Other than to catch a glimpse of Mt. Ararat, the main reason to visit Doğubeyazit is the enchanting İshak Paşa Sarayı, 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 once gold-plated doors were carted off by Russian troops in 1917 and are now 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.) Above the palace are a few Kurdish mud-brick houses. Taxis from Doğubeyazit cost around 20 TL one way, though they can also wait for an hour for an extra 5–10 TL.