the entrance at 5 Ziaürrahman Cad. and leave your passport at the guardhouse, you will be given a tour of Atatürk’s “country residence,” which dates back to times when Çankaya was still well outside the city. The residence, preserved as Atatürk left it, displays a much more human side of the man than does Anıt Kabir. (Expect to encounter a heavy security presence. Try proceeding directly to entrance 5.  468 63 00. Open Su 1:30-5pm.)

West of the Presidential Mansion on Çankaya Cad. is the Atakule Observation Tower. Enter the mall below and make your way to the central courtyard, where you’ll find the tower elevator ($1.25). From the tower’s observation deck you can see past Ankara to the farmland and mountains beyond. Just outside the tower is the Botanical Park, one of Ankara’s better picnic spots and a favorite of the city’s young couples. Housed in a tiny greenhouse within the park are the pleasant, if not exotic, Botanical Gardens. (Bus 613 runs from the equestrian statue in Ulus to the Atakule Tower via Kızılay and Kavaklıdere. Park open daily 24 hr. Free.)

In Ulus, the first and second Grand National Assembly buildings have been converted into separate, but very similar, historical museums. The First Assembly building, a.k.a. the War of Independence Museum (Kurtuluş Savaşı Müzesi, 14 (Cumhuriyet Bul.), is preserved exactly as it was in the early 1920s. Paintings and photographs tell the story of Turkey’s fight for independence, and several rooms are filled with photographs of each member of the original assembly. Next door is  he Second Assembly building, or the Museum of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Müzesi). Used by tire Assembly from 1924 until 1960, this museum is most dramatically distinguished from its partner by an assembly hall full of wax politicians listening attentively as a waxen Atatürk waxes loquacious in his famous Great Speech. Also on display are a few of İsmet İnönü’s personal affects, as well as stamps and money used by the republic, including now-inconceivable one lira notes from the 1930s. None of the museum’s descriptions are in English, but an English language brochure is available at the front desk. (The museums are west of the equestrian statue, toward the Metro stop on Cumhuriyet Bul. War Museum is at #14. 310 71 40. $1.50, students $1. Museum of the Republic is at $22. 310 53 61. $1.50; 65 and over $.80. Both museums open Tu-Su 8:30am-noon and 1:30-5:30pm.)

ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE 

KIZILAY

Like so many other aspects of the city, Ankara’s nightlife is centered in Kızılay, where dozens of bars and multipurpose cafe-bars cover a few city blocks. Manic dancers should be warned, however, that Kizilay’s nightlife is of the chat-over-a- hoer and listen-to-live-music variety. Pub life is centered on İnkilâp Sok. and the oven livelier Bayındır Sok., two and three blocks east of Kızılay Sq. Roam the traffic- free streets as you pick the crowd you want to hang with. S.S.K. Işhane (Life Insurance Office Building), on the comer of Ziya Gökalp Cad. and Selanik Cad., is the center for bars and clubs. This entire cement block throbs with the bass-kicking sounds from small live music bars. Kizilay’s bar prices are fairly uniform: a pint of Efes, the local favorite, goes for $1.10-1.50; mixed drinks from $3-4.

