TURKEY : The capital  ANKARA

Ankara is the official capital of Turkey. In 1920 it was a rather sleepy provincial town with about 30.000 inhabitants. Nowadays, it's Turkey proud capital with a total of three million people. Ankara is the administrative center of the country. Here are all the government buildings surrounded by the offices and embassies of foreign powers. There are different Colleges and a university. Most of the important companies in the world have a branch here. Therefore, Ankara is a city of business men and diplomats. Of course, cities with a European appeal like Ankara attract the pour country people, who come here in search of happiness and good fortune. The result of this evolution can be seen in the many slum areas (geçekondus) that stretch around Ankara.

The urban developers have left the old fortification hill untouched. Around the hill lies the old Osman town where the chickens still scatter about and where elderly ladies still sweep de sidewalk in front of their little wooden houses. A few hundred meters away from here, modern hotel towers point skywards, a view that would befit soaps such as Dynasty or Dallas. This strange combination of two different worlds is very illustrative for the identity crisis that strikes the Turkish nation. The modern and progressive Ankara embodies the Turkish dream, whereas the old city around the fortification shows the country's traditional roots, from which it doesn't want and cannot detach itself.

As a modern metropolis, Ankara has not that much to offer to today's visitors. Nevertheless, the city can be an ideal starting point for a trip to Cappadocia and beyond. Also, the city's splendid museum of Anatolian civilizations serves as a perfect introduction to what lies beyond Ankara. The Atatürk Mausoleum bears testimony to the spirit of the Turkish nation. Nobody needs to feel he's loosing his time in Ankara.


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