Ancyra (Ankara)





View of the city from the citadel  

The exact etymological origin of the name Ankara is not known. Pausanias reports that King Midas found an anchor at this place and then founded the city as Ankyra (Greek for anchor).
Stephanos of Byzantium claimed that the Galatians had brought an anchor from Egypt after the victory as a war trophy in the fight against the Ptolemies and immortalized this name in the city name when the city was founded. Coins with an anchor motif are known.

On the other hand, there are indications that the city name has been used in a similar form since the Phrygians or even the Hittites and was later transformed into Ancyra by the Greeks. Similarly, in the Islamic period of Ankara, the thesis was put forward that the city name Engürü at that time originated from the Persian word for grape (engûr), which referred to the lush wine-growing regions around Ankara.

On 28 March 1930, the capital was given the official name Ankara, instead of the Latin alphabet Angora, which had previously been used by Europeans and in trade with Europeans. The Turkish name forms were Engüriye, Engürü or Engüri; earlier name forms were (Old) Greek Ankyra, Latin Ancyra, Arabic Anḳira and Anḳuriyya or Ḳalʿat al-Salāsil.

View of the city from the citadel  

Originally a flourishing Phrygian settlement on the Persian Royal Road, it became the centre of the Celtic tribe of the Galatians, who settled in Asia Minor around 230 BC. In 189 BC Ancyra was occupied by Gnaeus Manlius Vulso, but remained under regional rule.
In 25 BC it became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia. The temple of Augustus, the Roman baths and the Julian Column have been preserved from that time. At the division of the Roman Empire after the death of Emperor Theodosius I in 395, the city fell to the Eastern Roman Empire, later called the Byzantine Empire, and belonged to it until 1073.
The impressive fortification walls of the citadel and the church built into the temple of Augustus date back to the Byzantine period, of which the apse and the small crypt are still preserved. Translated with

With the final victory of the troops led by Kemal Atatürk in the Turkish Liberation War, Ankara was declared the capital because of its location in central Anatolia and in deliberate demarcation from the Ottoman capital Istanbul in the run-up to the proclamation of the republic on 13 October 1923.
As the representative capital of the young republic, the infrastructure first had to be provided. The city had been largely destroyed by a fire in 1917, the surrounding area was marshy (malaria was a major problem) and there was also a steady influx of people. In eight years (1920-1928) the population quadrupled from 25,000 to 100,000.
The new concept was largely based on German architects, so the basic urban planning was based on a plan developed by Carl Christoph Lörcher for 1924-1925, which was, however, reevaluated in the further course due to a stronger influx and redesigned by Hermann Jansen, who had been in Turkish service since 1929, in the so-called "Jansen Plan".
Clemens Holzmeister built the parliament building, several ministries and court buildings as well as a villa for Atatürk.

The Temple of Roma and Augustus  
The Temple of Roma and Augustus  

The building was originally erected in the 2nd century BC as a temple to the Phrygian deities Men and Kybele. After Ancyra became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia in 25 B.C., the temple was rebuilt and dedicated to the cult of the Roman city goddess Roma and deified Augustus.

In the 6th century AD it was rededicated as a church by the Byzantines. The floor of the interior was lowered, the wall between Cella and Rückhalle was replaced by an apse and three windows were built into the southeast wall. In 1427/28 the Hacıbayram Mosque was built at the north-west corner of the temple, whereupon the temple was used as a medrese.



Built in Corinthian order, the temple faces northeast and measures about 36 × 55 metres. It stood on a two metre high podium with eight steps. In front of the narrow side there were 8 columns and 15 on the long side. Additionally there were four columns in front of the Pronaos (vestibule) in the southwest and two columns in front of the Opisthodom.
From the Pronaos a decorated portal led into the Cella (interior), which was one metre higher and accessible via four steps. The windowless room reserved for the priests probably contained a cult image.
Today only the side walls of the Cella, 32.5 metres long and almost 12 metres high, have survived. The Latin version of the inscription can be read on the preserved south-eastern inner wall of the pronaos, the Greek version is on the south-eastern outer wall of the cella. The letters of the document were originally coloured.

