The Eastern Anatolian Region, Turkey

The eastern part of the country is a unique region with striking natural richness. The Toros Mountains in the south, and the chain of Black Sea Mountains in the north, unite in the east and form the highest region of Turkey, which is different in both appearance and character, to the rest of Anatolia. This region has an unimaginable diversity. The high mountains provide excellent opportunities for mountaineering and winter sports in addition to their perfect landscapes. Mount Nemrut which has one of the most famous sunrises in the world, Mount Suphan, once an active volcano with its black basalt slopes and Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi), are all attractive places for hiking. The biblical Mount Ararat has been the destination of professional mountaineers for years the vast ochre plateau of Erzurum reaches a height of 1950 m while the forests add colour to the land scape. The waterfalls and meadows of Kars and Agri are exquisite destinations for those who want to discover the "unspoiled". The deep blue waters of Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey, completes the picture and you will find it a strange experience to swim in its "sodawaters". The desertlike plains of high Mesopotamia lie here in contrast with the fertile valleys of the Tigris (Dicle) and Euphrates (Firat).

For the sightseer, the region holds very precious and rare monuments, the most famous and praiseworthy being the gigantic statues of mythological gods and King Antiochus on the summit of Mount Nemrut; the ruined city of Ani near Kars and in Erzurum the tremendous Ishak Pasa Palace, overlooking the "Silk Road". There are many other monuments like Seljuk caravansaries, elegant Ottoman mosques and Byzantine monasteries, all of which have great historical and artistic value.

The life style is also very specific. The people of the region have developed a life style of their own, based on survival as a result of the diverse geography and climate, while on the other hand, they preserve the hospitality and generosity specific to Turkish people. You can find shelter in any house, in case you happen to encounter a heavy snowfall, and your host, while giving you a cup of hot soup, will advise you not to visit this part of the country in the midwinter. Since it is a high region, the winters are severe and not suitable for venturing out unless of course you are staying in a skiresort. The best time to visit Eastern Anatolia is between May and October.

To the traveler and lover of adventure this splendid region will have a particularly strong appeal.