Flights to Ankara
Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and it’s situated in the Central Anatolia region of Central Turkey. Ankara is the second largest city behind Istanbul in Turkey, and though it’s not as popular a tourist destination as Istanbul this ancient city actually has many attractions.
Flights to Ankara will come to the Esenboga International Airport (airport code: ESB) located 30 kilometres outside of the city. There are taxis and public buses for the ride into Ankara from the airport. Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa both offer flights to Ankara from South Africa with 1 stop, but Turkish Airlines stops in Istanbul whereas Lufthansa makes a connection in Munich. If you fly with South African Airways, you will make stops in Cairo and then again in Istanbul. One stop flights to Ankara are around 13 hours, but 2-stop ones are closer to 20.
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The Tourist Attractions of Ankara:
Ankara is an ancient city that can be traced back to the Bronze Ages and the Hatti and Hittite civilisations. Over the millennia since this time it’s also been home to Lydians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, to name a few, and there are still remnants of some of these civilisations to be seen in Ankara today. Ankara therefore makes a great city to visit as it combines a modern and cosmopolitan side to its ancient history.
Ankara Archaeological Sites
Most of the archaeological sites in Ankara date back to Roman times. There’s a Roman amphitheatre, parts of which are still being excavated, but there are remains of the seating, the stage and backstage areas to be seen. Some of the statues that have been unearthed here can be seen in one of Ankara’s museums – the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.
The basement and first floors of an ancient Roman bath can also be seen in Ankara, while the Column of Julian fared better. This was erected in 362AD and is in very good shape still. An even older structure is the Temple of Augustus and Rome which was built between 25 and 20BC by the Roman Empire. It was enlarged by them in the 2nd century and in the 5th century it was converted into a church by the Byzantines.
Ankara Citadel is a popular area that has found a new lease of life in more recent years. This castle was first laid out by the Galatians and completed by the Romans, then had additions and restorations by the Byzantines and Seljuks. Inside the castle walls is now the oldest remaining part of the city of Ankara and it features some great traditional architecture, and old homes that have been converted into hotels and restaurants.
Being the capital of Turkey, Ankara is not short of museums. One of the most important (in Turkish terms) is the mausoleum of Ataturk (called Anitkabir), the founder of the Republic of Turkey. You can visit both the mausoleum and the museum next door to it.
Ankara has some excellent museums for those interested in history and culture including the Ankara Ethnography Museum, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.
Ankara’s mosques should be explored too including the beautiful Kocatepe Mosque, the largest in the city, which was built between 1967 and 1987. More historical mosques are here too including the Aladdin Mosque that was built in the 12th century.
When Should You Visit?:
Being situated centrally within Turkey Ankara has a continental climate giving it hot and dry summers and cold, snowy winters. For milder temperatures autumn is a good time to visit Ankara and rainfall is not too high in October.