A visit to the nation's capital.
28.04.2013 - 28.04.2013 30 °C
I haven't mentioned our tour guide - his name is Recep (pronounced Reechep). He is a knowledgeable, humble and friendly man with a good sense of humour. He's going to be great.
Recep rounded us up at 8am this morning, with our bags already collected and on the bus. We took off out of the city in an easterly direction - heading towards Ankara.
What a beautiful day it is - around 26 degrees and beautifully sunny. The further east we are travelling the more the pollution is receding. It's mountainous and green out here. We've stopped for morning tea and lunch at roadside cafes. Unlike our time in Egypt where we ate mainly western food, here we've had the opportunity to eat traditional Turkish fare - love it. It's very easy to eat vegetarian - and it's delicious!
We arrived in Ankara around mid afternoon. Ankara is the capital of Turkey and is much smaller than Istanbul - the population here is around 5 million people. It seems bigger to me, buildings and apartments are everywhere and way off in to the distance - built right up into the hills.
Ankara is the home of the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations - Turkey's most outstanding museum. On display are ancient Hittite clay sculptures, Bronze Age treasures to name just two. What really impressed me was a display of ancient jewellery that has been given back to the museum by the Americans (good on you USA!). It is dated back to 3000BC to 2000BC - which make the pieces almost 5000 years old. Beautiful - and in perfect condition.
Our next tourist stop in this city was the Mausoleum for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Affectionately known by the Turks as Mustafa Kemal, this man was a visionary - who liberated Turkey, setting Turkey on the road to becoming a modern state. If not for this man, Turkey could so easily have become another Syria, Iraq, Iran or similar. He was blonde haired and blue eyed and was just 170 cm tall. He was also a heavy smoker and drinker, and sadly - died at age 52 or scerosis of the liver. A great loss to this country.
The Mausoleum displays the respect that the Turkish people have for this man. It is very impressive.
From here we checked in to our hotel - very comfortable - but the air conditioning has not yet been turned on for the summer (it's unseasonally warm at the moment). So we experienced a hot night with just a fan blowing warmish air. No harm done!