Citadel information

Ankara , Turkey
Getting there
Metro: Ulus
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The imposing hisar is the most interesting part of Ankara to poke about in. This well-preserved quarter of thick walls and intriguing winding streets took its present shape in the 9th century AD, when the Byzantine emperor Michael II constructed the outer ramparts. The inner walls date from the 7th century.

After you've entered Parmak Kapısı , the main gate, and passed through a gate to your left, you'll see Alaettin Camii on the left. The citadel mosque dates from the 12th century, but has been extensively rebuilt. To your right a steep road leads to a flight of stairs that leads to the Şark Kulesi , with panoramic city views. Although it's much harder to find, a tower to the north, Ak Kale (White Fort), also offers fine views.

Inside the citadel local people still live as they would in a traditional Turkish village, and you'll see women beating and sorting skeins of wool. Broken column drums, bits of marble statuary and inscribed lintels are incorporated into the walls.

At the time of research a major renovation project was underway to tart the citadel up. The project will take a few years to complete, but already there were mumblings from some quarters about how the newly gentrified citadel was losing the ramshackle character that gave it its charm (a certain dirty, run-down charm, but charm all the same). Others, though, say much the opposite. You decide for yourself….