10 vibes for Eastern Türkiye
Take a Ferry to Arrive in Akdamar Church
The Church of the Holy Cross or Akdamar Church (Akdamar Kilisesi or Surp Haç Kilisesi) is located on Akdamar Island, the second largest of the four islands in Lake Van. It is a medieval Armenian Apostolic cathedral, built as a palatine church for the rulers of the Kingdom of Vaspurakan.
Walk on Ice at Lake Çıldır
Lake Çıldır (Çıldır Gölü) in Ardahan city is almost totally covered by ice in the winter months. It usually starts to freeze at the beginning of winter as the temperature drops to minus 10°C during the nights. The lake stays frozen about eight months of the year.
When the lake is frozen, it is possible to horse, to ride a bike and to walk on ice. You can also watch local fishermen fishing by breaking the ice and enjoy fresh fish in a few restaurants around the lake.
Be Mesmerized by the Architecture of Twin Minaret Madrasah
Twin Minaret Madrasa (Çifte Minareli Medrese) is a Seljuk architectural monument that became the symbol of Erzurum. It is usually considered to have been built in late 13th century. The decorations, especially at the crown door (Taç Kapı) of the madrasah, are magnificent examples of the aesthetic perspective in Seljuk stone decoration. Herbal elements were mainly used in the decorations.
Feel the Serenity in Cittaslow Cities
There are two Cittaslow cities in Eastern Türkiye: Ahlat in Bitlis city and Uzundere in Erzurum city. Ahlat, a historical city in the district of Bitlis, northwest of Lake Van, welcomes visitors with an arresting sight of glorious tombstones dating back to the Seljuk period. Uzundere, a town and district of Erzurum province, is located on the borders of the Black Sea region and the region of Eastern Anatolia. It is a quiet and peaceful town, rich in history, and abundant in natural beauty.
Have the Unforgettable Van Breakfast
Van’s breakfast is one of the richest in Türkiye. At the local restaurants, they serve regional delicacies such as the famous otlu peynir, a slightly crumbly, potent cheese spiked with an herb called sirmo, locally referred to as “wild garlic”. Traditional Van çöreği (a special kind of pastry), murtuğa (eggs with flour and butter), and kavut (a very old recipe of halva) are also served for breakfast.
Accelerate at Palandöken Ski Center
Erzurum, the largest city in Eastern Anatolia, is sprawled over a high plateau at an altitude of 1,950 meters. A road running through splendid mountain scenery leads to the winter sports resort of Palandöken, just six km from Erzurum city center. It has a number of hotels as well as the longest ski run and the high snow quality, thus making it a favourite haunt for expert skiers.
Hike Around Tortum Waterfall
Tortum Waterfall (Tortum Şelalesi) in Erzurum is formed at the end of Lake Tortum. Tortum, one of the tallest waterfalls of Türkiye, pours down from a height of about 48 meters.
The falling water creates rainbows at the top and a large pond at the bottom. In the surrounding area, there is a picnic area for visitors and a viewing terrace. You can descend from the terrace following the stone steps and go under the waterfall – but prepare to get wet!
Reach the Highest Peak of Europe
Mount Ağrı (Ağrı Dağı), the highest point (at 5,137 m) of both Türkiye and Europe, can be seen from vast distances across the eastern Turkish plain, rising ethereally into the clouds.
Its summit, snow-capped all year, is a dormant volcanic cone covered with glaciers, the largest permanent ice-mass in Türkiye. The first recorded efforts to reach Ararat's summit were made in the Middle Ages, and Friedrich Parrot, Khachatur Abovian, and four others made the first recorded ascent in 1829.
Visit the Ancient City of Ani
Ancient City of Ani (Ani Harabeleri), an ancient trading city on the Silk Road attracts attention with its buildings that carry the religious, administrative, military, and civil architectural examples of the period to the present day.
42 km from the city center of Kars, Ani Site located west of the Arpaçay River establishing the Turkish-Armenian border within the village limits of Ocaklı Village, is the largest ancient ruin in eastern Anatolia.
Taste the Unique Cheeses
Kaşar cheese, or eski kaşar (literally old kaşar) as the matured version is known, is perhaps the cheese that is most widely used in foods compared with eaten on its own. It has a buttery and tangy flavour that makes it suitable to eat with any meal. When aged over six months, as it usually is in the north eastern region of Kars, it develops peppery notes that go incredibly well with just about anything.
Tulum is a general term used for a pungent, soft, sometimes crumbly form of cheese aged in a goat or sheepskin sack that varies greatly between regions. However, Erzincan Tulum Cheese is special one.