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ANKARA, TURKEY : Peace at home, peace in the world

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A self shadow in the mirror at Anitkabir

Peace at home, peace in the world is one of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of TURKEY.

Taking bus from Eskisehir to ANKARA was quite comfortable. In my way to ANKARA, I got another confirmation that this country is in the highest state of enthusiasm to develop the country. Hm… the quality of the highway is not as smooth as Cikampek (connecting Jakarta and my city, Bandung) highway in Indonesia, but it was obvious that they have willingness to be better and better. If I have a chance to make the same journey following the same route let say in next 5 years, I want to witness that the current-small trees in the right and left side of the highway will turn to be a small forest. If Istanbul was the capital of Ottoman empire, ANKARA is the current capital of TURKEY.


I arrived at ANKARA’s bus station called Sehirlerarasi Otobus Terminali (A.S.T.I) about mid day as it was scheduled. The information I remembered were that I could take metro to the city center and I should visit Atatürk mausoleum. Where was exactly the metro station? No idea. Where was exactly the mausoleum? No idea. I just knew for sure that I wanted to have good lunch in the good restaurant and I didn’t want to take my luggage with me for travelling around the city. Thus the first thing I did was looking for the locker and yes.. I found it after 10 minutes walking around the bus station.


A random man informed me that the city centre of Ankara is KIZILAY. I hoped that I could find a good restaurant there. I was really hungry. Anyway, I could not find the tourist information centre which usually can be easily found in European countries. But hey… let’s try the information pos there. The man on duty gave me a map with some description about touristic places. I was really happy to receive the used map. It means I save the paper, the forest. It seemed that some German tourist(s) lost/left/forgot their map. I don’t understand German very well, but I knew very well the place I would like to visit from the available pictures.


In big city in Europe, usually a map is quite enough to guide you to go to the place you want because usually it includes the detailed information of public transportation together with the shelter. The map I received was not so detailed. I had no idea how far the place I wanted to visit from the bus station. I had no feeling at all how big the city is. Metro station helped me to pretend that I knew where I would go. Full of confidence I bought the ticket to KIZILAY.



Ankara, the view from citadella

Based on the streets I chose, I concluded that KIZILAY is a normal and typical shopping centre area. Nothing special from my taste. After about 30 minutes walking around, finally I found a clean restaurant named EL-RUHA. Sometimes there is an advantage being woman travelling alone in the foreign country (well… not in all country). People are simply interested on you and they become friendly. I received a very nice wellcome from the people working there. So far it was the nicest restaurant in the sense of price, quantity and taste during my visit to Turkey. I paid about 4.5 € for the entrance and main menu, a can of cola and a glass of tea.  After eating, I decided it was the time to looked more carefully the map. I decided to go to the Atatürk mausoleum. Using body language, I understood  the waiter’s explanation of how to go there. Before leaving the restaurant with full of thank, I decided to take a piece of paper which is used to wrap the spoon and fork. I said to myself, who knows I need to write down some interesting things.


It became clear for me that ANKARA is more modern than ISTANBUL. I felt better in this city merely because this city  is quite familiar for me. The business (or political?) districts are similar with Jakarta, with the Golden Triangle Business District in Jakarta. There are some military offices in the streets I passed by. It gave me an impression that militer has strong influence in this country. Well…I don’t know the truth about it. It was just my impression. Nothing more.


After walking a while, I started to loose my confidence to reach the Atatürk mausoleum. I felt that I walked quite long, but so far I could not see the sign that I was in the right direction. Before becoming more panic, I decided to ask one officer in the military office. To my surprise, he came with me until the mausoleum. I considered my self as an innocent that he left his pos to accompany me. If I understood well his english, he works in the traffic deparment of police office.  Honestly, I felt uncomfortable when he asked my e-mail address. (udah ilfil duluan karena dia gak tahu apa itu kimia. :p)


The mausoleum is called Anitkabir. It is a combining complex of museum and mausoleum for memorating Atatürk.


In the middle is the mausoleum

The mausoleum is called Anitkabir. It is a combined complex of museum and mausoleum for memorating Atatürk. It consists of several parts called peace park, pole flag, mausoleum, ceremony square, tower of national pact, tower of revolution, tower of republic, tower of defense of rights, lion road, tower of liberty, tower of victory and so on.


Yes, Turkish are really proud of their  founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938). You can find lots of thing concerning this man  in the mausoleum : his books collection, his famous quote, his picture, his statue, his idealism. There  is  multimedia works to describe the independence war: a 3D statue and the sound as a background to bring the situation during the war as real as possible. It was not so surprising if he likek the languages, political and social books (you can find his book collection in turkish, german, french, english). To my surprise, he also wrote something besides those subjects. He wrote a book, if I am not wrong, about geometry! I was really sorry to my self that I didn’t take any note of it. Anyway, he built his country based on the spirit of  modern, democratic and secular. He believed in the developement based on science. There is a small cinema (both in english and turkish) dedicated to show  the life and idea of Atatürkto the visitor. I am quite impressed by this place.



