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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Ankara

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Ataturk Mausoleum (Anitkabir)
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28 Tours and Activities

The Ataturk Maouselum, part of the Anıt Kabir (literally ""memorial tomb""), is the mausoleum of Mustaga Kemal Ataturk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. The Anit Kabir encapsulates both architectural impressiveness and historical significance, making it one of Anakara's must sees.

Anit Kabir's construction spanned 9 years and commenced in 1944. It consists of four main parts - the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor (the location of Atatürk's tomb) and the Peace Park that surrounds the monument.

Inside of the ceremonial plaza you can find several museum rooms displaying memorabilia and personal artifacts of Ataturk, giving visitors a sense of the famous leader's life. The Hall of Honor is an impressively lofty structure, lined in marble and decorated with mosaics. An immense marble cenotaph stands at the northern end of the hall above the actual tomb.

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Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalesi)
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5 Tours and Activities

Located atop a hill in the heart of Ankara, the Ankara Citadel, or castle, serves as one of the most recognizable symbol's of Turkey's capital. Visiting the citadel is more than just seeing the impressive structure, with its 14-16 m (46-53 ft) high walls. A journey inside the citadel also provides you with a look at what ancient Turkey might have looked like.

The structures within and around the castle serve as some of the oldest authentic examples of traditional Turkish architecture. Although no one know for sure exactly how old the citadel is, its foundations were thought to have been laid by Galatians nearly 3,000 years ago. Inside the citadel, many of the old houses have been restored and converted into restaurants, creating the atmosphere of an ancient Anatolian village. The local people still live as if in a traditional Turkish town. As you wander along the narrow winding streets, you'll often see women beating and sorting through skeins of wool.

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Aslanhane Mosque (Aslanhane Camii)

Built in 1290, the ancient Aslanhane Mosque, also known as Aslanhane Camii or the Lion's Den Mosque, is the largest in Ankara. A must-see due to its stunning architecture and rich mosaics, Aslanhane Mosque serves as one of the oldest relics located within the Ankara Citadel, giving you a flavor for ancient Turkey. Its intricate wooden roof is supported by 24 large wood columns.

Previously called Arslanhane, which translates to "The House of Lions," the mosque garnered this name because of the numerous lion statues surrounding it. To this day, the structure is still sometimes referred to as the "Lion's Den Mosque."

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Temple of Augustus and Rome

Built in 10 AD by the Galatian King Pylamenes as a tribute and sign of his fidelity to the Roman Emperor Augustus, the Temple of Augustus and Rome, also known as Monumentum Ancyranum, reminds visitors of Turkey's connections to ancient Rome. Though largely in ruins, the temple has a stoic beauty that transports visitors back to the archaic times of 2,000 years ago. The Temple of Augustus is especially famous for the inscription of the "Res Gestae Divi Augusti" (The Deeds of the Divine Augustus) on its walls.

According to legend, Augustus wrote this text before his death and ordered it to be inscribed on walls of important buildings throughout the Roman empire. The edition on these walls is the most complete version that still exists today. The text gives a first person account of Augustus's life and accomplishments, and reveals how he hoped to convey himself to his subjects.

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