Sunday, April 8, 2018

Explore Ankara guided by Expat Sofra contributor Ilse Naves-Scheidel

Everyone thinks Ankara is a boring place. 

Expat Sofra contributor Ilse Naves Scheidel shows in her guidebook, Ankara City Guide, co-authored with Hein Jan-Keijzer, why Ankara is anything but mundane. 

The capital of Turkey has many hidden gems, and this book shows you how to find them.

Ankara is an intriguing Turkish city, full of traces of rich history. This guide shows you places and stories not yet discovered by hordes of tourists. 

Stories of a Swamp converted into a capital

When Ilse moved to Ankara in 2010, she was told there was "not much to see." Learning Turkish helped open doors to learning more about the city. Partnering with Dutch friend Hein Jan-Keijzer she interviewed locals and those best able to present their hometown, from the melting pot of former days, the vineyards and famous Angora sheep, to the bustling metropolis Ataturk chose for Turkey's new capital. 

Angora wool

Within the city walls     





Roman, Mongol, Seljuk, Ottoman to Ataturk

Just to name a few of those groups, empires, and people who saw the value of Ankara. Also include Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks and Byzantines, all of whom left traces that can still be detected today. Check out the Greek and Roman text inside the city walls. Stones from antique temples and cities were used to make these fortifications, some put upside down, perhaps an attempt to make them insignificant? We find it adds to the allure. 

Roman Inscriptions    

Not to far away from the fortress is another unique piece of history, the original text of Emperor Augustus' will. The original version on the mausoleum in Rome did not survive, so this is the only one to exist in the world that we know of. Written just before his death, it was sent to the four corners of the Roman Empire telling of his achievements. It is the earliest known distribution of propaganda. 

Carved into the temple of Augustus, the ruins of which currently make up a wall of the Haci Bayram Mosque. A perfect illustration of how the past and present merge and intertwine.  

City Guide

Want to know more? This city guide, created by expats, can help you find the hidden gems in this often-overlooked city. If you love Turkey but have been hesitant to give Ankara a chance, let Ilse's book convince you to give it a try. You won't be disappointed! 

View of the Kocatepe Mosque 

Ankara City Guide is available in most Turkish bookstores, as well as online through Arkadas Publishing, or Amazon (within Europe). You can also e mail directly to order a copy.