Last Saturday David, another teacher, and I took a dolmuş to explore Ulus, an old neighborhood of Ankara. Ulus is about 5 miles from our neighborhood. We were on the hunt for an electronics store, Turkish puzzle rings, antique stores (I really want an Ottoman Empire skeleton key), and a Turkish pottery store. We didn’t have a lot of luck finding those things, but explored other areas! It was a perfect, sunny day to be walking around the city.
Ulus is an older, more traditional area of Ankara. We walked around the busy market streets, got some lunch, and decided to walk up to the castle.
After we passed through the busy market streets, we made it to a quieter set of shops. There were some antique shops, though I didn’t find the skeleton key I wanted. We found two puzzle rings, but the sizes were too small. I did, however, have one great find! Over the past couple of years, I’ve collected letterpress and printing press letters. On our way out of one shop, I found a container that had several piece of of sheet music plates. There were several different sizes and I grabbed one of the smaller ones. I asked the store owner how much it cost. He replied it was 10 Turkish Lira and rattled off a price for the larger pieces. Now, I love to barter. It’s been difficult to barter here because I haven’t learned all of the numbers yet. I thought that 10 was too much and asked him if he would take 5. He shrugged and said ok. We just covered typography in the graphic design class I’m teaching, so I thought it was fun to show the students the printing press plate. It’s a bit difficult to read, but the song has something to do with water.
There was road construction and we had to take a few detours to make it up to the castle. We walked a lot of cobblestone and gravel streets. I liked the look of the bricks in this building. It’s ironic to see these old, old buildings with satellite dishes.
Before making it all the way to the top of the hill, we passed a pazar market. I love the bright colors of the different grains, spices, dried fruit and veggies. I got a half a kilo of dried cranberries. Yum!
We finally made it to the top! The citadel overlooks almost all of Ankara. We were amazed it was free to enter! According to tripadvisor.com: “The foundations of this structure were laid by Galatians and eventually completed by the Romans.” It was fun and scary to walk the ledges and walls of the castle. There were limited steps and no hand rails or guards.
What a view of Ankara!
A lot of the city is this gray-brown color. I think the texture of the rooftops are interesting.
This was the first time we went someplace where we didn’t have someone as our guide. We plan to go back to Ulus sometime with friends who can show us where certain shops are located.