What to see and to do in Ankara, Turkey

Ankara is the second largest city after Istanbul in Turkey. Most tourists start their travels in Turkey from Istanbul and other tourist sites. Of course, many travelers skip the capital city thinking there is nothing to see. However, I think it's worth a visit. Here are a few things you can do if you plan to go to Ankara:

The mausoleum for the former Turkish leader, Ataturk, is really huge and impressive. Honor guards stand still like wax statues. Plan to spend about 1-2 hours to walk around, and visit the museum where you can learn about the beginning years of the modern Turkish Republic. The museum offers 4 sections where you can take pictures of art and exhibitions.

Museum of Anatolian Civilization
To enter the museum, you have to go through a check point where a security guard will check you and your belongings (pretty normal there actually).  The ticket costs 29 Lira /$8 per person. In the Anatolian Civilization museum, there are a number of exhibits featuring Anatolian archeology. My favorite exhibit showcased Hacilar Ceramics.

Kocatepe Camii
The largest mosque in Ankara is located in the center of the city. We visited the mosque closer to the evening, when no one was in there. We had the chance to walk around and enjoy a peaceful moment to ourselves. You will be fascinated by the modern architecture of the mosque. The rules didn't seem particularly strict. Men and women walked around, and young people reclined on the floor, gazing at their smart phone screens.

Ankara Citadel
In case you plan to take a cab to the castle, make sure to use a map or say to the taxi driver "Hisar" or "Ankara Kale." Most taxi drivers don't speak English. Make sure to know a few phrases in Turkish. We arrived to the citadel earlier in the morning, wandered in the twisting streets of the old neighborhood, and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city. I believe it is the most beautiful view of the city.

Haci Bayram Mosque
It was built during the Ottoman Empire period. I didn't have the chance to see the mosque inside, because when we came, it was during prayers hours. But before you enter the mosque compound, you have to go through a security check point.  Then you can sit at restaurants and enjoy some delicious Turkish cuisine. After the prayers were over, my husband ventured inside to check things out and discreetly snap a few pics.