  • Brothers Bar, 61 Selanik Cad. (419 41 26). At the far end of Selanik Cad., just past the Ertan Hotel. Mellow music and mood. Young musicians play acoustic renditions of Turkish tunes while the large collegiate crowd sings along. Open daily 11am-midnight.
  • Zx Bar Disco, 14/A Bayındır Sok. (431 35 35). Packs a 3-floor Turkish pop punch: disco downstairs, live music upstairs, and a bar in the middle of it all. Often crowded, and deservedly so. Beer $1.50. Open daily noon-12:30am.
  • Nil Bar, 19/C Bayındır Sok. (431 07 73), and the Alesta Bar, 19/B Bayındır Sok. (431 12 04), open onto the street next door to each other. Pleasant outdoor tables and deafening cover bands playing a mix of Turkish and American rock inside. Beer $1.50. Both bars open daily 9am-midnight.
  • Gölge Bar, 1-2-3 S.S.K. İşhanı (434 09 78). Literally “Shadow Bar,” Gölge is well- known to the city’s youth. Live bands play heavily distorted covers of English rock, from the Rolling Stones to the Cure. The club’s dark, smoky space and cheap beer ($1,50) attract an equally non uniform crowd. Live music nightly, with 2 bands F and Sa. Cover required only after 9pm on F and Sa ($2.50, includes a beer). Open daily 1pm-4am.
  • Blues Cafe & Bar, 19/16 Bayındır Sok. (432 42 46), on the 2nd floor of the building on the corner of Bayındır Sok. and Sakarya Cad. From Nil Bar, turn left, enter the apartment building to the left, and go up the stairs. Makes up for its lack of live music with a well-chosen soundtrack of American blues and rock. Wooden benches arranged around the dark, cozy space are stamped with such names as Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Open daily 11am-12:30am.
  • May Day Club, Beş Evler Cad., Gençler Birliği Spor klubu Yanı. Quite far out of town, near Anıt Kabir (Atatürk mausoleum). Open only in the summer, when it becomes the place to see and be seen in Ankara for hardcore clubbing.
  • Zodiac Cafe Pub, 17/B Tunus Cad. (419 92 08). A small, intimate music bar, with wooden décor. Much more relaxed and chill than other Kızılay spots. Open 9am-1am.
  • Türkevi Cafe Restaurant, 36/B Karanfil Sok. (312 425 26 16). A lively café bar with live traditional folk music and dancing every night. Try the house specialty, a delicious köfte ($1.50). Beer $1.
  • İskele Cafe Bar, 14/C Bayındır Sk. (433 38 13). A laid-back, chill bar with groovy music and a sedate atmosphere. Live bands play every night. Open until midnight, last entrance 11:30pm.
  • Metropol Sanat Merkezi Movie House, 76 Selanik Cad., Kızılay (425 74 78), across from Brothers Bar. The Movie House offers six screens of artsy and pop films, both Turkish and American. Cool off afterward with a beer at the outdoor bar. Most films $1. Last showing 9:30pm.
  • Kızılırmak Movie House, 21 Kızılırmak Sok., Kızılay (425 53 93), Derya, 57 Necatibey Cad., Sıhhiye (229 96 18), and Megapol, 33 Konur Sok., Kızılay (419 44 92) also play British and American films. For listings, check the Turkish Daily News or pick up a flyer from any of the theaters.

KAVAKLIDERE

If the mellow/metal head schizophrenia and pricey lifestyle of Kızılay is getting you down, head to the less crowded, upwardly-mobile bars and clubs scattered around the trendy streets of Kavaklıdere, Gaziosmanpaşa, and Çankaya. Most live music venues have no cover.

  • Süleyman Nazif Club, 97 Güvenlik Cad. (468 57 83). Dance floor with Turkish and Euro techno, where a young, mostly-Turkish crowd lets loose, and a calmer upstairs lounge. Open W-Sa 10pm-2am.
  • Marilyn Monroe, 54/A Büklüm Sok. (428 27 06). Enjoy the Marilyn decor while sipping an Efes with the mainly Anglo-American expat crowd. Terrace open in summer. Restaurant attached. Open 10am-midnight.
  • The North Shield, 111 Güvenlik Cad., Kavaklıdere (466 12 66; fax 468 86 91). One of the most popular bars in the area. The mixed crowd at this faux-Scottish pub favors older folks, but includes the weekend student surge. Specializing in Scotch, the North Shield is the only place in Ankara where you can spend $250 on a single glass of 52- year-old malt whisky. Local beers $4, imports $6.50; whiskeys $6.50 and up, up, up. Open daily 11-1:30am.
  • Likya, SOA/4 Tunus Cad., Kavaklıdere (426 27 23), draws a carefully dressed student crowd with its soundtrack of American and European pop tunes. Hair gel recommended. On Thursday the DJ spins all from tango to techno. Efes $3. Open daily noon-2am.
  • Jazz Time Cafe Bar, 4/1 Bilir Sokak (488 41 29 or 468 43 48). A good jazz and café bar, parallel to the busyTunalı Hilmi Cad. Smallish, with less atmosphere than some of the Kızılay hotspots, but with excellent live jazz every night. Open 1pm-1am.
  • Highland, 53/A Tunus Cad. (467 32 35). A more serious and self-conscious place, with steeper prices to boot. Dinner-jacketed bouncers make sure everything goes smoothly. The décor and clientele tend toward the upscale.
  • Batı Cinema, 151 Atatürk Bul., Kavaklıdere (418 83 23; $3.50, students $2), also plays British and American films. For listings, check the Turkish Daily News or pick up a flyer from any theater.
  • Open-air cinema, On the roof of the Kavaklıdere Sheraton (468 54 54), with nightly 9:30pm screenings for $7 (summer only). Another place to catch up on American flicks. There’s no popcorn, but there is a bar (first drink on the house, additional cocktails $3).

