What strikes first time visitors as special or unusual when they arrive in Ankara, Turkey?

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When I first arrived I was surprised to see all the mountains. The elevation is high (about 1000 ft above sea level) so you will find your ears popping as you ride through the winding roads.

You will also notice a lot of shacks in certain areas. You will also notice the very colorful apartment buildings. You will drive on and notice all the pictures of Ata Turk. I first thought that it was a picture of a dictator but when you research and talk to people you will discover their deep love for him. He basically dissolved the ottoman empire, changed the alphabet from Arabic to Latin and brought secularism to the land.

The government complexes are huge and you will see armed guards standing behind them.

I lived there for five years and I remember these as my first impressions.

You will also begin to notice that there is not really that much to do except if you like sitting in a cafe playing backgammon, talking and drinking tea.

You will also discover that the people very kind and will go out of their way to help a foreigner.

You may also discover that even though it is a Muslim country, they are really not very devout to the ideology and are pretty accepting of any nationality and religion.

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