Getting Oriented

For the visitor who makes it to Turkey's eastern regions, the rewards are plentiful: beautiful scenery, wild nature, and countless historic sites, where tourists are rare and life hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Turkey's eastern half is so vast that it's necessary to divide it into separate regions, each offering something entirely different for adventurous travelers.

  • The Black Sea Coast, Trabzon, and the Sumela Monastery. This region is like no other part of Turkey. With lush green valleys, snowcapped peaks, and small villages with chalet-style homes, it looks like a little piece of Switzerland.
  • Between Kars and Van. This is Turkey's eastern frontier, filled with wide-open vistas, high mountain plateaus, and both natural and man-made wonders, all offering a wonderful mix of adventure and history. Here you can see the haunting ancient city of Ani, the majestic Mt. Ararat, the island church of Akdamar, and the impressive İshak Paşa Palace.
  • Around Diyarbakır and Mardin. This area, part of ancient Mesopotamia, is steeped in history. Contrasting with the somber black stone of Diyabakır, the old cities of Mardin and Midyat are filled with honey-color stone homes and hillside villages surrounded by vineyards.
  • Gaziantep and Urfa. Traveling around these cities will give you a flavor of the Middle East, from bustling bazaars to spicy local cuisine. These are also the best spots to begin a journey to the huge stone heads atop Mt. Nemrut.

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