The Heart of Anatolia


Ankara (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈaŋ.ka.ɾa]; historically known with the names Ancyra and Angora) is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city, Istanbul being the largest. The city has a mean elevation of 938 meters (3,077 ft) and has a population of 4,417,522, with its metropolitan municipality having 4,417,522 as of 2013.

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 railway networks, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired Angora goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), Angora rabbits and their prized Angora wool, pears, honey, and the region's muscat grapes.

The historical center of Ankara is situated upon a rocky hill, which rises 150 m (492 ft) above the plain on the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya (Sangarius) river. 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, which is 72 m2 per head.

Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The hill which overlooks the city is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which adds to the picturesqueness of the view, but only a few historic structures surrounding the old citadel have survived to the present day. There are, however, many well-preserved remains of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus and Rome (20 BC) which is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.