The Hittites were well established in Central Anatolia by the year 1700 B.C. These early Anatolians built their capital northeast of Ankara at Bogazkoy, and from there ruled over the powerful empire. Many Hittite sites remain unexcavated in the Ankara area these are buried under large earth mounds that dot the territory, The Ankara Archeology Museum is world renowned for its superb collection of Hittite artifacts. Another early group, the Phrygians, is also well represented at the museum. These people replaced the Hittites around the end of the first millenium B.C., establishing their capital at Gordion. This is less than a hundred kilometers east of Ankara.
Ankara it self is thought to have been founded by the Phrygians, who were referred to as the Sea Peoples in antiquity. In the 8th century B.C., Ankara was a large Phrygian commercial center. It was captured by the Cimmerians In the 7th century as they moved through Anatolia causing havoc at every turn. The kings of Lydia restored Ankara to a city of prosperity. And, in the 6 th century B.C., the city became a major Persian stronghold because of its situation on the Royal Road between Gordion and Sardis, continuing cn to the Persian capital at Susa, above the Persian Gulf. The city is referred to at this point in history as Ancyra.
When Alexander the Great came through in his empire-building campaign in 333 B.C., a period of Hellenization was observed In Ankara and throughout Anatolia. Ankara was not large enough to be accorded the name of urb or city at this time; Gordion interested Alexander more than Ancyra. The importance of Gordion, however, declined rapidly in the Age of Helleninsm os that of Ankara increased,
In the 3rd century B.C., several tribes of Celtic peoples, moving eastward from the Rhine Valley, arrived in Central Anatolia. One of these groups, the Testosages, who were related to the Celtic tribe that settled in southern France, chose Ankara as their capital This became the most important center of the area we know as Galatia. These Galatians have a long history of struggle; their position at Ankara was a vital one because of Its central location between the east and the west. In 88 B.C., the Galatians were defeated in their capital by Mithridates of Pontus in the course of his battles with the Romans. Ankara was destroyed in the process, but it was splendidly rebuilt when Augustus took the city for Rome. The administration was passed once again to the Galatians. The Monu-mentum Ancyranum, which was inscribed on the,wall of the Temple of Rome and Augustus, can be seen today. This is an account of the achievements of the Emperor Augustus, who held the city of Ancyra in special esteem.
We know of Saint Paul’s bad opinion of the city of Ancyra through his Epistle to the Gaiatians in the Bible. This was because of the resistance to Christianity in the city. Ankara was prosperous throughout the period of Byzantium. For a short period during the 7th century A.D., the city was in the hands of the Sassanid kings of Persia. This lasted oniy twenty-five years before Ankara was retaken by Emperor Heraclius. From this period onward, the city went through several changes of authority. The Arabs captured it In 838 and destroyed much of the city. It was rebuilt by Emperor Michael III. Ankara was lost forever to the Byzantines after the Battle of Manzikert In 1071. The Seljuks had difficulties with the Daniçmend chiefs for control of the city, however. This period In the 11th and 12th centuries noted a decline in the prosperity of Ankara, until the reign of the Seijuk Sultan Keykubad, who served to unite the Seijuk tribes in a final effort at empire-building. The glory of Seijuk Angora, as it was now called, was short-lived. The Mongols burned the city in 1402 after defeating Sultan Beyazit Just outside the Seijuk stronghold. With the upsurge of Ottoman power in Anatolia, Angora was firmly restored to Turkish hands,
The Ottomans preferred the cities of Bursa and Istanbul to Ankara, however, and cast their eyes and banners toward the west. The city existed as a major center of trade and commerce during the Ottoman period because it was on an important caravan route. It was famous for its mohair from the Angora goat, wheat and bariey.
Ankara’s decline in importance was noted concurrently with that of the Ottoman government’s in world affairs. The city took on a different significance, however, when Atatürk used it as his center of resistance in the Turkish War of Independence. A «National Assembly» convened in Ankara in 1920, while the Ottoman government in Istanbul was signing a pact that would divide much of the country and put it in the hands of the victorious World War I allies. As a result of the Turkish resistance, led by Kemal Atatürk, the allied plort was scrapped, and orr October 29, 1923, the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed with Ankara as its capital. From that point on. the city has continued to grow in importance in world affairs as the devlopement of modern Turkey continues