Things to do - general
Coordinates: 39°56′N 32°52′E Coordinates: 39°56′N 32°52′E
Country Turkey
Region Central Anatolia
Province Ankara
Capital town Çankaya (De-facto; Turkish metropolises have no official capital towns)
 • Mayor Mustafa Tuna (AKP)
 • Governor Ercan Topaca
 • Total 24,521 km2 (9,468 sq mi)
Elevation 938 m (3,077 ft)
Population (2017)
 • Total 5,445,026
Time zone UTC+3 (FET)
Postal code 06xxx
Area code(s) 312
Licence plate 06
GDP PPP[2] US$ 105 billion
GDP PPP per capita US$ 21,000
HDI (2015) 0.821 – very high
Country Turkey
Visa requirements

By plane
Ankara Esenboğa International Airport (ESB) is located some 28 km northeast of the city. International flights are rather low in frequency and scope - apart from Turkish Airlines (THY), Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and British Airways offer direct flights to their respective European hubs. Iran Air also has two weekly flights to Tehran. For other carriers flying into Turkey, a flight into Istanbul is necessary, followed by an air transfer to Ankara by Turkish Airlines or Anadolu Jet (a low cost brand of Turkish Airlines).

The brand-new airport terminal was opened in 2007. It features many more gates, a more orderly parking system, and in general, better traffic flow. The road connecting Ankara's airport to the ring road has also been fully renovated.

Airport buses are operated by Belko Air, who operate a fleet of modern coaches. The bus number is 442 and it stops at multiple locations including Aşti (where intercity buses depart), Kızılay (the city centre) and Ulus (the historical center of the city, close to the museums and baths). The price is 8 TL. Bus 442 runs in a loop and buses depart frequently (roughly every 20 minutes). It is possible to take this bus from any of its stops back to the airport. Tickets can be bought on the bus after boarding. Note that announcements are made only in Turkish and you may not find any English-speaking staff. This is the most economic way of reaching the city center, after which you can take a taxi. A taxi drive from the airport to the city center should cost around 60 to 80 TL, depending on your destination.

By train
Ankara is the eastern terminus of the Turkish high-speed rail system (YHT), with frequent fast trains to Konya, and via Eskişehir to Istanbul Pendik. Trains to Eskişehir and Konya take 90 minutes and those stations are within 3-5 km of their town centres, so they are easy day trips. Trains to Istanbul take 3½ hours to Pendik, 25 km east of city centre and involving a 90-minute transfer: see Istanbul page. Pendik is convenient for Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport (10 km, taxi or bus).

Destinations east of Ankara are served by slow overnight trains, the main services being to Diyarbakir and Kurtalan (the Guney Kurtalan Express), to Erzurum and Kars (the Dogu Express), and to Tatvan (the Vangölü Express), thence by dolmus to Van.

For times and reservations (strongly recommended) see Turkish railways website at Note that Ankara railway station is partially closed for rebuilding until 2018. The main impact on services is expected to be:

• YHT trains to Konya, Eskişehir and Istanbul Pendik mostly unaffected;

• Most eastbound services have bus replacements to Irmak 60 km east of the city, and altered timings;

• Some mainline services cancelled or curtailed, eg the Cukurova Express to Adana;

• Most suburban trains cancelled.

For other reasons, international trains to Iran, Syria and Iraq are all suspended indefinitely. However trains to Georgia, suspended since 1993, may resume in 2017 when the Kars-Tbilisi line opens.

The railway station is 1 km SW of the old quarter, and 3 km NW of Kızılay. Many public buses and dolmuses stop right in front of the station. The nearest metro, about 1 km away on the edge of the old quarter, is Ulus. Be aware that metro services are also being disrupted by the station construction.

By bus
If you are traveling from places other than Istanbul, you will find buses fast, inexpensive, and modern.

The buses terminate at the bus station (otogar) named AŞTİ (pronounced ush-tee and almost exclusively known as such locally; Ankara Şehirlerarası Terminal İşletmeleri) standing for "Ankara Intercity Terminal". Most of the cities in Turkey have direct buses to the capital of Turkey, and buses are much faster than trains in Turkey. From Istanbul to Ankara, the bus trip takes around 5 hours and one way fare is about 35 TL. Hundreds of companies operate buses to anywhere in Turkey. The companies with bigger ticket desks in AŞTİ are most of the time more convenient, but more expensive.

AŞTİ is connected to the Kızılay Square and a number of other central locations by a metro line. There are also free of charge shuttle buses to Kızılay (and a number of other locations) run by the AŞTİ administration. They depart from behind the main building.

With full English support:

Check the prices of İstanbul - Ankara bus tickets - İstanbul Ankara
istanbul ankara transportation

Languages spokenTurkish
Currency usedTurkish lira (TRY)
Area (km2)2,516 km²

Sports & nature

In order to follow the events and performances in Ankara, online ticket sites of Biletix and Mybilet are good places to check, and both are available in English. Most local newspapers and event websites are in Turkish, and give a wider information about the daily events.