ULUS

Most of the clubs, cafes, discos, and movie houses are elsewhere in Ankara, but there are still some diversions in Ulus. Gençlik Park is crammed with cheap restaurants and also contains a garish amusement park and an artificial lake with rental pleasure boats ($.75 ) The park is more than a little tacky, but it’s at its best in the early evening, when the lights first come on. Smoke a nargile ($2) at the Kecep Özgen Çay Bahçesi tea house. (Park open in summer 9am-midnight. Tea house open 7am-midnight.) From November until mid-June, the terra cotta pillared State Opera and Ballet House (Devlet Opera ve Balesi), Atatürk Bul. Opera Meydanı holds daily performances. Performance schedules are posted on the bulletin board outside the opera house or available at the tourist office. (324 22 10 or 324 20 10. Tickets $5 and $10, students 50% off.) The nearby Presidential Symphony Orchestra Hall (Cumhurbaşkanlığı, Senfoni Orkestrası Konser)’ Salonu), 38 Talatpaşa Bul., has concerts during the winter only, F 8:30pm and Sa 11am. (310 72 90. Tickets $3 or $5; 50% student discount.) Akün Cinema, 227 Atatürk Bul., shows American films in the original English (427 76 56; $3.50, students $2).

DAYTRIP FROM ANKARA: GORDION

Unfortunately, reaching Gordion can be somewhat difficult. Buses and trains run to Polat, the nearest town of any size. Non-express trains from Ankara to Eskişehir usually stop here once or twice a day (2hr., $4). From Ulus, catch a bus from Hlik Eski Garajlan (old bus station). The Baysal bus company (224 05 42) links Ankara’s otogar to Polat (1hr., every 30min. 7am- 9:30pm, $1.50). From Polat’s bus station, take a bus into the town center at the train station. A dolmuş leaves from there to Gordion (and adjacent Yashöyük) every day but Su (20min., 2 per day 8:30am-3pm, $. 75). More likely, you will be forced to hire a taxi ($15-25 round-trip). Some find it cheaper to strike a deal with a local who has a car.

About 100km west of Ankara lie the ruins of the ancient city of Gordion, where the Phrygians established their capital in the 8th century BC. The Phrygian King Midas, who ruled here, has been immortalized in Greek mythology as the man who greedily wished that everything he touched would turn to gold, with the result that even his food and drink became golden and inconsumable. Taking pity on the starved, thirsty Midas, Dionysus granted a cure. Centuries later, after the fall of the Phrygian empire, Alexander the Great made Gordion famous once again when he sliced the Gordion knot in half with his sword, thus fulfilling the prophesy that he who successfully untied the knot would rule Asia.

Over 80 burial mounds surround Gordion. About a quarter of them have been excavated over the past 40 years by an archaeological team from the University of Pennsylvania. The most impressive of these towering earth mounds is the Royal Tomb, which contained a perfectly preserved “log cabin” made of juniper trunks  one of the oldest standing wooden structures in the world. Inside the cabin lies the intact body of a man in his 60s. Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations displays a replica of the tomb. The scale of the tomb can only be understood by traveling the narrow passage to the center of the mound (not recommended for claustrophobes). To get in, ask the attendant at the museum across the street. Renovated in 1999, the museum contains fairly well-labeled examples of Bronze Age Hittite, and Phrygian pottery, as well as photographs documenting the excavations. (Museum open daily 8:30am-5:30pm. $3.50, students free.) The acropolis, built and rebuilt during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, stands a good 15-minute walk to the southwest of the museum. To get there, follow the main road through the nearby town until you see signs pointing out the site. Today, the acropolis is likely only exciting to scholars, but a sit does provide an indication of the settlement’s considerable size. The complex of mounds is covered with a maze of randomly disintegrating walls, a few still towering to suggest the city’s former glory. The Phrygian gate building is the largest monumental fortification in Central Turkey.

OUR IN-HOUSE SERVICE