Some cities seem to go on forever, able to reappear in very different guises and characteristics from one era to another. Ankara is one such changeling. With its roots more than 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, it was a trading city to the Greeks, a regional capital for the Romans, a summer resort and frontier command center for the Byzantines, a profitable textile production center for the Ottomans, and the national capital of Ataturk's new State of Turkey. The source of the unique angora wool, today its administrative and educational core provides many jobs for its huge population, and the typical urban problems of smog, illegal settlement, and health difficulties plague its population. Contemporary Ankara is a Turkish city, with all the politics of the state and its minority issues played out on its streets and in its halls of power. Ankara (ancient, Ancyra; Greek, Angora; Turkish, Ankara) is located on the high plateau in the center of Asia Minor/Anatolia. The ancient city grew up at the base of a 500-foot-high steep volcanic outcropping (Atakule) located on the west bank of one branch of the Sakarya River. It is an area of low rainfall, steppe grasses, and cold winters, making Ankara's climate harsh: sting heat in the summer and deep snow sometimes into the end of March.
[...] Although a Crusader army appeared outside the gates of the city in 1101, and captured it from the Seljuqs, the garrison left behind found it difﬁcult to hold out as an island surrounded by Turkoman, and the Seljuqs retook the citadel soon thereafter. They renamed the city Angora, and it was the Seljuq promotion of long- distance trade via the Anatolian east-west trade routes that revived Ankara. Pax Mongolia had a similar effect in opening up the Anatolian routes from Europe to the east. [...]
[...] The city suffered signiﬁcant damage, famine broke out, and much of the city was depopulated. By 271 the Romans were back in control of Ankara and proceeded to expand the imperial road system and fortify new borders. Diocletian (AD 245–316) modiﬁed the administrative structure in Asia Minor, elevating the governor in Ankara to the rank of consular. A local senate ruled the city, and it was early in the fourth century that the city wall was rebuilt, new public buildings constructed (the amphitheater, for example), and the highway restored. [...]
[...] Around 275 BC, as the consequence of rebellion, mercenary employment, and defeat, members of the Galli (Celts) confederation settled around Ancyra, held it as a frontier post against the Seleucids, and established their capital in the city. Over the course of the next century, they were often at war with their neighbors and in fact were part of the Seleucid army defeated by the Romans at the Battle of Magnesia. After 188 BC, they became a vassal state of Rome, and a protectorate after 85 BC. [...]
[...] The manufacture of mohair cloth had been practiced in Ankara for some centuries, and the European demand produced a revival in its local production. The Italians in particular came looking for Ankara camlets. Bursa served as the central market for the famous Ankara mohair, although as early as 1502 the Italians in Bursa would send agents directly to Ankara to buy bolts of mohair. The Florentines were famous in Lyons for their reexport of part of their mohair imports to France. [...]
[...] A wave of bombings occurred in Ankara in March 1990 instigated by the Partiya Islami Kurdistan connected to the PKK. SUMMARY Some cities seem to go on forever, able to reappear in very different guises and characteristics from one era to another. Ankara is one such changeling. With its roots more than 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, it was a trading city to the Greeks, a regional capital for the Romans, a summer resort and frontier command center for the Byzantines, a proﬁtable textile production center for the Ottomans, and the national capital of Atatürk's new [...]
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