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Reading list | Ankara

Ankara can justifiably take pride in both its past and its present achievements. It has been Turkey's capital since the founding of the Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose mausoleum and cermonial plaza surrounded by Peace Park is hard to miss. The Column of Julian, dating from 362AD is from Roman Ancyra, the fortress walls are Byzantine and traditional houses from Ottoman Angora can be seen inside the citadel, some of them now restaurants. Cornucopia devoted 26 pages to the Turkish capital in Issue 47 and author Patricia Daunt thought it high time more visitors made their way here. The Museum of Anatolian Civilisations is aso inside the Citadel, housed in a fine caravanserai and containing an unrivalled Hittite collection. A well furnished ethnographic museum opposite the opera house is one of more than three dozen museums in the city. Four concert halls and the home of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet make the city a cultural centre, and vistors may even want to glimpse the new Presidential Palace, which is said to be 30 times the size of the White House with around 250 rooms. For a more traditional take on the city, there is Suluhan, a caravanserai from the 16th or 17th centuries, now shops in the Hacıdoğan district of small commercial premises.  

Ankara now has a population of around 5 million, but before becoming Turkey's capital, it was a quiet, small town, known for its Angora goat wool and its rabbits. A sense of this time can be seen in the photographic book of  John Henry Haynes. Taken in 1884 they include  pictures of the Temple of Augustus, the column of Julian and the Byzantine fortress.    

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