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  About Ankara


Located at its heart, Ankara is the capital city of Turkey. It has a population of around 4.5 million, which makes it the second largest city in Turkey after Istanbul. Being the administrative center of Turkey and a huge university town, Ankara houses a large population of government workers, university students, and academicians. Ankara is also home to the unique breed of cats known as Angora cats, and long-haired Angora goats and Angora rabbits, both prized for their wool. It is also famous for its muscat grapes.

The region’s history goes all the way back to the Bronze Age (3rd millenium B.C.). Old castles and ruins from Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations dot the landscape around Ankara. In the 3rd century B.C., the city was known as Ancyra, meaning “anchor”, one of the oldest words in the Galatian Celtic language. It is still a mystery why the name anchor was given to an inland city. Over time, the name transformed to Angora, and then to Ankara. Several museums pay tribute to the city’s long history, culture, and arts. These museums house artifacts from as far back as the Neolithic period, stretching all the way to the Ottoman Empire era.

With its strategic geographic position, Ankara provides quick access to a large number of historical sites and tourist attractions around Turkey, including Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Antalya. There will be a trip to Istanbul right before the conference, and a trip to Cappadocia right after. Please see Social Events page for details.