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tour including Istanbul and Ankara

ottawa Canada
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tour including Istanbul and Ankara

My husband and I are going to Turkey this July. We will only have 8 days and want to see Istanbul and Ankara. Can anyone recommend the best way to do this? We love to experience unique things and will enjoy some architectural gems, but love to soak up the culture. Thanks in advance!

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

You have picked 2 great cities to tour. It will be hot, especially in Ankara.

Once you arrive Istanbul straight away make your way by plane to Ankara.

Spend 2-3 nights in Ankara then fly back to Istanbul and spend the balance of 5 nights there.

I am not sure if the high speed train between Ankara to Istanbul will be operational by then but if it is it would be a great way of travelling from city center to city center between the 2 cities.

You could spend 2 full days in the old city (Ulus district) of Ankara visiting the places listed in below threads

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g298656-i1822-k…

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g298656-i1822-k…

To put Ankara into perspective you could do it as follows:

Day 1: Haci Bayram mosque, Cikrikcilar rd, Sengul hamam, war of independance museum also known as the first grand national assembly (…wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Independence_Muse…), republic museum also known as the second grand national assembly (http://cumhuriyetmuzesi.gov.tr/en/index.php)

Afternoon in Kizilay

Day 2: Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, Rahmi Koc museum (also known as Cengelhan), Ankara castle, Aleaddin mosque, Aslanhane mosque, Ahi Elvan mosque, Hamamonu precinct, Ethnography, art & sculpture museums if desired.

As for Istanbul you could plan it as follows

Day1: Sultanahmet & Ayasofya mosque, Basilica Cistern, Arasta Bazaar, Topkapi Palace)

Day 2: Archaeology museum, Gulhane Park, Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Bazaar, Eminonu, Galata Tower, Pera Museum

Day 3: Istanbul Modern Museum, Kilic Ali Pasha mosque & hamam, Besiktas Naval museum, Taksim (Istiklal rd)

Day 4: Ferry to the Prince Islands or Asian side visiting Kadikoy & Uskudar

Day 5: Ferry from Eminonu up the Golden Horn to Eyup mosque, cable car or walk up to Pierre Loti cafe, ferry back to haskoy, Visit Rahmi Koc museum &/or Aynalikavak Palace

Istanbul
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2. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

roxanned, with only 8 days in Turkey, I would omit Ankara and split my few precious days in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Both Istanbul and Ankara are "megacities"; I would try to visit some of rural Turkey which you can do in the spectacularly unique physical landscape of Cappadocia. Fly between Istanbul and either Nevsehir or Kayseri--stay in Goreme. This will be a highlight of your trip. OMIT ANKARA!

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

I never knew there were any architectural gems or unique culture in Cappadocia apart from a unique landscape.

Ankara & Istanbul are full of architectural gems, culture and unique things.

Istanbul
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4. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

roxanned, It is a wonderful idea to visit both Istanbul and Ankara and you would be doing the right thing. I would, however, give 2 days to Ankara, and 6 days to Istanbul for a total of 8 days. Since Cappadocia is also close to Ankara, you can also split your days as 4 days Istanbul, 2 days Ankara and 2 days Cappadocia.

I would take the wonderful High Speed Train from Istanbul to Ankara (this long awaited train will be operational in March) and it would take 3 hours to get there from Pendik/Istanbul. This way you will se the country side in between. Alternatives to the High Speed Train are taking a flight or a bus to Ankara and both of these modes transport are readily available and very frequent. You can use "www.aerobilet.com" for searching flight schedules and fares but use the airlines own websites for booking domestically in Turkey. If you want to visit Cappadocia, simply go to the main bus Terminal, ASTİ, at Ankara and take the first available bus to Nevsehir or Goreme.

