Ankara (formerly known as Angora or Enguru, and in the classical period, Ancyra) is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. It is also the capital of Ankara Province. Population is 3,582,000 (2003 census), and a mean elevation of 850 m. ( 2800 ft.)
Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city, as well as the neural center of Turkish Government and houses all the foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the center of Turkey's highway and rail network, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired goats and their wool (Angora wool), a breed of cat (Ankara Cat), pears, honey, muscat grapes, and rabbits.
It is situated upon a steep and rocky hill, which rises 500 ft. above the plain on the left bank of the Enguri Su, a tributary of the Sakaria (Sangarius). The hill is crowned by the ruins of the old citadel, which add to the picturesqueness of the view; but the town was not well built, its streets being narrow and many of its houses constructed of sun-dried mud bricks. There are, however, many fine remains of Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most remarkable being the temple of Rome and Augustus, on the walls of which is the famous Monumentum Ancyranum.
It is home to the Middle East Technical University (METU), Hacettepe University, Ankara University , Gazi Üniversitesi , Bilkent University, among others. The National Library, the Archaeological Museum and the Ethnographical Museum are located in Ankara, and is home to the state theater and the Presidential Philharmonic Orchestra. Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, one of the most important figures in twentieth century history, is also located in Ankara.
After Ankara became the capital of Turkey, new development has divided the city into an old section, called Ulus, and new section, called Yenişehir. Ancient buildings reflecting Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history and narrow winding streets mark the old section. The new section has the trappings of a more modern city: wide streets, hotels, theaters, shopping malls, and high-rises. Government offices and foreign embassies are also located in the new section.
The region's vibrant history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians. After these came the Galatians, a Gaulish race who were the first to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century BC. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning "anchor," one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Gauls. The city subsequently fell to the Romans, and to the Byzantines. Seljuk Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for the Turks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073, he annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory.
Orhan I, second bey of the Ottoman Empire captured the city in 1356. Turkic leader Timur Lenk besieged Ankara as part of his campaign in Anatolia, but in 1403 Ankara was again in the control of the Ottomans.
At the close of World War I, Turkey was under control of the Ottoman sultan and was being invaded by Greek forces. The leader of the Turkish nationalists, Kemal Atatürk established the headquarters of his resistance movement in Ankara in 1919 (See Turkish War of Independence). After the War of Independence, the Ottoman Empire was banished, and Turkey was declared a republic in October 29, 1923. Ankara replaced Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) as the capital of the new republic on October 13, 1923.
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