Certainly one of Ankara’s most important sights, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic) is an absolutely stunning work of architecture. Gaze admiringly at the imposing structure of marble and travertine, completed in 1953, and visit the beautiful Peace Park, both of which have free admission.
Ankara’s old town is one of its most charming neighborhoods, and you don’t really have to buy anything to enjoy it. Wander around the open-air bazaar set in old Ottoman houses where you can find everything from antiques to carpets and much more. Also, make sure to visit the Pirinç Han, a two-floor arcade filled with lovely antique and vintage shops.
Not far from the old town you’ll find the Ankara Castle, which you can visit without having to pay an entrance fee. Even though the castle’s construction date is unknown, there is plenty of evidence that it witnessed the comings and goings of many empires from the Romans to the Ottomans. The castle is also a great place to watch the sunset, so it’s a good idea to drop by a little bit later in the day.
One of the liveliest neighborhoods in Ankara, Kızılay is a great place to really take in Ankara’s high energy. Browse the many bookstores, stroll down Karanfil Sokak (closed to traffic), and check out Güven Park and the famous Güven Monument completed by Austrian architects in 1935.