Ulus 2.8 km (1.7 mile) far to central of Ankara. Ulus is the tourist heart of Ankara. Its main focal point is Heykel (Statue) named after a huge equestrian statue of Atatürk. Heykel dominates a major road junction. If you head north along Çankırı Caddesi you will eventually come to the remains of a sprawling Roman bath complex  its size suggests how important the site must have been in those days. The baths date back to the third century and stand on top of much older Phrygian remains.

If ancient history sometimes hangs heavy around Ulus, this is also the place to come to check out reminders of the early days of the Turkish Republic, in particular the Museum of the War of Independence, which is housed inside the building that served as the first headquarters of the Grand National AssemblyHere you can inspect the original debating hall where members of parliament sat at old-fashioned school desks with lift-up lids.

Further down the road is the Republic Museum, housed inside the building that became the second seat of the Grand National Assembly. The building was designed by Vedat Tek (who also came up with İstanbul’s Büyük Postane at Sirkeci), even further downhill. The much larger, much more imposing parliamentary chamber here has just been restored, and side rooms come equipped with memorabilia related to Atatürk and his successors as president, İsmet İnönü and Celal Bayar.

Both edifices are fine examples of a style of modern architecture known as Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık (First National Architecture), which came with arched windows, overhanging roofs, and panels of external tiling. The contents of the museums are of limited interest to nonTurkish readers. However, just being able to wander round the chambers where many of the important decisions about Turkey’s future were made should be reward enough for most visitors.

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