Travels in East and South Turkey
Turkey has a rich archaeological and historical heritage. Ancient and medieval sites dot the country and yet most visitors content themselves with the west coast and, if time permits, central Cappadocia. It is not hard to see why. Turkey is large and it takes several trips to see it properly and the west coast has some splendid offerings while being more accessible for short-stay visitors.
However, for those that do not miss the tourist bazaars and drinks by the swimming pool, then an attempt should be made to travel to the east of this spectacular country.
Long off tourists’ radars due to the perceived threat from Kurdish disquiet, the east is a jewel waiting to be discovered. Now politically quiet and welcoming of travellers, eastern Turkey is a must for any of us who travel with an eye to history and archaeology.
There are an amazing variety of historical sites to be found there. While the west is dominated by the Greco-Roman/Ottoman period, the east provides these, plus the world’s oldest church, Iron age Urartian sites set in spectacular mountain scenery and beautifully carved Seljuk monuments still standing proud on the high steppes so loved by their creators.
The photos below were taken on a 2002 trip. They begin on Turkey’s southern coast before moving to the east around the region of Lake Van.
This is just the highlights of a region that offers fantastic scenery and stunning historical sites. I hope they whet your appetite!
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PART 1: TURKEY: THE SOUTH COAST
PART II: TURKEY: THE MESOPOTAMIAN UPLANDS
PART III: TURKEY: THE LAKE VAN REGION