The 19 best sights of Ankara – description, photos, map

Ankara sights

Museum of Steam Locomotives Kocatepe Mosque Ataturk Mausoleum Arslanhane Palace Ankara Rock Sanctuary Yazılıkay Restaurant Haci Arif bey Ankara Central Station

This website contains a list of Ankara sights – photos, descriptions, and traveler tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers for what to see in Ankara, where to go and where to stay in Ankara.

Ankara Steam Locomotive Museum

Steam Locomotive Museum (photo)

One of the many attractions in the Turkish capital is the Steam Locomotive Museum, located outdoors in the Maltepe district. The museum is owned and operated by the Turkish State Railways Company. The main building of the museum was erected in 1924 and has a historical significance.

The total area of the two-story stone building is about 680 square meters. It has expositions devoted to the history of railway transportation in Turkey. You can see ancient lanterns, parts of locomotives, plumbing and communications equipment, as well as original tickets, documents and bonds.

But the main exhibits of the Steam Locomotive Museum are located right in front of the building, in the open air. These are Henschel & Son, Vulcan Iron Works, Schwartzkopf, and Baldwin Locomotive Works locomotives. Many of them have been restored several times, making them look as good as new.

Coordinates : 39.93270500,32.84630400

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque (photo)

Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque and one of the main attractions of the Turkish capital. It is located in the district of the same name, slightly south of the historic center of the city. The construction of the Kocatepe Mosque began in 1967. Initially its project envisaged the construction of a modern building but the city authorities reconsidered the decision, giving preference to a mosque in the classical style. The construction of the mosque took 20 years and was supervised by architect Husrev Tayla.

The Kocatepe Mosque is topped with a large dome and surrounded by four minarets and is designed in the style of classical Ottoman mosques. Its main dome is about 48.5 meters high with a diameter of 26 meters. The minarets decorated with gilded crescents are 88 meters high. The total area of the construction is 4288 square meters.

Inside the Kocatepe Mosque is finished with marble, and decorated with gold plates, stained glass windows, decorative tiles and huge crystal chandeliers. In its center is the model of the Mescid-I Nebevi Mosque which was given to Turkish President Suleiman Demirel by the Saudi King Abdulaziz in 1993.

Coordinates: 39.91623300,32.86024100

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Ataturk Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Ataturk (photo)

If you are in Ankara, you have to visit one of the most majestic places in Turkey – Ataturk Mausoleum. The museum is worth your attention because of its amazing historical panoramas accompanied by thematic music. Numerous exhibits about the life of the first president of Turkey (clothes, medals, portraits, cars, yachts) are complemented by his personal library. History comes to life in the rooms where you will be offered to watch documentaries of Ataturk’s speeches to the people.

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The body of the politician himself is located in the Hall of Honor, which is at the bottom of the mausoleum. The coffin is surrounded by copper vases with earth sent from all regions of the country and its possessions in Northern Cyprus.

All this (the museum, the mausoleum and the park) is on an area of 750 square meters. Interesting: there are ten towers symmetrically located within the mausoleum which symbolize the ideas of a popular figure, which had a favorable impact on the development of Turkey.

Coordinates: 39.92661300,32.83524800

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Arslanhane Mosque

Arslanhane Mosque (photo)

Among the mosques of the Turkish capital Arslanhane is one of the most beautiful. It is rightly considered one of the oldest places of Muslim worship in the city. There used to be an ancient Roman temple at the place where Arslankhane was standing.

In the early XIII century, the construction of a new mosque began. The builders used elements of Roman and Byzantine architecture. It is well traced in the supporting constructions of the mosque. Its interior is beautifully decorated – one can see an exquisitely carved mimbar made of walnut wood, and a classic mihrab, the walls of which are covered with the finest enamel decoration (which testifies to its Seljuk origin). All the decorative elements clearly confirm that the Arslanhane Mosque was a splendid spectacle several centuries ago.

Coordinates: 39.93606600,32.85736100

Ankara Palace

Ankara Palace (photo)

Ankara Palace is a historical building and a landmark of the Turkish capital. Its construction began in 1924 and lasted four years. Initially it was used as a building for the Ministry of Health and later as a hotel for the members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Ankara Palace was designed by a popular local architect, Vedat Tek, and the construction work was supervised by engineer Mimar Kemaleddin.

