The Kalesi from below (this is the only picture in this post I didn’t take).

On Tuesday, we visited the Ankara Kalesi (where are my dragons?). I know this wont come as a shock to any of you, but its all incredibly old. The castle had already been sacked twice by 1215 and they’ve no idea who laid its original foundations.

Backing up further still, we visited The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The museum was very well done and our tour guide had the “most charming accent” (this is how our EFL instructors taught us to describe non-native accents to our students… yes, seriously). She walked us past artifacts from the paleolitic to the chalcolithic (Copper Age) to the Bronze Age (Hittites) up to the Iron Age (Uartu and the Assyrians).


A tablet comprised of letters written back and forth by 2 queens who rules in the 700's BC

A tablet comprised of letters written back and forth by 2 queens who ruled in the 700’s BC


I can’t get my head around how much farther human history can be traced in this part of the world. My only point of reference is Age of Empires.

DSC01799 DSC01800 DSC01795

 After the Museum, we walked around the oldest part of Ankara which surrounds the castle foundation. It was the first time I really felt like I was in the sort of “Turkey” that I’d seen in movies, travel blogs, and books. Ankara is a modern city with modern people doing modern things but on Tuesday I got a glimpse into how this city still preserves and values its ancient roots. In addition to all the plastic toys and post-cards, the shops still sell some traditional products: Angora goat wool (Ankara was originally called angora after this wool), iron tools, copper jewelry and coffee sets, hamam soap and towels,  and dried plants. The colors were stunning. My pictures do it no justice. The wind was blowing up the sides of the mountain, the sun was blazing hot, and all the old men sat in the shade drinking their tea (çay).  It could have been just the same 1000 years ago…

Except for the chacos 


(Our view from the top of the castle… no guard rails. No parents, no rules)