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    Ulus with Mom

    After checking out the Roman ruins, we began the uphill walk to the castle. The foundations of castle were laid by the Galatians and later completed by the Romans.


    Ankara castle on a hill


    There were lots of shops and restaurants along the way:


    Outdoor seating


    We took Mom to Certioğlu Konağı Kafeterya for lunch. Something feels so authentic about sitting on the floor cushions and eating off of the Anatolian-style copper tables.


    Eating lunch on the floor


    We ordered manti, potato gözleme, and içli köfte. And for dessert? Honey walnut gözleme. Yum.


    Turkish food for lunch


    After lunch, we went up to the castle. It was cold! We had our first snowfall last week. The snow in town didn’t last longer than a day or two, but the mountains in the distance were still snow capped:


    Ankara snowline


    Mom and Leah at the castle


    Castle window


    The view from the castle is one of the best! (Although, we’re also partial to the view from our apartment). We spent the rest of our afternoon shopping. It was a lot of fun showing Mom around Ulus.



    Roman Ruins in Ankara

    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.


    Julianus Column plaque


    Julianus Column


    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.


    Julianus Column


    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].


    Temple of Augustus sign


    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).


    Temple of Augustus


    Temple of Augustus side


    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


    List of Augustus' Accomplishments


    Temple of Augustus wall




    Temple of Augustus in Ankara


    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!



    An Afternoon in Ulus

    We took a dolmuş to Ulus on Saturday. David and I have been to Ulus a few times before, but Daniel hadn’t gone yet. (Ulus is another neighborhood in Ankara less than 7 miles from where we live.)

    There was a bit of rain, but it was a nice walk up to the castle. It’s the highest point of the city and free to get in. It’s fun and a little scary to walk along the ledges. There are no guard rails to separate you from the drop offs!


    Ulus castle


    At the Ulus Castle in Ankara


    Ulus Castle


    After seeing the castle, we stopped at a small restaurant. Daniel and I got manti and David got curry chicken. Manti is a Turkish dumpling… kind of like a ravioli. It is served with an olive oil, tomato, yogurt sauce. Lovely and yummy!


    Turkish Manta


    We also stopped by a store called Yöre so Daniel could pick up a few souvenirs. All of their lights and pottery are in the basement. It’s a really pretty place!


    Lanterns in Yore in Ulus, Ankara


    We have just a few more days before spring break. This semester and Daniel’s time in Turkey is flying by fast!



    Exploring Ulus

    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.


    The streets of Ulus, Turkey


    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.


    Turkish Sheet Music Printing Plate


    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.


    Old Turkish building with a satellite dish


    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!


    Market in Ulus


    We finally made it to the top! The citadel overlooks almost all of Ankara. We were amazed it was free to enter! According to “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.


    Ulus Castle in Ankara, Turkey


    Ulus Citadel in Ankara, Turkey


    What a view of Ankara!


    View from the Ulus Castle in Ankara, Turkey


    View from inside the Ulus castle


    A lot of the city is this gray-brown color. I think the texture of the rooftops are interesting.


    Roofs of Ulus


    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.


    Ulus, Ankara Castle

    This past Saturday we took a dolmuş into the old neighborhood in Ankara called Ulus. We walked up cobble stone roads to see the ruins of the citadel. We were amazed it was free to enter!

    According to “The foundations of this structure were laid by Galatians and eventually completed by the Romans.”

    It’s the highest point in the area, and 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!


    Castle Climbing in Ulus, Ankara