Turkey's Capital

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
Trip End Aug 14, 2011

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Flag of Turkey  , Ankara,
Friday, August 5, 2011

Today we flew to Ankara on our way to Cappadocia.  While in Ankara, Turkey's modern capital, we headed to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations at the base of Ankara Castle and old town. The museum is home of the greatest collection of Hittite and Urartian artifacts in the world and is housed in a restored 15th-century covered market although to be honest, I would never have guessed this.  This is an impressive museum to visit as you travel through a chronological journey through Anatolia's past. The museum contains relics from different periods of Anatolian history including those from Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Assyrian, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and Lydian civilzations. There are also classical Greek and Roman artificats on display in a separate section of the museum.

Following our stop there, we climbed the hill to the old city and then visited the Ataturk Mausoleum nearby, which is also an impressive building as are the grounds leading up to the Mausoleum complex. I apologize to Ankara.  On our previous trip to the city we only visited Ataturk's mausoleum, which was impressive back then as well as this time, but was the only thing we really visited in the city.  The Antiquities museum made our short morning visit here well worth while and well worth a strong recommendation for others to see.

We continued on a drive to Cappadocia, an extraordinary region of "fairy chimneys." cave dwellings, and surreal volcanic landscapes like nowhere else in the world.  Along the way we stopped at Turkey's second largest salt lake, after Lake Van, the Tuz Golu (simply meaning Salt Lake).  During some times of the year you can see Greater Flamingos as this is a breeding area of this bird.  Unfortunately, there were none at the time of the year we visited.  The lake is a closed one with no way out and surrounded on 4 sides by plateaus and is very, very shallow.  Tuz Gölü is fed by the Melendiz river, several small streams, and underground salt water springs. Three salt pans in the lake produce one million tons of salt a year, or 64% of Turkey’s total requirements.
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