Ankara Castle is a monument of the city and current capital of Turkey. The exact details of the build are unknown; however, it is thought to have been built after the destruction of Ankara by the Persians around 622. The build is said to have been built by using reused masonry, a form of ancient recycling.
The architecture uses common concentric rings that were common in the fortress for defence, with the inner line of the wall with closely spaced towers with an outer line of walls with towers approximately 40 metres apart.
When you’re done with the museum, it would be smart to make the most of its location by wandering to the imposing hisar (citadel or Ankara Kalesi) just up the hill. By far the most interesting part of Ankara to poke about in, this well-preserved quarter of thick walls and intriguing winding streets took its present shape in the 9th century AD, when the Byzantine emperor Michael II constructed the outer ramparts. The inner walls, which the local authority is slowly rebuilding, date from the 7th century.
To find it, head around the back of the museum up Gözcü Sokak, past the octagonal tower, then turn left to enter through the Parmak Kapısı (Finger Gate), also called the Saatli Kapı (Clock Gate).
Just opposite this gate, in the old Çengelhan, the new Rahmi M Koç Industrial Museum (Rahmi M Koç Müzesi; www.rmk-museum.org.tr; adult/child €1.70/0.70; h10am-5pm Tue-Fri, 10am-7pm Sat & Sun) is perfect for kids (and adults) who prefer a hands-on approach to staring at a bunch of pots behind glass, and has slightly less emphasis on transport than its original branch in İstanbul.
Walk straight ahead once you’ve entered the gate and you’ll see, on your left, the citadel mosque, the Alaettin Camii, which dates from the 12th century but has been extensively rebuilt. To your right a steep road leads to a flight of stairs taking you up to the Şark Kulesi (Eastern Tower), with panoramic city views. Although it’s much harder to find, the tower at the north, Ak Kale (White Fort), also offers fine views. If you’re coming up to the citadel along Hisarparkı Caddesi, look left about half- way up to see the remains of a Roman theatre from around 200 to 100 BC.
Inside the citadel local people still live as in a traditional Turkish village, and you’ll see women beating and sorting skeins of wool in the gaps between the inevitable carpet shops. As you wander about, you’ll notice broken column drums, bits of marble statuary and inscribed lintels all incorporated into the mighty walls.
There are no fewer than 14 restaurants inside the citadel, most done out in traditional Ottoman style; for more details. The streets just outside the Parmak Kapısı are also great places to browse for antiques.