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Ankara Travel Guide

Ankara History

The history of Ankara begins in the pre-historic times. There are evidences found on the digs at the southwest of the city at Ahlatlibel and Koçumbeli showing that Ankara was inhabited during the Bronze Age by the Hatti civilisation. About 2000 BC the Hittities has occupied the city and called Ankara with the name Ankuwash. After the Hittities, were the Phrygians who occupied the region of Ankara in 1000 B.C. According to the legend the King Midas heard a voice in his dream and ordered him to build a big city where he found a big anchor on his land. Days after the king found it at a hill where Ankara Kalesi stands today, and begun to build a new city there called Ancyra. Under the Phrygians reign Ankara grew in size and importance, experiencing a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, the capital of Phrygia, after an earthquake which severely damaged that city in antiquity.

Following the Phrygians sovereignty, Lydians and then the Persians were whose reign the city. After, the region was under the sovereignty of Macedonian King Alexander the Great who conquered the city in 333 BC, and has again an important trade center. After Alexander’s death his empire were divided and Ankara fell into the share of Antigonus.

In 278 BC, the city was occupied by the Celtics race of Galatians, who have been migrated from Europe to Anatolia and who were the first to make Ankara one of their main tribal centres, the headquarters of the 'Tectosage' tribe called Ancyra.

The Roman Emperor Augustus conquest to Galatians in 25 BC and Ankara has been the capital of Roman State Galat. The town was re-named to "Sebaste" and Augustus had built a temple to his name: Augustus Tapinagi. During the reign of Augustus Ancyra showed a very fast development and became an important military base where the emperors and armies rest during the eastern wars. The city had its gorgeous period in the 2nd century A.D. by expanding its borders from the Castle to today's Kizilay.

Ancyra under the Roman Empire, with the spread of Christianity in the mid-4th century became an important religious center. In 395 with the division of the Roman Empire the city became a part of East Roman Empire. Beginning from the 7th century Arabian attacks ruined Ankara Kalesi several times and restored by Roman Emperors. And then Ancyra under the sovereignty of Byzantine Empire had a calmer period until 11th century.

In the second half of the 3rd century, Ancyra was invaded in rapid succession by the Goths coming from the west and later by the Arabs. After a short period under foreign dominations, the town was reincorporated into the Roman Empire under the Emperor Aurelian in 272.

In 1071, Seljuk Sultan Alparslan defeated the Byzantine Army in Malazgirt and in 1073 Ankara was taken by Turks. Later the city has been under the Mogul invasion and at last had been a city of Ottoman Empire in 1356 and Ankara was the field of Ankara War in 1402 between Timur and Sultan Yildirim Bayezit that was ended with the defeat of Ottoman army.

Following World War I, Ankara was elected as the base of the Ataturk’s resistance forces during the Independece War and its fight against the Greek invasion. After gained the independence and the Ottoman Empire were defeated, Ataturk declared Ankara as the Capital of the new Republic and begun to develop fast since then.

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