After Mom returned from her Seven Churches tour, we took her to Ulus, a neighborhood of Ankara. One of our friends told us about some Roman ruins, and we wanted to see them for ourselves.
Ankara was one of the cities along the Roman road. Emperor Julianus (Julian) visited Ankara (then called Ancyra) in 362 AD. Whoever was living in this area at the time built a column in his honor and it stands today.
When walking up the hill from the Atatürk statue, you can see some of the Roman road to the left along with some broken columns. Another section of the road has been preserved, but it is difficult to see it beneath the dirty glass. The Roman road display is across the street to the right of the column (if you’re looking at it from this angle). The road was discovered in 1995.
Not far from the column is the Temple of Augustus. It is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum and was built between 25 BC – 20 BC following the conquest of Central Anatolia by the Roman Empire and the formation of the Roman province of Galatia [source].
The building was first a pagan temple around 20–25 BC. During the 4th or 5th century, the temple was used as a Byzantine Christian church. Today, the temple is connected to the Hacı Bayram Camii (mosque).
This temple holds major historical significance. Inscribed on the walls are a speech listing the acts of Emperor Augustus. The outside of the temple has Augustus’ speech written in Greek and the interior has the speech written in Latin. These inscriptions are the primary surviving source of the speech. The acts of Augustus include several censuses (Chapter 8.1), which may include the one that made Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. –Luke 2:1
I love how you can always find something new (…or old?) in Turkey. We’ve visited Ulus many times and never knew we were walking by such history. We love touring other places, but sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city!