As you can probably tell from the number of neighbours, this is
a big area, but we arrange both tailor-made trips and occasional
small group set departures to the region, taking in the many and
varied highlights. And on the subject of highlights, what are they,
exactly? Well, some - such as Mount Ararat, the final resting place
of Noah's Ark - have deep-seated biblical resonance, while others
such as Nemrut might not illicit a flicker of recognition until you
realise this is the site of the extraordinary two thousand year old
stone heads that often grace Turkey Tourist Board advertising.
Working in a clockwise direction from the port of Trabzon on the
Black Sea, the obvious starting point should be the extraordinary
Sumela Monastery, clinging to a cliff face in the Pontic Alps like
a European/Christian version of Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan
and home to beautiful frescoes.
Further east still towards contemporary Armenia lies the
poignant ruined city of Ani, once a thriving Armenian city in its
own right that in the 10th Century rivalled even Constantinople.
Along the same border to the south lies snow-capped Ararat, best
viewed from Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubeyazit.
Heading south west, the combination of Lake Van, Akdamar Island
and more Armenia churches makes this one of the most photogenic
corners of the region before a trip reaches the perfect culmination
with visits to Nemrut, the Holy Pools of Abraham in Urfa, and
finally the extraordinary Gobekli Tepe, at a mere 11,000 years old
the world's oldest religious complex, predating Stonehenge by 5,000
years. A fitting postscript is the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in
Gaziantep, home to some of the world's finest Roman mosaics.
If all that wasn't enough to satiate cultural yearnings, Easter
Turkey combines beautifully with Cappadocia, or across the border
with Armenia and/or Georgia.