Ankara Palace is located in the Ulus quarter, opposite the historic building of the first Great National Assembly, now known as the Museum of the War of Independence. The building is a striking representative of Turkish architecture. It is a symmetrical, two-storey building with pitched roofs, a magnificent dome and two twin towers. The Ankara Palace underwent a major renovation in 1983 and is now a guesthouse for the city’s elite. There are 60 recreation rooms, a dining hall and a huge banqueting hall.

Coordinates : 39.94065200,32.85228000

Yazılıkai Rock Sanctuary

The Yazılıkay Rock Sanctuary (photo)

Yazılıkaya sanctuary consists of two rock shelters, built according to all rules of construction, typical of the Hittite period. Archaeologists who studied the sanctuary called these premises Large and Small Galleries. On the walls of the sanctuary are carved images of various figures, the number of which is about a hundred.

The wall to the west of the great gallery has a bas-relief of male deities, while on the opposite side the female gods are carved. On the western wall are carved images of the main gods: the gods of the mountains, the air god Teshup with his wife, goddess Hepati. On the eastern wall is a subject dedicated to King Tutkhali IV, whose glorification began during his lifetime.

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The bas-reliefs of the Small Gallery are preserved up to now in excellent condition, the entrance is guarded by sphinxes. There are three niches carved in the rock that must have been used to store the royal possessions or the urns with the ashes of the dead relatives.

Coordinates: 40.06546100,34.55200200

Haci Arif bey Restaurant

Haci Arif bey Restaurant (photo)

Haci Arif bey is located in the heart of Ankara, a short walk from the Ankara Hilton Hotel. It has a nice, friendly atmosphere and a green courtyard. There is even a garden with live fish and an aviary with turtles, for guests with children there is a playground.

Serves classic Turkish cuisine: delicious hummus, mezes, vegetables, big portions of soups, shepherd’s salad, large choice of kebabs of very high quality. The menu is supplied with pictures of the dishes. There are no alcoholic drinks, but the guest can be offered local drinks, including ayran.

Very good, helpful and attentive, service. A dinner at the restaurant will cost about 800 – 3000 rubles. If you want to try a lot of dishes, you can ask for half a portion. The restaurant makes reservations and delivery.

Coordinates: 39.90232900, 32.86226100

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Ankara Central Station

Ankara Central Station (photo)

Ankara Central Station is the main train station in the Turkish capital and serves about 180 trains a day. It was erected in the early 1930s, designed by local architect Ataturk. Ankara Central Station is Turkey’s main transportation hub, serving suburban and intercity locomotives as well as high-speed trains. There is a subway station under the station, and on the first floor there is a museum displaying specimens about the development of rail transport in Turkey.

The infrastructure of Ankara Central Station is top-notch. There are ticket offices, newsstands, ATMs, comfortable waiting rooms, bathrooms, as well as lockers and numerous restaurants. The station has 6 long platforms: four for long-distance trains and two for suburban trains.

The three-storey art deco building of the station is worth special attention. The glass facade of the construction is supported by a number of massive columns; on either side of it there are two ellipsoidal towers with huge stained-glass windows in the center. The exterior decoration of the building is dominated by sand tones.

Coordinates: 39.93606600,32.84352500

The most popular attractions in Ankara with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Ankara on our website.

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Ankara, as the capital and administrative center of Turkey, symbolizes the independence and modernity of the Turkish people. In different parts of the city, historical elements are harmoniously combined with modern elements. That is why a trip here is a completely unique opportunity to experience the local culture and architecture. Below is a list of the most interesting sights in Ankara.

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Anit Kabir Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Anyt Kabir

Anit Kabir Mausoleum.

The monumental mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938), the founder of modern Turkey, sits high above the city with an abundance of marble and an atmosphere of reverence that reigns here. In fact, the tomb itself is only a small part of this complex; the rest consists of museums and a front courtyard.

For many Turks, a visit here is actually a pilgrimage, and it is not unusual for people to be greatly impressed by it.

Allocate at least two hours to see the place. The main entrance to the complex is through the 262-meter Lions Road, along which there are 24 sculptures of lions, which are Hittite symbols of power and represent the power of the Turkish nation. The path leads to a massive courtyard framed by colonnades, the steps of which lead to the huge tomb on the left.

Address: Mebusevleri Mahallesi, Anıtkabir, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey.


View of the Citadel

View of the Citadel.

The imposing Hisar, or citadel, is the most interesting part of Ankara that anyone can look into. This well-preserved quarter of thick walls and intriguing winding streets took its present form in the ninth century AD, when the Byzantine emperor Michael II built the outer ramparts. The inner walls, on the other hand, date back to the seventh century.

