Ankara historically known as Ancyra and Angora is the capital of Turkey, situated on the bank of river Kizil. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban centre (2014) and 5,150,072 in its province (2015), it is Turkey's second largest city after Istanbul (the former imperial capital), having outranked İzmir in the 20th century. Ankara covers an area of 24,521 km2 (9,468 sq mi).
On 23 April 1920 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established in Ankara, which became the headquarters of Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence. Ankara became the new Turkish capital upon the establishment of the Republic on 29 October 1923, succeeding in this role the former Turkish capital Istanbul (Constantinople) following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The government is a prominent employer, but Ankara is also an important commercial and industrial city, located at the centre of Turkey's road and railway networks. The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat (the source of mohair), and the Angora cat. The area is also known for its pears, honey and muscat grapes. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded mostly by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, at 72 square metres (775 square feet) per head.
Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The historical centre of town is a rocky hill rising 150 m (500 ft) over the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya River, the classical Sangarius. The hill remains crowned by the ruins of the old citadel. Although few of its outworks have survived, there are well-preserved examples of Roman and Ottoman architecture throughout the city, the most remarkable being the 20 bc Temple of Augustus and Rome that boasts the Monumentum Ancyranum, the inscription recording the Res Gestae Divi Augusti.
The oldest settlements in and around the city center of Ankara belonged to the Hattic civilization which existed during the Bronze Age and was gradually absorbed c. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites. The city grew significantly in size and importance under the Phrygians starting around 1000 BC, and experienced a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, (the capital of Phrygia), after an earthquake which severely damaged that city around that time. In Phrygian tradition, King Midas was venerated as the founder of Ancyra, but Pausanias mentions that the city was actually far older, which accords with present archaeological knowledge.
Phrygian rule was succeeded first by Lydian and later by Persian rule, though the strongly Phrygian character of the peasantry remained, as evidenced by the gravestones of the much later Roman period. Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians' defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great who conquered the city in 333 BC. Alexander came from Gordion to Ankara and stayed in the city for a short period. After his death at Babylon in 323 BC and the subsequent division of his empire among his generals, Ankara and its environs fell into the share of Antigonus.
Another important expansion took place under the Greeks of Pontos who came there around 300 BC and developed the city as a trading center for the commerce of goods between the Black Sea ports and Crimea to the north; Assyria, Cyprus, and Lebanon to the south; and Georgia, Armenia and Persia to the east. By that time the city also took its name Ἄγκυρα (Ánkyra, meaning anchor in Greek) which, in slightly modified form, provides the modern name of Ankara.
In 278 BC, the city, along with the rest of central Anatolia, was occupied by a Celtic group, the Galatians, who were the first to make Ankara one of their main tribal centers, the headquarters of the Tectosages tribe. Other centers were Pessinos, today's Balhisar, for the Trocmi tribe, and Tavium, to the east of Ankara, for the Tolstibogii tribe. The city was then known as Ancyra. The Celtic element was probably relatively small in numbers; a warrior aristocracy which ruled over Phrygian-speaking peasants. However, the Celtic language continued to be spoken in Galatia for many centuries. At the end of the 4th century, St. Jerome, a native of Dalmatia, observed that the language spoken around Ankara was very similar to that being spoken in the northwest of the Roman world near Trier.
The city was subsequently passed under the control of the Roman Empire. In 25 BC, Emperor Augustus raised it to the status of a polis and made it the capital city of the Roman province of Galatia. Ankara is famous for the Monumentum Ancyranum (Temple of Augustus and Rome) which contains the official record of the Acts of Augustus, known as the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, an inscription cut in marble on the walls of this temple. The ruins of Ancyra still furnish today valuable bas-reliefs, inscriptions and other architectural fragments. Two other Galatian tribal centers, Tavium near Yozgat, and Pessinus (Balhisar) to the west, near Sivrihisar, continued to be reasonably important settlements in the Roman period, but it was Ancyra that grew into a grand metropolis.
An estimated 200,000 people lived in Ancyra in good times during the Roman Empire, a far greater number than was to be the case from after the fall of the Roman Empire until the early 20th century. A small river, the Ankara Çayı, ran through the center of the Roman town. It has now been covered and diverted, but it formed the northern boundary of the old town during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Çankaya, the rim of the majestic hill to the south of the present city center, stood well outside the Roman city, but may have been a summer resort. In the 19th century, the remains of at least one Roman villa or large house were still standing not far from where the Çankaya Presidential Residence stands today. To the west, the Roman city extended until the area of the Gençlik Park and Railway Station, while on the southern side of the hill, it may have extended downwards as far as the site presently occupied by Hacettepe University. It was thus a sizeable city by any standards and much larger than the Roman towns of Gaul or Britannia.
Ancyra's importance rested on the fact that it was the junction point where the roads in northern Anatolia running north–south and east–west intersected, giving it major strategic importance for Rome's eastern frontier. The great imperial road running east passed through Ankara and a succession of emperors and their armies came this way. They were not the only ones to use the Roman highway network, which was equally convenient for invaders. In the second half of the 3rd century, Ancyra was invaded in rapid succession by the Goths coming from the west (who rode far into the heart of Cappadocia, taking slaves and pillaging) and later by the Arabs. For about a decade, the town was one of the western outposts of one of Palmyrean empress Zenobia in the Syrian Desert, who took advantage of a period of weakness and disorder in the Roman Empire to set up a short-lived state of her own.
The town was reincorporated into the Roman Empire under Emperor Aurelian in 272. The tetrarchy, a system of multiple (up to four) emperors introduced by Diocletian (284–305), seems to have engaged in a substantial programme of rebuilding and of road construction from Ankara westwards to Germe and Dorylaeum (now Eskişehir).
