You can spot Ankara's
lofty Citadel (Hisar,
Kale) from any point in the
city with a clear view (map).
This was the original town, with foundations
no doubt dating to Hittite times
about 3000 years ago.
The outer walls you see now were built
in the 800s by the Byzantine emperor
II. The inner keep (iç kale) walls
survive from the 600s.
You enter from an irregular plaza
on which you'll find the Çengel
Han Rahmi M Koç Museum,
and Gözcu Sokak going west downhill to the
of Anatolian Civilisations.
and, in the other direction, to the
Ahi Serafettin Mosque and Tomb (Arslanhane
Enter the Hisar through the Finger
Gate (Parmak Kapısı),
also called the Clock Gate
Kapı) because of the public
clock on the white octagonal tower.
After passing through the portal,
a good restaurant, the Zenger
Pasa Konağı, on
the left just beyond the small plaza.
The area within the walls, surprisingly,
is a Turkish village—right here
in the very heart of Turkey's sprawling
modern capital city. Not much has changed
in the Citadel for centuries.
of old marble sarcophagi or
fountains incorporated into
Walk straight from the gate up Kalekapısı
reach the Asmalı
the Angora House Hotel,
and the Kınacı
Restaurant. Opposite the Kınacı
note the row of marble sarcophagi or
fountains, column drums, and bits of
other ancient stonework
(some inscribed) that were incorporated
into the keep walls by later builders.
Walk up past the Kınacı Restaurant
and turn left to enter the stone
one with the bits of sarcophagus in
its walls). If the And Café is
open, climb up to its terrace at
the top of the tower for
spectacular views of the northern parts
small mosque in the Citadel,
the Sultan Alaaddin Camii,
was originally built in 1178,
but has been repaired and restored
many times since.
Keep walking ever upward to a
flight of concrete stairs
leading to the Şark Kulesi (SHARK
koo-leh-see, Eastern Tower), from which there
is a panoramic view of
the Turkish capital, as there is also from the
Ak Kale (AHK kah-leh, White Fortress),
the northern tower in the walls.
Along with your visit to the Citadel
you should plan a visit to the nearby
of Anatolian Civilisations,
perhaps to the Çengel
Han Rahmi M Koç Museum and
the Ahi Serafettin
Mosque (Aslanhane Camii, 1290).
—by Tom Brosnahan
Parmak Kapısı (Finger
Gate) into the Citadel in
Below, within the walls
is a Turkish village.