Roman Ruins in Ankara, Turkey

Ankara was an important Roman town (Ankyra) and has the artifacts to prove it.

The great Temple of Augustus and Rome is now fairly ruined, but still imposing. The Column of Juliancommemorates a visit of that Roman emperor to the city, and ruins of Roman baths remain as well.

All of these remnants are near Ulus Square (Metro: Ulus) in the northern part of the city near the Citadel, which also has bits of Roman history in its walls (map).

Julian Column, Ankara, Turkey

The Column of Julian…

From Ulus Square, with its equestrain statue of Kemal Atatürk as victorious commander of the Turkish Republican armies, walk uphill, then turn left and walk north along a sunken portion of old Roman road to the Column of Julian (362 AD) by the Ankara Vilayet (provincial government headquarters) buildings.

Keep walking uphill, then turn left and climb the stairs to the Hacı Bayram Camii, a popular mosque built beside the tomb of the Muslim saint Hacı Bayram Veli.

Right beside the mosque is theTemple of Augustus and Rome, with several of the high walls of its cella still standing, and bits of fluted column drum scattered through the precinct.

A plaque explains (in Turkish and English) the history of the temple: it was apparently built on the site of an earlier (25-20 BC) temple to the Anatolian fertility goddess Kybele(Cybele) and the Egyptian phallic god Men.

Walk downhill to Çankırı Caddesi, the northern continuation of Atatürk Bulvarı and the main thoroughfare heading north. Cross to the west side and walk north for several blocks to find the extensive remains of Ankara’s Roman baths:

Roman Baths of Caracalla, Ankara, Turkey
Ruins of the Baths of Caracalla in Ankara…

The Temple of Augustus and Rome and the Column of Julian are open all the time, for free. For the Roman baths, there are visiting hours and a small fee.

—by Tom Brosnahan


Museum of Anatolian Civilisations

Ankara Citadel (Hisar)

Atatürk Mausoleum

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