Turkey’s capital, Ankara, is one of the best places to visit in winter, as a big part of sightseeing involves stopping at fantastic cafes and visiting interesting museums. There is a sweet nostalgia to the city, which I believe provides a romantic environment in itself. Add to that learning about the way of life of past civilizations, exploring the city’s vistas or a short respite in one of Ankara’s special parks and you have the ingredients for some of the most romantic outings there ever was in Turkey.
Cafe of Cafes and Kuğulu Park
Since its opening in 1995 on Tunalı Hilmi Caddesi in the Çankaya district of Ankara, Café des Cafés has been synonymous with the sweet nostalgia of the capital, which is of great importance to so many. Meanwhile, Kuğulu Park, which in English literally means “Swan Park” and should not be confused with neighboring Aşıklar Parkı, is located in the heart of the capital’s consular district. There are grassy hills and play areas for children, but the real highlight for many are the ponds and the parks resident ducks and swans, which you can easily observe from comfortable benches lining the park. Pair that with a visit to Café des Cafés and you might just have a romantic encounter. Set in another era, stepping into the cafe feels like arriving with a time machine. Adorned with antiques, a piano, a deep mahogany-colored wood interior, beautiful ironwork, floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor seating, the place has the works and it really feels special because of that.
Discover the Ottoman lifestyle in the Hamamönü district
The Hamamönü district is an area of Ankara that has recently been restored to showcase the architecture that prevailed during the Ottoman era and the founding of the republic. Also called the restored area of Hamamönü, the area is now home to cafes, art studios and craft shops clustered among Ankara’s classic “cumbali” houses, which refer to the iconic wood-framed bay windows of the capital. As well as having some of the newest and cutest cafes in town, some also serve Ottoman sorbets, while in the square, street vendors peddle the sweet “macun” famous in Ottoman times. Macun is the Turkish word for “paste” and refers to fruit and sweet-flavored pasta that was wrapped around a stick as a sweet treat in the not-too-distant past.
Located on Talatpaşa Bulvarı near Hacettepe Hospital, Hamamönü is yet another neighborhood that will transport you back in time, only this time to Ottoman times and walking the streets of this beautifully restored neighborhood really gives a glimpse of life everyday life of those living in the Ottoman era. There are also mosques, museums and iconic residences as well as an area on Sarıkadın Sokak, where local women’s cooperatives have set up stalls selling hand crocheted and knitted items as well as a variety of gift items .
Ankara Castle and Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Referred to in Turkish as Ankara Kalesi and in English as the “Citadel”, this requisitioned castle and its fortified fortifications, located above a rocky hill with a 360 degree view of the capital, is a wonderful site to visit. First founded in the 8th century BC by the Phrygians and rebuilt many times by many civilizations including the Roman, Byzantine, Selçuk and Ottoman eras. Inside the impressive fortifications is the Alaettin Mosque, which dates back to the 12th century, and the Sark Kulesi, which is yet another spectacular observation tower reached by a steep staircase. There are still residences located within the citadel walls as well as galleries, shops and cafes and the area itself is home to the shops of traditional traders such as copper and basket weavers.
Not to be outdone, the nearby Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is truly one of Turkey’s most fascinating museums as it traces Anatolian archaeology, offering a significant insight into life in Turkey with exhibits beginning in the Paleolithic age. and listed chronologically up to the present day. .
Ankara Botanical Park
Last, but not least, the capital city destination known for being the most romantic place possible. Located in Çankaya and established in the 1970s, the Botanical Park spans over 65,000 square meters (approximately 699,600 square feet) of nature which is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Stroll along its leafy paths, picnic on the grassy knolls, and enjoy the greenery, mature trees, flower gardens, and fountains, which now serve as the backdrop for many snaps of the newlyweds of the city. capital city.