A Taste of Eastern Turkey
Discover a magical fusion of diverse cultures, mysterious monuments, wild landscapes and lost cities on this tour through Turkey’s wild east – an intriguing journey through breath-taking rugged scenery and sites from the ancient world.
We visit some of the region’s most important historical monuments, such as Antakya’s Christian Church of St Peter and the tombs of Urartian kings at Van Castle, dating as far back as the 2nd century. Enjoy a stop at the lovingly-preserved Roman mosaics at Antakya and Gaziantep and join local pilgrims at Abraham’s cave, birthplace of the prophet. We also explore the oldest temple in the world at Gobekli Tepe, and make a sunset visit to Mount Nemrut with its giant Commagene stone heads that guard the burial mound of Antiochus.
Take in spectacular scenery around the vast crystal lakes of Ataturk and Van and board a boat to see the frescoes at the beautiful Armenian church on Akdamar Island. Hiking amongst the remote settlements of the Kackar Mountains provides real insight into rural mountain life from interactions with villagers. Home here will be a traditional village guesthouse, the perfect opportunity to sample typical, authentic local dishes.
We explore Eastern’s Turkey’s tantalising flavours with street food in Urfa and in the elegant streets of Kars, famed for its cheese markets. In this eastern region, there is always opportunity to wander through hidden ancient quarters, bustling bazaars and artisan workshops.
A trip highlight is the eerie, abandoned ‘ghost city’ of Ani, the walled Armenian capital, concealing a mix of Medieval palaces, old ruins and churches – a vital stop on the Silk Road of old. We finally head to the contrasting coastal scenery of the Black Sea, seeing the precariously sited Sumela Monastery and enjoying delicious seafood at the town of Trabzon.
This tour encompasses everything that Eastern Turkey has to offer, in a perfect balance – rich cultural heritage, natural landscapes – from craggy mountain-tops and rolling flowered valleys, to tucked away untouched villages, and a fascinating history to enchant even the most experienced traveller. Away from the resorts of the Mediterranean, this is the real Turkey that most don’t get to see.