After entering through the Parmak Kapisa, which is the main gate, the mosque of Ala ad-Din rises on the left. The mosque of the citadel dates back to the 12th century, but it was later significantly rebuilt. On your left you will see a steep road that leads to a flight of stairs to the side.

On your right, a steep road leads to the stairwell of the East Tower, which offers a panoramic view of the city. If you look north from here, you’ll see the White Fortress. It is closed to visitors, but from the top of its hill you have the best view of the city, to go up there, follow the alley leading to the tower.

Address: Kale Mah., Ankara Kalesi, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Ankara History Museum

Ankara Historical Museum

Ankara Historical Museum | Photo: SpirosK photography / Flickr.

The magnificent Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is the perfect introduction to Turkey’s complex intertwined ancient past, with beautifully organized exhibits featuring artifacts collected from nearly every significant archaeological site in Anatolia.

The central hall contains reliefs and sculptures, while the adjacent rooms will take you on a journey into the stunning Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Assyrian, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and Lydian eras. Downstairs is a collection of Roman artifacts found during excavations in and around Ankara.

Address: Kale Mahallesi, Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Gözcü Sokak, Ulus/Altyndag/Ankara, Turkey.

Erimtan Museum of Archeology and Art

Erimtan Archeology and Art Museum

Erimtan Museum of Archeology and Art.

This newest museum in Ankara houses a striking collection of mostly Roman artifacts, but in addition to them there are exhibits from the Bronze Age, Hittite and Byzantine periods, collected over the years by Turkish businessman and archaeology enthusiast Yuksel Erimtan.

The exhibits are creatively designed to follow the course of history and equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia displays. In addition, incredibly beautiful ceramic and jewelry can be seen here, as well as an extensive collection of coins, cuneiform tablets from Kültepe and an ornate Urartian belt. The café downstairs in the quiet garden serves excellent coffee.

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Address: Kale Mahallesi, Erimtan Arkeoloji ve Sanat Müzesi Kültür Girişimi, Gözcü Sokak, Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Rahmi M Koç Museum

Rahmi M Koç Museum

Rahmi M Koç Museum.

The amazingly fascinating Rahmi M Koç Industrial Museum, located in the beautifully restored Cengelhan building, which also houses a chic hotel and restaurant, consists of three floors covering topics as diverse as transportation, science, music, computer science, Atatürk, and carpets. Some exhibits are equipped with interactive installations.

Address: Kale Mahallesi, Rahmi M. Koc Museum, Kale Mh. No:1, 06230 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Vakıf Eserleri Museum

Vakıf Eserleri Museum

Vakıf Eserleri Museum.

The tradition of donating carpets to mosques has helped preserve many of the finest examples in Turkey. The museum has an extensive collection which once graced the floors of mosques around the country and was put on public display in 2007.

The museum is a must for those interested in Turkish textiles. In addition, exhibits include an amazing collection of Ottoman manuscripts, tiles, metalwork and intricately carved wooden tablets.

Address: Anafartalar Mahallesi, Vakıf Eserleri Müzesi, Atatürk Boulevard, Altyndag/Ankara, Turkey.

The Museum of Ethnography

Museum of Ethnography

Ethnographic museum. | Photo: wikimedia.

The Ethnographic Museum is located in a white marble post-Osman building from 1927, which served as Atatürk’s mausoleum until 1953. Behind the equestrian statue, the mausoleum is preserved in front at the entrance. On the walls you can see photos of Ataturk’s funeral.

The ethnographic collection here is truly magnificent, with displays covering the henna ceremony, Anatolian jewelry, carpets, Seljuk ceramics, early 15th century doors, with distinctive worried-looking mannequins opposite, and coffee.

Address: Etnoğrafya Müzesi Hacettepe 06230 Altındağ/Ankara Turkey.

Haci Bayram Mosque

Haci Bayram Mosque

Haci Bayram Mosque. | Photo: Seyfi Şeren / Flickr.

Haci Bayram Mosque is the most revered mosque in Ankara. Haci Bayram Veli was a Muslim “saint” who founded the order of Bayrami dervishes around 1400. Ankara was the center of the order, and Haci Bayram Veli is still revered by devout Muslims.

The mosque was built in the fifteenth century, its roof tiles added only in the eighteenth century. Nearby stores sell religious items, including wooden toothbrushes allegedly used by the Prophet Muhammad.

