Eastern Turkey

The vast expanse that is eastern Turkey is better divided into two regions. The Near East is dominated by the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which are excessively dominated by a series of giant dams, tunnels and irrigation canals engineered to turn barren flatlands into prime agricultural land.

One of the highlights of the East is Nemrut Dagi, said by some to be a greater feat of engineering than the Pyramids. Even today, the peak is a dominating landmark and the question of how King Antiochus of the Commagene managed to build this impressive and monumental cult site continues to mystify.

The region has several important cities. Gaziantep, a regional hub known for producing pistachio nuts and textiles, also boasts a dazzling mosaic museum. Ancient Sanliurfa is the city of prophets and is claimed as the birthplace of Abraham.

The Far East begins with the southern lowlands, rising through the rugged southeastern corner and intercepted by plateau pastures where nomadic tribesmen graze their animals. There are dizzying and snow-covered mountain passes as well as the upper Anatolian plateau. Mount Ararat, on the Armenian border, dominates the northeast corner of the country.

The urban centres of the east are fascinatingly diverse. Erzurum is the biggest city in the northeast, and, in the far south, near the Syrian border, lie the cities of Diyarbakir and Mardin. In the east, Van hugs the southeast corner of emerald-green Lake Van, and Kars is an interesting city in its own right, while also being a jump-off point for the fascinating ruins of Ani.