History of Ankara

History of Ankara

Loaded with history, Ankara ― the heart of Turkey ― is a city that has been around since Bronze Age. Discover here, a page of its history.
Ankara, the second largest city in Turkey and also its capital, has a population of about 4,319,167. It was formerly called Angora and in 1200 BC, the Hittites named the city Ankuwash, but the Romans liked to call it Ancyra.
It is the center of Turkish government and it is also a very important commercial and industrial city. It is strategically located at the center of the highway and railway networks of turkey. This city became famous for the Angora goat, the Angora cat, and a white haired breed of rabbit.
The history of this place is really interesting. It can be taken back all the way to the Bronze Age and the Hatti civilization, which was taken over by the Hittites in the 2nd millennium BC. Other people that ruled it include Persians, Macedonians, Galatians, Romans, and Turks. Interestingly, you can still find Hatti settlements around the city center ― settlements that date all the way back to the Bronze Age. There have been artifacts discovered that show us that the Hittites called the place Ankuwash before 1200 BC. It was not until 1000 BC that the city started to increase in size and in importance. It all came to be because of a large migration from the capital of Phrygia which was called Gordion then. The migration was the result of a big earthquake that damaged the city.
The Phrygians ruled it until they were succeeded by Lydians and after that Persians ruled. The Persians enjoyed their place as rulers until Alexander the great came along and took over in 333 BC. He had come from Gordion and only stayed for a little while, when in 323 BC he died and his empire was divided among his generals and Ankara was given to Antigonus. Soon after, the city again started to grow when the Greeks came in and turned it into a trading center between the Black sea and Crimea in the north, Cyrus and Lebanon to the south and Armenia and Persia to the east. It was then that the city started to be called Ankyra, of which a slightly modified version is still used today.
When the Roman Empire took over, the city did very well for itself. It is estimated that, a good 200,000 people lived at that time, interestingly it grew even more after the fall of the Roman empire. Ankara was in a good position from the very beginning. It was at the junction point where the roads that came to Anatolia intersected; this was the great imperial highway, used not only by the Romans but also by invaders and their armies. Ankara was invaded many times, slaves were taken, and the city became the outpost for more than one king.
It was when Diocletian came to reign that people began to suffer. It was in 303 BC that Diocletian launched a campaign against Christians and many fell, many were martyred under his reign; one of them was a thirty eight year old Bishop named Clement, who after enduring a lot of interrogation and hardship was sentenced to death. The ruins of his church stand even now. The persecutions were a failure and Christianity started to thrive despite Diocletian's best efforts to eradicate it. Ankara went on to become a place where life was led by monks and priests, the Bishop became the main figurehead and it is even believed that a form of Arianism started there.
When it became the capital of the Republic of Turkey, it was divided into sections. You can see streets that date back many years, ancient buildings that are from Roman and Byzantine times, and you can even find some from the Ottoman period.
The New section is really the modern city with hotels, shopping malls, and theaters. Since it became Turkey's capital, Ankara has experienced a great growing spurt. It is quite a city with an awesome history. One can only wonder what its future will be like.
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