Address: Hacı Bayram Mahallesi, Hacı Bayram-ı Velî Camii, Sarıbağ Sokak, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

The State Museum of Fine Arts and Sculpture

State Museum of Fine Art and Sculpture

The State Museum of Fine Arts and Sculpture.

There is something to see in Ankara for art lovers as well. The Museum of Painting and Sculpture displays the best works of Turkish artists. From angular war scenes to public portraits, these canvases show that Turkey’s artistic development in the 19th and 20th centuries paralleled that of Europe, with an increasingly abstract form.

Address: Hacettepe Mahallesi, Resim Heykel Müzesi, Türkocağı Sokak, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Arslanhane Mosque

Arslanhane Mosque

Arslanhane Mosque.| Photo: wikimedia.

This Seljuk-era mosque has an interior of massive wooden columns and a richly decorated mosaic mihrab, or niche indicating the direction of Mecca.

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Address: Kale Mahallesi, Ahi Şerafeddin Camii, Kale Sokak, Altyndag/Ankara, Turkey.

Youth Park

Youth Park

Youth Park. | Photo: erdalde / Flickr.

In the evening, the most popular place for families in Ankara is the Youth Park, located in the heart of the city. It is a classic Middle Eastern-style park with pleasant tea gardens, lots of fountains illuminated with bright colors, and several, obviously plastic, dinosaurs.

The Luna Park, located here, provides entertainment for children and, thanks to several terrifying-looking rides, provides a thrill for teenagers.

Address: Doğanbey Mahallesi, Gençlik Parkı, Atatürk Boulevard, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Roman Bath Museum.

Roman Baths Museum

Roman Baths Museum | Photo: Carole Raddato / Flickr.

At the ruins of the 3rd century Roman baths, the layout is still clearly visible. Look for the traditional Roman apoditherium or dressing room, the frigidarium or cooling room, the tepidarium, otherwise known as the warming room, and the caldarium, that is, the hot water room. A Byzantine tomb and Phrygian remains were also found here.

Address: Roman Baths, Anafartalar Mahallesi, Çankırı Cd. No:43, 06050 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque

Kocatepe Mosque.

The vast outline of the Kocatepe Mosque is a true symbol of Ankara. It is one of the largest mosques in the world and it is also new, as it was built between 1967 and 1987. In the basement of the mosque there is a supermarket, which says a lot about the priorities of modern Turkey.

Address: Kültür Mahallesi, Kocatepe Cami, Doktor Mediha Eldem Sokak, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey.

Cermodern Exhibition Centre

Cermodern Exhibition Center

Cermodern Exhibition Centre.

Located in an old railway depot, this huge artist park and gallery presents modern and diverse art from all over Europe and has an excellent café and store inside. It also hosts cultural events.

Address: Anafartalar Mahallesi, Cermodern, Altınsoy Caddesi, Sıhhıye / Altındağ / Altındağ / Ankara, Turkey.

Juliana Column

Julian Column

Julian’s Column.| Photo: wikimedia.

Julian’s Column, erected to commemorate the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate’s visit to Ankara, usually topped with a stork’s nest, stands proudly on a square surrounded by government buildings.

Address: Column of Julian, Hacı Bayram Mahallesi, 06050 Altyndag/Ankara, Turkey.

Alaettin Mosque

Alaettin Mosque

Alaettin Mosque.

Alaettin Mosque built in the 12th century and later significantly rebuilt, but is nevertheless the oldest mosque in Ankara. Normally the entrance is closed.

Address: Kale Mahallesi, Sultan Alaaddin Camii, Alitaş Sokak, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Temple of Augustus and Rome

Temple of Augustus and Rome

Temple of Augustus and Rome.| Photo: SeraTJ / Flickr.

With the exception of a few imposing walls with carved inscriptions on them, not much remains of this temple, which was built in honor of the Roman Emperor Augustus and dates back to 25 B.C.

Address: Hacı Bayram Mahallesi, Augustus Tapınağı, Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Statue of Ataturk

Statue of Ataturk

Ataturk Statue:

This large equestrian statue, erected in honor of the soldiers of the War of Independence, is a good sign to navigate when exploring Ulus Square.

Address: Anafartalar Mahallesi, Ulus Atatürk Heykeli, Anafartalar Caddesi, Altındağ/Altyndağ/Ankara, Turkey.

Monument of confidence

Monument of Confidence

Monument of confidence.

The Monument of Confidence, erected in 1935 near Kızılay Square, is a great sight to see when you first visit the area.

Address: Devlet Mahallesi, Güvenpark Anıtı, Güvenpark İçi Yolu, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey.

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