Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city after Istanbul. The city is important to diplomats and bureaucrats, and has a few significant sights for visitors. Formerly Angora, the town had a thriving trade in fine, soft Angora goat hair and the garments made from it. Today this city at an altitude of 848 meters (2782 feet) is a sprawling metropolis of five million people, many of them employed in government ministries and embassies, in universities and schools, in hospitals and medical centres, and some in light industry on the outskirts.

The region’s history dates back to the Bronze Age; Hatti Civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, then the Phrygians (10th century BC); Lydians and Persians followed. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital (3rd century BC). It was then known as Ancyra, meaning anchor. The town subsequently fell to the Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks under ruler Alparslan in 1073, and then to the Ottomans under sultan Yildirim Beyazit in 1402, who remained in control until the First World War.

The town, once an important trading center on the caravan route to the east, had declined in importance by the 19th century. It became an important center again when Kemal Ataturk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation. In consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position, it was declared as the capital of the new Turkish Republic on 13th of October, 1923.

After Ataturk proclaimed Ankara to be the capital of the new Turkish Republic’s new capital, it began to grow. After World War II, a constant influx of villagers from the countryside in search of a better life brought Ankara explosive growth. The city now sprawls through valleys and across hills in every direction, but on your visit you need only be concerned with a few specific areas.

Ankara’s several interesting sights such as the citadel, Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum) and Roman ruins, can fully occupy you for a day, but if your itinerary is rushed, spending half a day here may suffice.