Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’’’’s second largest city after İstanbul. The city has a population (as of 2005) of 4,319,167 (Province 5,153,000), and a mean elevation of 850 m (2800 ft). It was formerly known as Angora. The Hittites gave it the name Ankuwash, the Galatians and Romans called it Ancyra, and in the classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine periods it was known as Ánkyra. Ankara also serves as the capital of the Province of Ankara. An alternate Turkish name was Engürü.
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 rail network, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), white rabbits and their prized wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region’’’’s muscat grapes.
Ankara Castle and ancient citadel overlooking the modern city from above Ankara is situated upon a steep and rocky hill, which rises 500 ft. above the plain on the left bank of the Enguri Su, a tributary of the Sakarya (Sangarius) river. The city, which is one of the driest places in Turkey and surrounded by a barren featureless steppe vegetation, with various Hittite, Phrygian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. It has a harsh, dry continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Rainfall occurs mostly during spring and autumn.
The hill is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which add to the picturesqueness of the view; little else is preserved of the old town, which was not well built. Many of its houses were constructed of sun-dried mud bricks along narrow streets. There are, however, many finely preserved remains of Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus (20 BC) also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.
HISTORY : The region’’’’s vibrant history can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians.
Temple of Augustus (20 BC) in Ankara, which is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum, contains the only known inscriptions attributed directly to the first Roman emperor, the famous Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Historically viewed, the city was expanded and took the form of a known city mainly by the Greeks of Pontos who came there and developed the city as a trading center for commerce of goods between the Black Sea ports, Crimea, Armenia, Georgia on the north; Assyria, Cyprus, and Lebanon to the south and Persia to the east. By that period the city took also its name Àngyra that it is used until today by the Turks.
Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians’’’’ defeat at the hands of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. In 333 BC, Alexander came from Gordium to Ankara and stayed in the city for a period of time. After his death at Babylon in 323 BC and the subsequent division of his empire amongst his generals, Ankara and its environs fell into the share of Antigonus.
Monumental Column of Julianus (362 AD) in Ankara ; In 278 BC, Ankara was occupied by the Gaulish race of Galatians, who were the first to make Ankara their capital. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning "anchor" in Greek. Ankara’’’’s organized and written history starts with the Galatians. The city subsequently fell to the Roman Empire in 189 BC and became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia. Under Roman rule, Ankara became a gate to the east for Rome, and as such was well developed, achieving the status of "city-state" or polis. The city’’’’s military as well as logistical significance lasted well into the long Byzantine reign, even after its capital was moved to Constantinople. Although Ankara fell into the hands of several Arab armies numerous times after the 6th century, it remained an important crossroads polis within the Byzantine Empire until the late 11th century.
In 1071 Seljuk Sultan Alparslan threw open the door to Anatolia for the Turks by his victory at Malazgirt. He then annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory in 1073. Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos recaptured the city from the Turks during the First Crusade; the city was held by the Byzantines until the end of the twelfth century, when it passed out of Byzantine control forever. Orhan I, second "bey" of the Ottoman Empire captured the city in 1356. Another Turkic leader, Timur Lenk besieged Ankara as part of his campaign in Anatolia, but in 1403 Ankara was again under Ottoman control. Ankara was the center of an Ankara Province in the later years of the empire.
At the close of World War I, Turkey was under the control of the Ottoman sultan and having lost the war, was being shared by Greeks, French, British, and Italians. The leader of the Turkish nationalists, Kemal Atatürk established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Ankara in 1919. After the War of Independence was won and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, Turkey was declared a republic on October 29, 1923, Ankara having replaced İstanbul (formerly Constantinople) as the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on October 13, 1923.
After Ankara became the capital of the newly founded Republic of Turkey, new development divided the city into an old section, called Ulus, and a new section, called Yenişehir. Ancient buildings reflecting Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history and narrow winding streets mark the old section. The new section, now centered around Kızılay, has the trappings of a more modern city: wide streets, hotels, theaters, shopping malls, and high-rises. Government offices and foreign embassies are also located in the new section.