Whilst Ankara existed long before the Turks settled in Turkey..... Alexander captured it on his way through....by the time Attaturk chose it as his centre of operations for the wars to depose the sultans and then fight the war of independence against the Greeks, it was a very run down affair with mud streets, called Angora. After his successes, he eschewed Istanbul with all its connections to the Byzantines and the Ottomans and moved the capital to the newly named Ankara in 1923. . There is a very small old town and ancient fortifications with stunning views around but the city is fantastic and deserved more than the day we spent there. We started at the Attaturk mausoleum which has to be one of the most imposing ones of its type. Simple but magnificent and we saw many wreath laying ceremonies by both small any large groups.....many children....the museum dedicated to his life and achievements was awe inspiring and the galleries depicting WW1 and esp. Gallipoli were tremendous. Top spot. A couple of museums......wonderful roman tablets & friezes -....nice lunch apart from the absence of alcohol to drink,
it being Muslim....mooch about the city centre and then to the largest shopping mall we've ever seen. There was a supermarket in there but it took 20 mins to find it and panic had set in as we only had 40 mins. Everybody desperate to stock up on beer as supplies running dangerously low... This place was
enormous and packed on 4 floors.
Turkey has a young population....50% under 25 and average age 28. Its also self sufficient , growing and supplying all it needs. It also has the oil & gas pipelines from Russia, Georgia, Iran & Iraq as it is considered a stable regime. I'm very impressed with turkey. Ankara is a stunningly vibrant city, reminding us both of Tokyo looking exceedingly prosperous.
Sunday, 26 May 2013