Nearly every city has a central landmark or two that tower above the rest. Quite often they are symbolic of the city and they are almost always essential as a fixture for navigation. Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalisi in Turkish) is one such landmark. And although its place upon a hill north of the city delivers a sense of prominence that has been earned in its over-a-millennium of existence, the castle walls and the surrounding neighborhood have been long overdue for reinforcement and renovation. Luckily the city of Ankara is catching on, as construction and upkeep have been undertaken on the ramparts that surround the heart of the castle and on the roads that lead to it in the hopes of creating a more desirable symbol of the capital.
The more popular entrance to the castle is adjacent to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, where there are a number of souvenir shops and attractively restored Ottoman buildings very reminiscent of another historic neighborhood in the city, Hamamönü. There are still a number of buildings in need of repair, but then again, is there ever much in the way of authenticity to be found in immaculately refurbished tourist neighborhoods? Look closely at the buildings as you ascend and you'll see original stonework and Roman inscriptions in many of the external walls, telling a tale of the many civilizations that have called this home.
Once at the top, after what can be a strenuous bit of walking, the views from the castle walls are worth the exercise. There may be no better view over Ankara. On the way down, be sure to partake in the marketplace atmosphere that thrives here; it's yet another part of the Ankara Castle experience that whisks you back in time.