Tour Spotlight: Eastern Borders of Turkey


Tour Spotlight: Eastern Borders of Turkey

So you are looking for an experience that is off the beaten track and you want to leave the tourist path behind. Well, look no further than our Eastern Borders of Turkey tour. This tour offers it all; adventure, rich cultural unheard of experiences and breathtaking scenery.

Beginning in the lush mountains of the Black Sea region, travel across arid plains, past crumbled villages and deep blue lakes. With its broad vistas and dramatic scenery, its ubiquitous borders, and a fascinating history and culture, this trip gives a truly varied insight into a part of Turkey rarely seen by foreign visitors.

The tangle of ancient and current cultures will intrigue you as you visit evocative, historical sites such as the ancient Armenian capital of Ani, the Byzantine masterpiece that is Sumela Monastery, the Ishak Pasa Palace, the architecture of Mardin and many seldom visited spots such as Lake Çildir and the remote Georgian churches and fortresses in the northeast. Mount Ararat at 5137m dominates the Iranian border and Lake Van, vast and mountain encircled, feeds the plains near the Iraqi frontier.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights…

Istanbul sunset
Istanbul sunset

Explore Istanbul on Day 1

Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center. The day is yours to explore at your leisure. Are you going to head to the world-famous Grand Bazaar and try some of the local delicacies or pick up a some of the beautiful handmade decor items that Turkey is known for? Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, but its buildings reflect the various peoples and empires that have previously ruled the city. Why not walk the city and take in some of the beautiful designs and architecture from days gone by as well as the modern era. Have your camera ready, there is sure to be some street photography opportunities along the way.

Visit Sumela Monastery on Day 3

Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 metres facing the Altindere valley, Sumela Monastery is a site of great historical and cultural significance, within the Altindere National Park. The monastery was founded in AD 386 during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 – 395), Barnabas and Sophronios, two Athenian monks, founded the monastery. It became famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary known as the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, said to have been painted by the Apostle Luke. During the 2015-2017 restoration works, a secret tunnel was discovered which lead to a place which is believed to have served as a temple or chapel for Christians. Also, unseen frescoes were discovered depicting heaven and hell as well as life and death.

Enjoy a Turkish Van Breakfast on Day 9 

A lavish breakfast awaits you this morning. A traditional Turkish ‘Van Breakfast’ which consists of at least 20 different dishes, such as herbal cheese (made with a mixture of various herbs unique to the region), martuga (a delicious pastry made with flour, butter and egg), and kavut (a sweet porridge made from pan-roasted barley flour and ground wheat). If you are not a morning breakfast person then after sampling a Van Breakfast we may just change your mind about breakfast being the best meal of the day!

Sunset at Mount Nemrut on Day 12

Eastern Borders Of Turkey Tour || Photo Credit: Crooked Compass

Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range in south-east Turkey, Mount Nemrut is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself. With a diameter of 145 m, the 50 m high funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded on three sides by terraces to the east, west and north directions. Two separate antique processional routes radiate from the east and west terraces. Five giant seated limestone statues, identified by their inscriptions as deities, face outwards from the tumulus on the upper level of the east and west terraces. These are flanked by a pair of guardian animal statues – a lion and eagle – at each end. This site is UNESCO World Heritage listed and is sure to be a visit you will remember.

Make this experience yours and join our next Eastern Borders of Turkey small group.

Alternatively, if you would like to design your own tour to this part of the world (or anywhere!) then please get in contact with us. Tours By Design are a Crooked Compass speciality; we would love to help you customise your own tour personalised precisely to your style.