In its heyday, Roman Ankara was a large market and trading center but it also functioned as a major administrative capital, where a high official ruled from the city's Praetorium, a large administrative palace or office. During the 3rd century, life in Ancyra, as in other Anatolian towns, seems to have become somewhat militarized in response to the invasions and instability of the town.
The city is well known during the 4th century as a centre of Christian activity (see also below), due to frequent imperial visits, and through the letters of the pagan scholar Libanius. Bishop Marcellus of Ancyra and Basil of Ancyra were active in the theological controversies of their day, and the city was the site of no less than three church synods in 314, 358 and 375, the latter two in favour of Arianism. The city was visited by Emperor Constans I (r. 337–350) in 347 and 350, Julian (r. 361–363) during his Persian campaign in 362, and Julian's successor Jovian (r. 363–364) in winter 363/364 (he entered his consulship while in the city). After Jovian's death soon after, Valentinian I (r. 364–375) was acclaimed emperor at Ancyra, and in the next year his brother Valens (r. 364–378) used Ancyra as his base against the usurper Procopius. When the province of Galatia was divided sometime in 396/99, Ancyra remained the civil capital of Galatia I, as well as its ecclesiastical centre (metropolitan see). Emperor Arcadius (r. 395–408) frequently used the city as his summer residence, and some information about the ecclesiastical affairs of the city during the early 5th century is found in the works of Palladius of Galatia and Nilus of Galatia.
In 479, the rebel Marcian attacked the city, without being able to capture it. In 610/11, Comentiolus, brother of Emperor Phocas (r. 602–610), launched his own unsuccessful rebellion in the city against Heraclius (r. 610–641). Ten years later, in 620 or more likely 622, it was captured by the Sassanid Persians during the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. Although the city returned to Byzantine hands after the end of the war, the Persian presence left traces in the city's archaeology, and likely began the process of its transformation from a late antique city to a medieval fortified settlement.
In 654, the city was captured for the first time by the Arabs of the Rashidun Caliphate, under Muawiyah, the future founder of the Umayyad Caliphate. At about the same time, the themes were established in Anatolia, and Ancyra became capital of the Opsician Theme, which was the largest and most important theme until it was split up under Emperor Constantine V (r. 741–775); Ancyra then became the capital of the new Bucellarian Theme. The city was captured at least temporarily by the Umayyad prince Maslama ibn Hisham in 739/40, the last of the Umayyads' territorial gains from the Byzantine Empire. Ancyra was attacked without success by Abbasid forces in 776 and in 798/99. In 805, Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811) strengthened its fortifications, a fact which probably saved it from sack during the large-scale invasion of Anatolia by Caliph Harun al-Rashid in the next year. Arab sources report that Harun and his successor al-Ma'mun (r. 813–833) took the city, but this information is later invention. In 838, however, during the Amorium campaign, the armies of Caliph al-Mu'tasim (r. 833–842) converged and met at the city; abandoned by its inhabitants, Ancara was razed to the ground, before the Arab armies went on to besiege and destroy Amorium. In 859, Emperor Michael III (r. 842–867) came to the city during a campaign against the Arabs, and ordered its fortifications restored.In 872, the city was menaced, but not taken, by the Paulicians under Chrysocheir. The last Arab raid to reach the city was undertaken in 931, by the Abbasid governor of Tarsus, Thamal al-Dulafi, but the city again was not captured.
After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Seljuk Turks overran much of Anatolia. By 1073, the Turkish settlers had reached the vicinity of Ancyra, and the city was captured shortly after, at the latest by the time of the rebellion of Nikephoros Melissenos in 1081. In 1101, when the Crusade under Raymond IV of Toulouse arrived, the city had been under Danishmend control for some time. The Crusaders captured the city, and handed it over to the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118).Byzantine rule did not last long, and the city was captured by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum at some unknown point; in 1127, it returned to Danishmend control until 1143, when the Seljuks of Rum retook it.
After the Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243, in which the Mongols defeated the Seljuks, most of Anatolia became part of the dominion of the Mongols. Taking advantage of Seljuk decline, a semi-religious cast of craftsmen and trade people named Ahiler chose Angora as their independent city-state in 1290. Orhan I, the second Bey of the Ottoman Empire, captured the city in 1356. Timur defeated Bayezid I at the Battle of Ankara in 1402 and took the city, but in 1403 Angora was again under Ottoman control.
The Levant Company maintained a factory in the town from 1639 to 1768. In the 19th century, its population was estimated at 20,000 to 60,000. It was sacked by Egyptians under Ibrahim Pasha in 1832. Prior to World War I, the town had a British consulate and a population of around 28,000, roughly 1⁄3 of whom were Christian.
Following the Ottoman defeat in World War I, the Ottoman capital Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and much of Anatolia were occupied by the Allies, who planned to share these lands between Armenia, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, leaving for the Turks the core piece of land in central Anatolia. In response, the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Angora in 1920. After the Turkish War of Independence was won and the Treaty of Sèvres was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Turkish nationalists replaced the Ottoman Empire with the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. A few days earlier, Angora had officially replaced Constantinople as the new Turkish capital city, on 13 October 1923, and Republican officials declared that the city's name is Ankara.
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 on Kızılay Square, 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. Ankara has experienced a phenomenal growth since it was made Turkey's capital in 1923, when it was "a small town of no importance". In 1924, the year after the government had moved there, Ankara had about 35,000 residents. By 1927 there were 44,553 residents and by 1950 the population had grown to 286,781. Ankara continued to grow rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century and eventually outranked Izmir as Turkey's second largest city, after Istanbul. Ankara's urban population reached 4,587,558 in 2014, while the population of Ankara Province reached 5,150,072 in 2015.
After 1930, it became known officially in Western languages as Ankara. After the late 1930s the public stopped using the name "Angora
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