Oot & Aboot in Ankara

The old citadel neighborhood of Ulus (I think)

The old citadel neighborhood of Ulus (I think)

July 14, 2009: Ankara, Turkey

As I set out to explore Ankara over the next 3 days, here’re two great facts reported in the July 12th edition of the Daily News (so it must be true!):

  • Turkey has the lowest crime rate of any European country.
  • Ankara is the continent’s most secure capital city.

Given these stats, no need for me to pretend I’m Canadian. In fact, I have to admit, the little I’ve seen of the city, this is one safe and clean place! No litter and wide open avenues. Although I guess you would expect that from a modern and completely constructed, a la Brasilia, capitol. Modern Ankara is only about 50 years old.

I set out to explore this 5 decades of growth by hoofing it around 3 neighborhoods all situated along Ataturk Boulevard:

Kocatepe Camii, a modern-era mosque, in trendy Kizilay

Kocatepe Camii, a modern-era mosque, in trendy Kizilay
The swandy up-town neighborhood of Kavaklidere

The swandy up-town neighborhood of Kavaklidere
My type of lunch! (eaten about 5:00 pm)

My type of lunch! (eaten about 5:00 pm)


Home of the old citadel that was re-build in the 9th century.  I’m not sure I even made it here but *I think so.* I just started walking for about 5 hours and ended up in some place that looked kinda old. Perhaps I should pop for a proper city tour…


Supposedly the bohemian, student section, filled with cafes and cheap shops. This area, I definitely found. Very cool scene full of cafes, bars, whatnot. I had to pass by the gigantic mosque to get there (weirdly there’s an entire shopping center under the mosque, complete with a modern supermarket and dry cleaner).


This is fancy, up-town part, with the five-star hotels and restaurants and home to the embassy district. Ok, Ok I’ll admit it. I’m staying at the Hilton for this first bit – definitely not my usual type of digs.

The shopping is pretty fabulous.
I bought a purple bikini (20 Turkish Lira / US$ 12ish) in anticipation of next week’s sun and sand adventure.

I also had a pretty killer lunch. Yum! Walking around aimlessly was great. I didn’t look at my map until I was about half-way home, just to make sure I was actually heading in the right direction. My innate sense of direction is surprising good, so it was fun to get a little lost and snake my way back home.


On tap for tomorrow: a trip to the hamami – better known as a Turkish spa – oh baby, here I come!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 and is filed under Europe.

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