Doğubeyazıt's only sight, the enchanting İshak Paşa Saray, is in the mountains southeast of town. The fortified palace was built in the late 18th century by local potentate Çolak Abdi Paşa and his son İshak. The interior of the building features ornate stonework, a fantastic mixture of Armenian, Persian, and classical Ottoman styles, but the gold-plated doors were carted off by Russian troops in 1917 and are in St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. Like Istanbul's
Topkapı, the palace is divided into three areas: the first courtyard, open to all; the second courtyard, which holds the mosque and meeting rooms once used by the Paşa and other important personages; and the third courtyard, an inner sanctum housing the massive kitchen and the harem. Note how most rooms are small and equipped with their own hearths for the long cold winters.
Visit in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun casts a deep orange glow over the palace. The palace was the center of the original Doğubeyazıt and across the valley is a mosque built by a 15th century Ottoman sultan, as well as the ruins of an older and more traditional fortress—whose foundations are Urartian but was rebuilt several times through the centuries. (You can clamber up to the fortress on a rough trail that starts next to the mosque; look for the two Uratian figures carved in the rock.) There is a restaurant and teahouse above the palace, as well as a few Kurdish mud-brick houses.
6 km (4 miles) southeast of town on road to Göller, Doğubeyazıt, Turkey