Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and the second largest city in the country after Istanbul. The population is around 3.5 million.
People in Ankara are very helpful to tourists. Many young people are capable of communicating in English. Although most people will try to speak English with you, it’s a good idea to bring a Turkish phrasebook or dictionary. Ankara is administrative center of Turkey and a huge university town so that, most of its inhabitants consist of civil servants, students and academics. Don’t forget to bring your pullover.
Ankara Esenboğa International Airport (ESB) is located some 28 km northeast of the city. International flights are rather low in frequency and scope – apart from Turkish Airlines (THY), only Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and British Airways offer direct flights to their respective European hubs. Iran Air also has two weekly flights to Tehran. For other carriers flying into Turkey, a flight into Istanbul is necessary, followed by an air transfer to Ankara by means of Turkish Airlines.All of this should change with the opening of the brand-new airport, located adjacent to the old one, in October 2006. The new airport will feature many more gates, a more orderly parking system, and in general better traffic flow. Also currently under construction is an upgrade to the road connecting Ankara’s airport to the ring road. While parts of this road are already open, several large sections are still under construction, necessitating lengthy detours. The connector road is set to open in its entirety in October 2006.
Airport buses are operated by Cebeci transportation (formerly HAVAŞ – many people still call it this) through the city center reaching Ulus (the historical center of the city, close to the museums and baths), and AŞTİ (where the intercity buses depart from to almost all the cities in Turkey). The price is around 5 Euros.
Being in a central location in Turkey, Ankara can be reached from almost all trains departing from Istanbul to the eastern part of Turkey. The train trip from Istanbul to Ankara takes around 6-7 hours depending on the type of the train (fastest is Baskent for now, however, there will be faster trains in the near future to shorten the trip to 3 hours).
The buses reach AŞTİ (Ankara Şehirlerarası Terminal İşletmeleri) standing for Ankara Intercity Terminal. Most of the cities in Turkey have direct buses to the capital of Turkey, and buses are much faster than trains in Turkey. From Istanbul to Ankara, the bus trip takes around 5 hours.