Where do rich people live in Ankara

Travel Write

Ankara lives in the shadow of the tourist magnet Istanbul. Only educational and business travelers visit the booming metropolis in the heart of Anatolia. In 2013 there is a reason to catch up: Ankara has been the capital of Turkey for 90 years.

As a multi-lane ribbon, the expressway from the airport to the city cuts through a gentle hilly landscape, rich yellow from the sun-bleached grass. Then suddenly dozens of residential towers in red, yellow, pink, blue and green protrude from the steppe, closely gathered in a valley or widely scattered on the slope.

“Ankara is growing too fast. We need apartments, ”says Nejdet, who guides tourists through Ankara. 4.3 million inhabitants are officially registered, six million people actually live here. The apartment blocks are being built by the state housing fund Toplu Konut Idaresi Başkanlığı (TOKI), which has been transforming the image of cities in Turkey since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's election victory of the “Party for Justice and Recovery” (AKP).

Building boom & old legacy

While TOKI is moving ten-story residential silos into the steppe at a rapid pace, old Ankara is shrinking. Where Phrygians, Galatians, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans settled since the 5th century BC, only a few traces of ancient Ankyra are preserved today. They are united in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi).

With selected pieces, it stages the cultural heritage from classical antiquity to the Ottoman Empire: the 9,000-year-old fertility statuette of Venus of Çatalhöyük, bronze sun discs and deer standards from the princely graves of Alacahöyük, Hittite cuneiform tablet from Hattuša, stone reliefs with scenes from Gilgamesh and replicas of the large sculptures Fasıllar.

New life in old walls

A little further, Mustafa Koç shows how the historical legacy can be revived and preserved. His grandfather Vehbi Koç, founder of the Koç Holding Durable Consumer Goods Group, had worked his way up to the richest man in the country with lightbulbs, gas, automobiles and tin cans. His grandson bought the old Ottoman Çengelhan inn in 2005.

The hostel at the main entrance to the citadel, built in 1523, was dilapidated: flames had gnawed at the dark timber frame and white plaster, window panes were missing, the tiled roof was defective. The restoration took two and a half years. Today holds Çengelhan not only Ankara's first industrial museum, but also one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in the city center.

In the glass-roofed inner courtyard, the tables are set for the "meze" at lunchtime, the seemingly endless sequence of deliciously filled bowls with minced meat pockets, aubergine puree, tomato and cucumber salad, mini börek, filled grape leaves, kofte and semolina cakes soaked in sugar juice for dessert. The lute sounds of the "Saz" sound softly from loudspeakers. Silence lies above the hall, light years away, and yet in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the old town at the foot of the fortress.

Refurbishment and demolition

Now, in the early afternoon, students in uniform are rushing through the main gate into the inner ring of the fortress, home to low houses, to which women in headscarves carry the charcoal in green plastic sacks. Many of the winding streets are construction sites, and the renovation of the impoverished slum is in full swing. The route of the tourists up to the citadel is lined with souvenir shops with scarves, T-shirts and other textiles.

“Good bag, 30 lira”, shout the women who crochet bags for him in the shade of the wall, string pearls or bend silver jewelry. “Only 20 lira for you!” Next to the goods on the wall there is a small samovar, fired with a few twigs.

The planned Moloch

While Ankara initially looked like a sprawled Moloch, a metropolis of loosely connected quarters, the view from the wall of the citadel (Ankara Kalesi) teaches us better. From a height of 978 m, the city shows structure, axes and districts their functions. This Ankara is the vision carved in stone of a man who is five kilometers as the crow flies on the hill Anıttepe: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Ataturk's model city

In 1923 the officer became the first president of the Turkish Republic. Ataturk made the small town at the intersection of the second caravan route the control center of the 814,000 square meter country and model of the new Turkey: secular and western. An architect who had already planned Greater Berlin was supposed to chisel the farewell to the caliphate in stone: Hermann Jansen.

The 60-year-old urban planner made the fortress the crown of the city and divided the city into zones for government quarters, foreign embassies and legations, universities, work and living, connected by Ataturk Boulevard, surrounded by a green belt.

Monumentally staged myth

To establish identity - for religious reasons it had never existed in Turkey before - monuments were erected for the first time that only knew one subject: propaganda for Ataturk, who was already stylized as a personification of the state during his lifetime. The Ataturk myth reaches its climax at Anıtkabir, the monumental mausoleum for Mustafa Kemal. 42 steps lead up to the hall of honor.

Nowhere is the deep admiration for the "father of the Turks" felt as here: preschoolers, families, business people, military, even young bridal couples pay him reference and lay flowers in front of the empty sarcophagus - the bones of the founder of the state rest in the underneath Burial chamber. "Twelve million people visit this enormous facility every year!" Says Nejdet, who guard the soldiers of the armed forces around the clock in front of polished glass cases.

Inspired by life

“We do not get our inspiration from heaven or an unknown power, but directly from life,” Atatürk was convinced, and in today's Ankara this pulsates in quarters like Hamamönüwhere 250 houses were demolished and rebuilt, 33 were completely renovated in the Ottoman style. Markets, masjids and mosques bring the vibrant atmosphere that made the district famous around 1920 to life again.

Stroll in Kavaklıdere

This worked so well that Hamamönü was awarded the title of “Selected Destinations in Europe 2011”. But even the locals hardly take notice of the newly crowned trendy district. They are drawn to Tunalı Hilmi Caddesi, the shopping and strolling street in the heart of Kavaklıdere, where hawkers sell “Simit” sesame rings, the cayci (tea carrier) carries Turkish tea across the street into the shops and Kumpir potato snacks with bars and cafes compete, which are open until late at night.

Mandatory headscarves, as Erdoğan enforced for his family, or the state ban on alcohol, which the prime minister would like to extend to private businesses, are not an issue here: restaurants like the House Café on the Nenehatun would also be a hot spot in any Western European metropolis.


Anakra: tips and information


For example with SunExpress (www.sunexpress.com/de/tuerkei/ankara) - the subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa flies to Ankara in around 3.5 hours.


Mövenpick Hotel Ankara ”in the up-and-coming business district Söğütözü, double room / F from 120 euros, www.moevenpick-ankara.com, boutique hotelDivan Cukurhan “at the foot of the citadel, DR / F from 130 euros, www.divan.com.tr.


Most of the restaurants serve traditional regional cuisine; the popular Çadir Kebap House serves meze, kebab and cigköfte. The Çengelhan Brasserie in the Çengelhan Brasserie proves that Turkish home cooking is definitely capable of soaring Divan Cukurhan. In-hangout with gourmet cuisine and fruity cocktails is The House Café.


Turkish Tourist Office, Baseler Str. 35-37, 60329 Frankfurt, Tel. 069/23 30 81 82, www.goturkey.com

This article was published in the media of the WELT group in 2013. It later appeared in a slightly different form in the online travel magazine www.schwarzaufweiss.de.

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90 yearsAnatoliaAnkaraAtaturkTurkey