Usually just pass through (or change vehicles), as it is on the way from more touristic west to Hittite heartland as well as Cappadocia... But there are enough tourist attractions to fill at least one full day, possibly spill over to the second. For example:
plus the Mausoleum (which is not in the link above) takes a few hours, and is a must. There is also an art museum, a modern art museum, a symphony hall, an opera house, but I can't comment much on these as I am not an artsy person.
In addition there are several daytrip options:
Eskisehir: via high-speed rail, but not much to see. Old town center, new town center that has a small river in which they have venetian gondolas, some large parks.
Konya: via high-speed rail. Konya was the capital of Anatolian Seljuks, so there are some historical buildings and ruins from that era (12-13th centuries). Konya also has the tomb and mosque of Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi and still is the center for his famous sect of whirling dervishes.
Safranbolu: An entire town of well preserved ottoman architecture.
Beypazari: Parts of it are well preserved ottoman architecture, similar to Safranbolu. The town is also famous for intricate silverworks (termed "telkari")
If you'll have lots of time (maybe you have to stay in Ankara for a couple of months due to your job), then shopping centers come into the picture - Ankara has an insane number of shopping malls. There are also some neighborhoods with lots of street shops. See this thread:
There are also very nice parks as well as a forest inside the city, for foreigners who'll live here and would like to go for walking/jogging.
Other than these, the only activity I can think right now is getting mad at the mayor or the government... you are welcome to participate in those as well.
Nothing to do really especially if it's snowing and the roads are covered in slippery ice. Not really a touristic city.
I'm also surprised that the description of the city is "modern". Maybe modern for the 1970s. I found it run down with roads that have potholes and dirt everywhere. My pants constantly got dirty and the locals wear larger than normal shoes to avoid the dirt, snow and ice.
İ am a foreigner living in Turkey... so when İ am in Ankara first of all what İ like is that lots is walkable.
The mention a few things: İ love the old town, the market just next to it, no "yes please" anywhere at all, for me a good opportunity for some shopping in Tunalı Hilmi or a mall, by far much better restaurants then is tourist areas (Tike in Ankara is better then the ones in İstanbul imho) And there is quite an impressive large mosque, which probably has to age for centuries before it will turn into an attraction.
İ did the drive to Beysehir from Ankara, a lovely place but also a lovely drive down there through a bit weird landscape.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
You have a flawed definition of "modern" based on the warm climate you live. Snow, ice and consequent dirt happen in modern cities too (I'm saying this after having lived in Boston for 8 years). And potholes occur in any city with too many freeze-thaw cycles in its climate (although our municipal morons are a bit slow in fixing those I must admit).
As for the alternatives you gave: Istanbul is an urbanization wreck once you get out of its central neighborhoods. Big cities like Ankara and Istanbul do have slums, and I see no difference except that Istanbul's slums are precarious stacks of concrete with no green in between. Bodrum is a coastal resort town with nothing but sugar cubes for buildings - not a big city therefore cannot be compared to Ankara. Antalya is... yep better than the rest in almost all aspects, but that doesn't serve the point here.
So I dare you to tell, what aspect of modernity Ankara lacks, that you can find in Istanbul, Bodrum and Antalya. Everybody already said Ankara is not a tourist-oriented city, many people would even add that it is an ugly city, but that has nothing to do with modernity and development. If you aren't going to contribute, why bother to portray a city as primitive/undeveloped with your first post ever?
Or maybe an alternate approach is: Welcome to our forum. This is a forum where people give information to other people. So you don't really need to post if you have nothing to contribute to the question being asked. And since that question here is neither "Is Ankara touristy?" nor "should I avoid going to Ankara and go to other places?", your post is not relevant to this thread. Feel free to start a new thread about the primitiveness of Ankara you have perceived. Please avoid irrelevant posts in the future.
PS. I'm not objecting your post because it is negative, I am objecting it because it is incorrect information.Edited: 22 February 2012, 14:03
It sounds like this person visited recently whilst the country(and Ankara)has been in the grips of the worst winter for 30 odd years so it was hardly the best time to judge any city fairly.
Is Melbourne perfect with no slums or poorly maintained area's then?I know for a fact it has!
Ankara has never promoted itself as a tourist destination yet it actually has plenty for a visitor to see.A fellow Melbournian of yours,forum member Resmen recently spent 6 days there in January(so also in the bad weather)and LOVED the city.
Outside of Sultanahmet and the Bosphorus area I actually prefer Ankara to Istanbul.(That's an heretical comment for you!).I found the city to be clean,safe and interesting with good shopping,honest taxi drivers and streets no more poorly maintained than any other city in Turkey.
"people wear bigger shoes to avoid the dirt"LOL!I guess flip flops in -10oC would look a little odd but whatever turns you on................
I spent a week in Ankara late last month while it was -30c and loved it to bits.
Perhaps Levent is too used to being in his comfort zone at home.
Melbourne as you say sarikanarya is far from perfect and does have its slums and poorly maintained areas albeit probably less of them compared to some other cities
Lol at the big shoes comment
I spent 6 days in the city while it was snowing and freezing the whole time and couldn't get enough of my time. If you don't know where to go and have any people to hang out with or to take you there if you cant do it on your own then any city will be boring and you wont enjoy it.
If its snowing and the roads are covered in slippery ice God gave you two legs to use so you can discover the city on foot. Ive walked the whole length of Ankara from north to south and east to west on a few occasions and loved it.
Heres a post I made explaining what can be done over 2 days
Taste differ...Having said that I liked the Ethnography Museum of Ankara more than the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. The other activity that was very nice is the trip to Beypazzari. You catch the taxi at the old Otogar (forgot the name). Go early as it is a 90 minute drive. On the way back you get dropped by Anka Mall which is right next to the metro station, or you can walk back to Ulus from there.
İf you want to see old part of the city you should go to Ankara Castle in Ulus. Etnography Museum and Anatolian Civilizations Museum is in the Castle District too. There are a lot of shop sells authentic things, and restaurants in historical buildings narrow streets down the castle. One of the most beautiful building in Castle district is Çengelhan. İn this historical building you can find "Rahmi Koç Museum" and a lovely cafe.
You can see restorised old, tridational Turkish houses, which serve as cafe or restaurant today in "Hamamönü", down the Castle.
İf you want to stroll around modern part, I suggest Tunalı Hilmi Street. Lot's of cafe, restaurant and shops there. Bahçelievler 7th Street, has nothing special, but especially in summer nights very lively with nice cafes, bars edj.