Have a look at our trip report for a visit to Ankara: "tripadvisor.com/…23262888". Nowadays there are no longer sleeper trains but only High Speed Trains. I suggest that you stay at the Ankara Castle area and Divan Cukurhan Hotel would be your best bet: "tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g298656-d192931…". It is right next to Rahmi M. Koc Cengelhan Museum. The main attractions of Ankara are the first 9 attractions at the following list: "tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g298656-Activiti…". I would also visit the Presidential Palace and the Atakule Tower Observation Deck for this visit. In fact you can keep yourself busy in Ankara for 3 days if you do not want to visit Cappadocia. At the end of your trip, you can simply fly out of Ankara or if you visit Cappadocia out of Nevsehir or Kayseri there back to Istanbul to connect with your flight back home. In fact you can do your Istanbul trip as (3 +1) days so that you can spend your last day in Istanbul.

enjoy Turkey,

enigma...

Istanbul, Turkey
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5. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

Hi Roxanne,

I agree with cagcag. Omit Ankara since it is not significantly important city with respect to architecture. There are many more places to see before considering Ankara as a destination. Here is my priority list for you:

1. Istanbul

2. Cappadocia (unique landscape and cave cities dated back to early times of Christianity)

3. Ephesus (one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world)

4. Bursa (ex-capital of Ottoman Empire, great monuments + nature + good architectural examples of old Turkish settlements)

5. Konya (the home of Mevlana)

6. Iznik /Nicea (home of famous iznik tiles, significant city for Christianity, very recently they have discovered famous St Peteres Church sunken in the lake)

7. Galipoli, Edirne, Aspendos, Pamukkale, Bergama, Trabzon, Mardin, Safranbolu) and still no Ankara on the list.

Hope this helps,

Happy planning

Borus

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

Personally this is obviously only my opinion but I rate Ankara in the top 5-6 places to see in Turkey ahead of the likes of Efes, Iznik, Konya, Edirne, Gallipolo, Pamukkale, Bergama, Trabzon and some other places.

Every bodies opinions of the places they rate or like in Turkey will obviously be different.

Some people look at Ankara and see the capital city of Turkey which is a modern & organised city with wide roads and perhaps dull. When I look at the same city of Ankara I see nothing but a city filled with a vast amount of rich history which not many cities in the world let alone Turkey can challenge it for that.

The other great thing about Ankara is it has continuously been inhabited and isn't just a one dimensional touristic place. It has wide appeal (to those that can see it).

Most of those other places are one hit wonders. Ankara has a collection of monuments from various old civilisations such as the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman and finally the republic era.

It was the birth place of Haci Bayram veli whom was also the first person to give a sermon in the old mosque in Edirne as well as the spiritual guide of Sultan Murad II for a period of time. He was also the man to exactly guess when and by whom Constantinople would be captured (21 years before it happened).

The oldest mosque in Ankara which is Aleaddin was built in 1178.

Ankara has far too much to offer to simply be brushed & cast aside but perhaps it's better that people think of it in that manner.

Istanbul, Turkey
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7. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

Hi ResmeN,

We do not have to agree with each other on every matter here. I think, Ankara is an important city for the Turkish since it is the birthplace of the Republic. However when we talk about architectural significance, Ankara cannot compete with many other cities or places I've listed above. It was just a tiny town (almost a village) only a century ago. How can it be architecturally significant in that time frame? It is just a gray concrete jungle and there is not much to see except for a couple of things you have given in your post. As the famous author once said, the most I like about Ankara is going back to Istanbul.

Borus

Edited: 05 February 2014, 10:19
Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

Borus as I said it is purely my opinion which some will share and some will be against.

I didn't like Istanbul for a long time and didn't know what the fuss was about. I then purposefully decided to spend a lot of time in the city to become acquainted with it and then guess what, I fell in love with it & now can't get enough of it. I know more people that don't like Istanbul than the ones that like it.

Ankara is foreign to most people as most either haven't been at all, spent enough time or simply just go by what is said on the internet and pass judgement that way.

As I said I like the vast history which Ankara has on offer which not many cities can rival it. The recent republic history is even enough for me to love it and keep wanting to go back there.

It was a tiny town that also happened to have a castle with thousands of years of history.

I am well aware of that famous author and if you ask many people from Ankara they will tell you they don't like Istanbul and if you ask many people from Istanbul they will tell you they don't like Ankara. That's the way it always has been and always will be.

9. Re: tour including Istanbul and Ankara

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