The central portion of the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, is featured in this astronaut photograph. Ankara is located in central Turkey. The climate there is continental and relatively dry, leading to cold winters and hot summers. The region is prone to major earthquakes, as Turkey experiences tectonic forces from both the African plate to the west and the Arabian plate to the east. Despite the earthquake hazard, the city traces its roots back into antiquity, with a Hittite settlement here prior to 1200 BC. A citadel built and occupied in turn by the Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks overlooks the central portion of the city, and today serves as both a historical and recreational site. Perhaps an even more imposing structure—the mausoleum of the founder of the modern-day Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk—is visible on an adjacent hill to the southwest.
Hill slopes around the city (image left and right) are fairly green due to spring rainfall. One of the most striking aspects of the urban area is the almost uniform use of red brick roofing tiles, which contrast with lighter-colored roads; the contrast is particularly evident in the northern (image lower left) and southern (image upper right) portions of the city. Numerous parks are visible as green patches interspersed within the red-roofed urban region. A region of cultivated fields in the western portion of the city (image center) is a recreational farming area known as the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo—an interesting example of intentional preservation of a former land use within an urban area.