Akdamar Island in Lake Van

Akdamar Island in Lake Van

Eastern Anatolia

The region with the largest land area in Turkey is home to the country’s largest lake, Lake Van and Mount Ararat.

In the east of the region, there are ruins from the Urartian civilization and Armenian monasteries. One of them is Akdamar Church, an Armenian cathedral. It is located on a small island in Lake Van. It dates from the 10th century and is famous for the fascinating reliefs carved into the outer wall.

And in Kars, there is a ruined medieval Armenian city called Ani. The ancient city, which was the capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom between 961 and 1045, is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Erzurum, the largest city in Eastern Anatolia Region, has one of the coldest climates in Turkey. The city remains covered with snow for 4-5 months. A district of the city, Palandoken is one of the country’s leading ski centers has the longest and the best ski tracks in Turkey.

There is a train line called Eastern Express, which has sleeping and dining wagons, operating every day on the Ankara – Kars route. To meet the high demand for the trip, which became very popular in recent years, the Touristic Eastern Express train line was added next to this line in 2019. The 1,365 km (848 mi) journey takes approximately 30 hours one way.