The Column of Julian


The Column of Julian  

The so-called Julian column (Jülian Sütunu) is a stone column in the park Hükümet Meydanı. It is located in the district Ulus.
The column is 15 m high, horizontal fluted; also called Belkıs-Minarett. It was erected in 362 AD by order of the Roman Emperor Julian (Flavius Claudius Iulianus).


The Column of Julian  
The Roman Baths of Ancyra


The Roman bath from the time of the emperor Caracalla (211-217), lies in the historical center of Ankara. It was built on a flat settlement hill, which today rises about 2.5 metres above the road.


On the Palaestra in front of the baths  



Today's entrance to the site is to the east. From there, one first enters the square of the Palaestra, which occupied approximately 80 × 80 metres. The practice area was surrounded on all four sides by porticoes with 32 columns each. These were six metres high, had Corinthian capitals and bore an architrave with inscriptions. Statues were probably erected in the eastern entrance area, two rooms each in the north and south could have been libraries or reading rooms.
Today the Palaestra is used as an open-air museum in which numerous steles, inscriptions, capitals and other architectural fragments from the urban area of Ankara are displayed.



The Roman Baths  



To the west is the actual bathing building with a floor area of 80 × 130 metres. In the entrance area there is a former covered exercise room, an apodyterium and a frigidarium with swimming pool. Behind it are the Tepidarium (warm water bath), also with a pool, as well as the Caldarium (hot water area) and various ancillary and technical rooms. Apart from the foundation walls, little of the rooms is preserved, but the round brick columns of the Hypocaust underfloor heating can be seen well everywhere.

In the north of the Palaestra 17 metres of the Säulenstraße with adjacent shops were excavated, which probably led to the Augustus temple. To the east of Palaestra, near the entrance, there is a Byzantine tomb. The underground tomb was found near Ankara Central Station in 1930 during the construction of an administrative building and moved here. The tomb has two intersecting barrel vaults and dates back to the 3rd/4th century, it has been restored by the Ankara Museum.







The Roman Theatre


The probably originally Hellenistic theatre of Ancyra is located - for a long time degenerated and forgotten - on the left side of the road to the citadel, respectively the museum for Anatolian civilizations.
It was restored during the Roman Empire - probably in the time of Hadrian (117-138) - and adapted to current needs. Following Greek tradition, the cavea leans against a mountain slope, here the fortress hill. The seating stones of the cavea were used to build the citadel, only two of these 40 cm high stone seats remained in the suburbs. It is striking how small the theatre is. It offered space for just 3,000 to 5,000 visitors. The diameter of the orchestra is just 13.2 metres.

Recently, attempts have been made to reconstruct three rows of seats. Only the foundations of the stage house have survived. All in all, the building, which was abandoned for a long time, is still in a miserable condition. But there is hope.
In 2017 / 2018 the theatre was cleaned of rubbish, buildings on the forecourt were demolished and the grounds fenced in. In autumn 2018 there was no direct access for tourists. The junkies who had been there until then had to look for new places of retreat.

The Citadel


The citadel of Ankara was already built by the Hittites as a military garrison. It is situated on a 978 m high hill in the northern part of the present centre of Ankara.
Over the centuries, the castle has been used by different peoples and empires. When the Galatians appeared in Anatolia in 278 BC, they made Ankara their capital. During this time the citadel was extended to two parts of the city (inner and outer city). Of the former twenty towers of the outer city, only a few remain today. The walls of the inner city, on the other hand, have been well preserved to this day.

In 25 BC Ancyra became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia. During the Roman rule the citadel was used as an army camp.
During the division of the Roman Empire after the death of Emperor Theodosius I in 395, the city fell to the Eastern Roman Empire, which was later called the Byzantine Empire. The impressive fortification walls, in which spoils of Roman origin, including column drums and gravestones, were used, date from this period.

Entrance to the Citadel  
Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others