A wall relief. I suppose that the man in the middle is Atatürk's personification

I have no doubt if he was a handsome guy. From his picture, let’s say that he was a kind of Sean Connery type of man: age makes him looked more sexy ( is debatable). I didn’t find any story about his personal life in the museum. And I forgot to ask this subject to my friends. By ‘accident’ I found some story of his personal life from wikipedia which makes me  smile: yes..this type of man sound familiar with me (twing!! I remember the charming one of my friend. Hahahaha…).


Zsa-Zsa Gabor, a Hungarian-Amerian actress and socialita wrote in her autobiography how a 5o year old statesman shared a romance with her at late 30’s. This is what she said (I got this sentence from wikipedia) :

He dazzled me with his sexual prowess and seduced me with his perversion. Atatürk was very wicked. He knew exactly how to please a young girl. On looking back, I think he probably knew how to please every woman, because he was a professional lover, a god and a king.

Ehm… no comment but then the personality of this man becomes more human in my eyes.  May I imagine my self in Zsa-Zsa’s place? :p


I spent about two hours in this complex. I was really not so happy that I took taxi to my next desired place: The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Turkish : Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi). At that time, I lost all my enthusiasm, my brave, my willingness to have an adventure in Ankara. I was too tired to find out which kind of public transportation to go there. If my feeling about the city was correct, then I knew that walking was not an option.



A room dedicated for sarcophagus. Museum of Anatolian Civilization

I was not so pleased as well when I found out that I needed to pay 10 €. No way out, I am exactly in front of the entrance pos. Rrrgh… Anyway, I should try to enjoy it, right? I didn’t know anything about Turkey’s civilization. I forgot my history lesson in school.  I could just say WOW! for the collections there. They range from before christ period (Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age etc) till Classical Period (Roman, Byzantine) and Ankara through the ages. There are collection of jewerlies, survival tools (from stone, bone, metal, clay etc), casting technology, statues, sarcophagus. It was interesting that for some collections, they didn’t give any protection on them. From the collections there, I confirmed that people in those time were quite detailed in making tool/jewerly/statue etc. Since I am not so patient to learn history, please just visit wikipedia to find out more about the collection of this museum.


I met Italian guy name Federico in this museum and we decided to discover Ankara in the remained time together. He was quite surprise when I said that yes… I heard the name of his city, Trieste. Simply because there is a synchrotron there and currently I work at synchroton. We decided to nearby archeological artifact, named Ankara citadel. He prefered to ask the directions to the people around than just concentrate on the map. Anyway, at least he was more well prepared than me in discovering TURKEY. At least, he had LONELY PLANET in his hand.


Citadel. Ancient city centre of ANKARA?

Ankara Citadel was built in the Galatians era, completed by Roman and restored by Byzantines and Seljuks. The region around was the oldest part of ANKARA. What I witnessed that day was the huge ane impressing wall. I imagined that it was built to protect the city. The Ankara view is magnificent from this citadell.


I insisted to Federico that we needed to stay in the citadell during  sunset for taking some pictures.  While waiting sunset, we got a wonderful view: children flied their kites. He liked this view very much since he has learnt how to make good kites for two years, something I could not understand. In my childhood, boys usually made their own kite without any problem, competing their kites in the sky and some of us just run after one of the kid lost their kites in the competition. He asked me,


If I were their mother, for sure I would be worried. They played kite on the top of the 1 m wall at about 9 pm.

Did it like what Khaled Hosseini describe in his book The Kite Runner? Are children now still playing the kites?”


“Yes… it was similar with the description in that book. No… unfortunatelly most children now are more interested in playstation than tradiotional games. However, sometimes we still have kite festival on the side of beach.”


Ah…those days!!Time went so fast…


We saw the small and previous version of disneyland (i don’t know the exact term  for this. In Indonesia we could call it Pasar Malam)from the top of the citadel and decided to go there using our intuition as our GPS. And yes… we made it!  (Federico : “well…this kind of carousel was common in Italy more than 30 years ago!”. Hm…I saw the same thing many times in France and Germany). After enjoying some children play like carousel, I said that I needed to go to the nearest metro station. It was 10 pm when we said good bye and thanked each other in front of the metro station. He would continue his adventure next day to the direction IZMIR and some other cities in TURKEY until Greek before taking vessel for 24 h to come back to Italy.

At about 00.00, my bus took me back to ISTANBUL and about 00.30 Bojan and his family sent me wishes via sms : Happy B’day!


Here are some pictures that I adore so much :




Dangerously beautiful!






Sunset I : the sun was full



Sunset II : a half sun



After the sunset


Full moon : time for wolfman took over the day!






Written by darmadewi

August 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Travels

Tagged with

5 Responses

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  1. Güzel


    August 18, 2009 at 8:32 am

  2. Susan…..

    kapan balik ke Indo?


    August 19, 2009 at 4:17 am

    • desember man.
      pa kabar euy?


      August 19, 2009 at 9:43 am

  3. Susan, you have made a super wonderful trip!! I like all your photos, especially sunsets!!


    August 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    • @ feng : thanks! when will u come back? see u then


      August 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

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