Ankara is Turkey's capital, and its second city in size after Istanbul. Literally and figuratively, it is at the heart of Turkey and of Central Anatolia, the surrounding region.
Ankara is a sprawling, modern city which can appear as little more than a dull, concrete jungle at first glance — most non-local Turks view Ankara as a depressive and grey city with nothing in offer other than the boring world of politics. Consequently, many tourists tend to use it merely as a transit point for getting to places like Konya or Cappadocia. However, Ankara does have a lot to offer for those prepared to look a bit deeper — as the proud capital of the Turkish Republic, it is easy to trace the steps of the early republican years here, whether it be in the shape of the fine buildings of the first national architecture movement or the 1940s monuments following the totalitarian aesthetics of the era. Local museums abound with some of the best pieces of art in the country, ancient and modern. And since it was built on the mostly barren Central Anatolian steppelands, Ankara vigorously pursued a policy of tree planting, which resulted in many parks and forestlands around the city, which add to its charms.
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