Our department (in Middle East Tech. U.) decided that university graduates should have some cultural education as well. So they decided to send busloads of students to various touristic sites of Ankara. Of course I volunteered for two of the trips, specifically the ones to the places I haven't been for 20 years.
In today's trip I led about 60 students to the minor sites (not the must-sees) of Ankara. We did everything described below in 3 hours. We all bought the Museum card, which gives free entrance to all museums of Turkey for a year.
We started with the Ethnographic Museum. (Ankara's museums divide Turkey history into three: pre-Turkish era, displayed in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations; Seljuk and Ottoman era, displayed in Ethnographic Museum; and early 20th century, displayed in the Mausoleum of Ataturk). Ethnographic Museum has displays not in chronological order, but categorized according to crafts (one room for calligraphy, one for woodwork, etc.) The entry hall was the temporary tomb of Ataturk for 15 years until the Mausoleum was built, the walls here have pictures from the funeral procession. My recommendation for the rest of this small museum is that you start your tour by entering the room immediately to your right upon entrance. That way you'll go from less impressive to more impressive. The order will then be something like clothes-household items-ceramics-weapons-calligraphy-woodwork.
Adjacent to Ethnographic is the Art Museum, but that wasn't in our list, so we skipped it. (Art museums are not my thing anyway)
Then we got on our pair of buses and headed to the Roman Baths. It is about a mile away, so best way for small tourist groups to get there is by a quick (and cheap) taxi ride. Roman Baths have not only the bath foundations/remnants of heating system/swimming pool/water channels, but also sarcophagi and gravestones. This 2nd century site is quite large to be found in the center of the city (so kind of surprising), but of course it is not comparable to the sites near the Aegean Sea.
From there we walked about 500m to Haji Bayram Mosque/Tomb and Temple of Augustus. This walk was through small streets, and you'll need GoogleEarth-level detail for it. This part of the city is poorer and at times pick-pockety, so keep your belongings close. Anyway, so I led the students, looking at my printout from GoogleEarth, and after a couple of turns the scarlet minaret of the mosque was in sight. Unfortunately the Temple was closed, and there was a funeral at the mosque (into which I presumed 60 chatty sophomores would be unwelcome). The temple actually predates Romans, it was temple of some Phrygian god until Romans came. In early 15th century Haji Bayram, a muslim equivalent of a saint, was buried next to it and a mosque was built around the tomb.
From here on, we walked consistently due south-west, and stopped approximately every 200 meters. First stop was the pillar of Julianus. This stack of thin round stone bricks was built in the 4th (or 5th?) century, with a statue of the Roman emperor. It was 60-80m away from its current location, but was moved in the 20s to make way for the customs building (the building across the pool in front of the pillar).
Next is Ulus Square, with Victory Monument portraying a mounted statue of Ataturk surrounded by three statues: two soldiers and one ammunition carrying woman (during the war thousands of women hauled ammunition on foot for several hundred kms from Black Sea coast to Ankara). But our destination here was the first parliament (now called Independence War Museum). It was the seat of government from 1920 to 25. I was moved by the poor and rundown look of everything here, it is a reminder of all the hardships and poverty through which this country was born - literally from its ashes.
From there we continued to the second parliament (now called Republic Museum). This one was used from 1925 to 1960. Except the assembly room, belongings of first three presidents and various parliament members are on display. Across the building is Ankara Palas, which was closed for renovations. As the first hotel of Ankara, it hosted many visiting presidents and diplomats through the first half of 20th century.
I'll continue this thread next week, when I take them to a tour of Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Citadel.