Ankara has annual festivals, including Ankara International Music Festival, Ankara International Jazz Festival, Ankara International Cinema Festival and lot's more, and it is always good to check what's going on in the city.

Ankara Modern Arts Center (Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi), opposite the American Embassy in Kavaklıdere, at Atatürk Boulevard has free exhibitions and performances, mostly of local and infamous artists, but sometimes of more impressive ones.

Local and national groups play in Ankara bars and venues especially on the weekends.

Sunny days get crowds fill Tunali Hilmi Road in Kavaklidere, and 7.Cadde in Bahçelievler.

Ankara offers a good selection of cinemas both in Kızılay and Bahçelievler, as well as all shopping malls. There are several concert halls for classical music and opera. Many universities promote concerts and spring festivals but these are sometimes open to their students only. Folk and traditional music is very alive, from small bars and restaurants to big concert halls where you can find local stars.

Depending on your interests, you can find trekking in local parks and in the surroundings, visiting the museums or hunting for the Ottoman or Selçuk remains in the ancient castle. Upscale shopping centers like Armada along the Eskisehir road also offer cinemas and quality restaurants.

Nightlife info

"Papsi" is a good choice to take a cold beer in a friendly atmosphere for years. It is located on Tunali Street. "Kitir" and newer "Random" are two other most popular bars, adjacent to Kugulu Park, also in Tunali. Corvus is on Bestekar Street offering Rock Music. There are many bars and places to drink on that street which is parallel to Bestekar. The Edge, Twister, Hayyami (wine bar) are nice places. Sakal on Kennedy Street is a unique place with electronic, reggae or retro (offering different kinds of music). On the same street Mono is pleasant place to drink. Tunus Street, parallel to Bestekar is another street where you may find many pubs like Retrox, Flat, James Cook and Zodiac. If Performance Hall, Manhattan, Overall and Siyah-Beyaz are places where you can drink and dance till 4 am with live rock music. There normally are rock cover bands and a huge crowd, especially on Friday and Saturday nights in these places.

"Sakarya" is full of the cheapest solutions. Among the best places in Sakarya, one should note "Net", which is a good choice not only take a glass of beer or raki, but also to eat. "Buyuk Ekspres" is also a nice old bar of the town. Also Eski-Yeni, Pasaj and Telwe are nice bars where you may find rock or alternative live music styles with cheaper drink prices compared to Tunali, Cankaya region.

"Park Avenue" -in Konutkent district- is the new street for classy bars, cafes and night clubs. You may also find second branch of Kitir, Random & Crossroads in "Park Avenue". Istanbul's fashionable night club Sortie has also opened in this avenue and is a nice place to drink any kind of drinks and listen to latest club mixes. Narquilla is a great place to have your nargile while drinking beer and enjoying nice food. Also, there are meyhanes (tavern) in which fixed menus are served with drinks and classic Turkish music played. There are bars and restaurants also in the historic core of Ankara, close to citadel. You definitely have to go and return by taxi though.

Don't expect a lively gay life of Istanbul in Ankara. No-one comes to Ankara for its amazing gay life, however you can still enjoy your time while you are here. It has only one gay bar-club (Sixties) and this is open only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. It gets pretty crowded after 00:00 and plays Turkish and Western pop music. In addition to that, though it is not a gay bar, Eski-Yeni Bar in Sakarya Caddesi (street) seems to attract a gay-lesbian crowd especially in its bottom floor. Kaos GL and Pembe Hayat, the leading queer organizations in Ankara, hold activities throughout the year.

Culture and history info

Ankara (English /ˈæŋkərə/;[2] Turkish [ˈɑŋkɑɾɑ] (About this sound listen)), formerly known as Ancyra (Greek: Ἄγκυρα) and Angora, is the capital of the Republic of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center (2014) and 5,150,072 in its province (2015),[3] it is Turkey's second largest city after former imperial capital Istanbul, having overtaken İzmir.

Ankara was Atatürk's headquarters from 1920 and has been the capital of the Republic since the latter's founding in 1923, replacing Istanbul (once the Byzantine capital Constantinople) following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The government is a prominent employer, but Ankara is also an important commercial and industrial city, located at the center of Turkey's road and railway networks. The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat (the source of mohair), and the Angora cat. The area is also known for its pears, honey and muscat grapes. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded mostly by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, at 72 square metres (775 square feet) per head.

Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The historical center of town is a rocky hill rising 150 m (500 ft) over the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya River, the classical Sangarius. The hill remains crowned by the ruins of the old citadel. Although few of its outworks have survived, there are well-preserved examples of Roman and Ottoman architecture throughout the city, the most remarkable being the 20 bc Temple of Augustus and Rome that boasts the Monumentum Ancyranum, the inscription recording the Res Gestae Divi Augusti.

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