"In front of the hamam"

hamamonu3Until recently a run-down, neglected part of old Ankara, Hamamönü has been given a complete Odunpazarı-style makeover with its old Ottoman housing stock completely rebuilt and some of it given new uses.

While some displaced locals may not be very happy about what has happened, it's clear that this is all part of a plan which will make the entire area from Ulus up to the Hisar into a much more inviting area for tourism. Whereas Ankara used to be somewhere where visitors stopped briefly to view the must-see Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, soon it will be a destination in its own right.

Work has now advanced into the Hamamarkası (Behind the Hamam) area. And the hamam after which the area is named? It's the Karacabey Hamamı, founded in 1440, which has been restored as part of the general regeneration effort.

hamamonu1Around Hamamönü

Although the main reason to take a turn around this district is to admire the restored Ottoman houses there are also a few specific attractions to look out for.

The first is the small museum in memory of Mehmet Akif Ersoy, composer of the İstiklal Marşı (Independence March), Turkey's national anthem. T

he museum consists of a cottage equipped with mannequins that sits right beside the Taceddin Tekkesi, the dervish lodge where he wrote the march. Dating back to 1610, this lodge was greatly expanded in 1845 by Sultan Abdülmecid who added a mosque and burial area to turn it into a proper complex.

A large and well-kept park stretches out beside the museum. 

Wandering around Hamamönü you may also stumble upon the lovely Karacabey (İmaret) Cami, an unusual find in a city often thought of as "new" since it dates back to  1427 and the reign of Sultan Murad II. It was commissioned by Celalettin Karacabey who died in 1444 during the assault on Varna. He is buried in a tomb beside the mosque that was added during the reign of Sultan Selim III.

Unusually, the name of the mosque architect is known - he was one Ahmed bin Ebu Bekir. The single minaret is beautifully decorated both with tiles and with carvings taken from ancient sites. The mosque faces the entrance to Hacettepe University.

Note in particular the mosque's lovely original wooden doors. 



As yet there are no hotels here but I fully expect some to open very soon.

Transport info

Hamamönü is within walking distance of Ulus and the Hisar.

Nearby areas

Ankara: Hisar and SamanpazarI

Ankara: Ulus



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