I spent several vacations traveling around Turkey, especially in the eastern and central provinces. Detailed itineraries and trip reports of each journey are available here.
June 2002: Eastern and Central Turkey
This is the first journey that is documented on this website. It is about a trip that starts in Turkey's eastern provinces and then continues through the southeast to end at the Aegean coast. It ıs a journey that leads through a magnificent country with vast steppes and high mountains. It offers a magnificent scenery full of remains of ancient and lost civilizations. Among the highlights of this trip were: the fairy-tale like castle of Ishak Pasha overlooking the vast plain at the foot of Mount Ararat, the ruins of the ancient Urartian civilization at Van, exotic mysterious Urfa, ancient Harran with its beehive houses, Mount Nemrut with its mysterious idols, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, and pieceful Lake Egirdir. Nature in Eastern Anatolia is splendid and unspoiled with landscapes one is never to forget. There are the vast steppes, the snow-capped top of Mount Ararat, the blue-green waters of the Van lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and grazing herds of cattle.
September 2003: Lost Civilizations of Anatolia
This time we decided to head for Ani, the lost capital of the Armenians. To reach it, we first had to fly to Erzurum, a city known for architecture with splendid mosques and medreses that were built by its Seljuk, Saltuk, and Mongol rulers. From Erzurum, we headed to Kars where the blend of Russian, Turkish, Kurdish, Azeri and Armenian influences add to its very special flavor. Kars was also our basis to explore Ani, the lost capital of Armenia. Our next goal was Artvin located in the Turkish Caucasus, after which we drove along the tea plantations of Rize, to arrive at Trabzon, the legendary Trebizond. Unfortunately, when visiting the Black Sea region in September there is a risk as the weather can be quite unpredictable in this region with frequent rains and thunderstorms. Therefore, after a visit to the famous Sumela monastery we headed on straight to Amasya and further to Hattusha the ancient capital of the mysterious Hittites. In Central Anatolia weather was nice, though in mid-September it can be a bit chilly at night. We learned more about the Hittites at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations at Ankara. A visit to Afyon and Izmir concluded this trip. To summarize, the main attractions in this journey were a visit to the ruined Armenian capital of Ani near the Armenian border, the monastery of Sumela (unfortunately in the rain), and Hattusha the ancient capital of the Hittites.