Central Anatolia

The central Anatolia plateau forms the heartland of Turkey: ochre-hued, cleft by ravines and dominated by volcanic peaks. The boldly contoured steppe has a solitary majesty covered with wheat fields framed by ranks of poplars.

Central Anatolia

Cappadocia, Central Anatolia


The central Anatolia plateau was also cradle of human civilization. At Catalhoyuk, remains of settlements as old as the eight millenium BC have been unearthed. Here in the homeland of many civilizations and the historic battleground between East and West, the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottoman all fought for their sovereignty and established their rule. In the 11th century, migrating Turks from the east made the plateau their own. During its turbulent history, Central Anatolia has endured invasion by great conquerors, such as Alexander the great and Tamerlane. In the course of ten millennia of habitation, the denizens of the area have reflected in their art the dramatic contours of the surrounding landscape, from the vigorous paintings of Catalhoyuk and the confident lines of Seljuks architecture, to more recently, the impressive modern from of Ataturk’s mausoleum.

The most important city of central Anatolia is Ankara. Ankara is capital of Turkey. The city of Ankara lies in the center of Anatolia on the eastern edge of the great, high Anatolian Plateau, at an altitude of 850 meters. The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppeland, with forested areas in the northeast. It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale nar Kirsehir to the east.

Central Anatolia

Mevlana Museum, Konya

The region’s history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti Civilizaion, which was succeeded in the 2nd milliennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century BC. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning “anchor” one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts. The city subsequently fell to the Romans, and to the Byzantines. Seljuks Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for Turks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073, he annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory.

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