From Malatya to Kars, 8-day tour
Day 1: The tour starts in Malatya, as an optimal destination for domestic flights. We leave for Mt Nemrut in the morning. Following lunch in Kahta we head for the highlight of the day, Mt Nemrut rising to 2150m. On the way, we stop at the Karakus tumulus (believed to be the resting place of Antiochus’ wife) and continue to Karadüt. After a short rest in the hotel, we set out for the Commanege Nemrut on the summit. You will have enough time to explore the site and take pictures before sunset. After sunset, we return to the hotel.
Day 2: We continue our journey towards Sanliurfa, stopping at the Atatürk Dam on the Euphrates River. From there, we drive to Harran, the most ancient continuous settlement known. Abraham was believed to have lived here. After a light lunch in Urfa, we visit Abraham’s birthplace, and the lake that was born when God saved him from the flames. The medieval houses, the ruins of the citadel are also worth exploring. The Corinthian columns on the top are believed to be the remains of a Christian chapel. The old caravan saray, Gümrük hani, is a perfect place to relax with a cup of tea.
Day 3: Today we visit some fine examples of Syriac Orthodox monasteries and churches on the highlands of the Tur Abdin. Our first stop is in Mardin with its magnificent view of the Syrian plane. The spectacular old city is famous of its old houses and the Christian churches (Church of Virgin Mary /Syrian catholic/, Kirklar Kilisesi /Syrian Orthodox/). A short drive will take us to the Syrian orthodox monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan. We continue to Midyat, the gateway to the Tur Abdin plateau. Most of the Christians abandoned the city, but there still is an active Syriac Orthodox community.
Day 4: We visit the monastery of Mar Gabriel, the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Tur Abdin. Heading for North-East, we visit El Hadra, the remote, albeit one of the most spectacular monastic churches in the region, dating back to the 7th century. Getting back on the road to Batman, reaching the Tigris valley, we stop in Hasankeyf for the dramatic scenery and the amazing colours. After visiting the ruins we go to Batman where we stay for the night.
Day 5: Following the valley of the Bitlis river, we reach the Anatolian Plateau. Soon, we can admire the view of Lake Van. We head West of the lake and ascend to the Nemrut crater lake. After having a short walk and some rest at the lakes, we return to Tatvan.
Day 6: Going East on the lakeside road, we drive to the ferry crossing for Akdamar Island. The 10th century Church of the Holy Cross has been restored and reopened in March 2007. Following lunch, we go to the city of Van, once assumed to be the site of the Garden of Eden. We visit the castle, the Rock of Van. For the night, we stay in Van.
Day 7: Today we move on further East for the awesome views of Mt Ararat. In Dogubeyazit, we visit the Ishak Pasha Palace and the resting place of Noah’s Ark. We stay in Dogubayazit.
Day 8: Today we take the road to the North, with the highlight being the ruins in Ani. On the way, we stop at Tuzluca salt mine. From here we continue to Ani, which was once the Armenian capital, rivalling in importance Constantinople or Cairo. We continue towards Kars, where we visit the Church of Apostles and the old stone bridge. For the night we stay in Kars. The tour finishes the next morning.
If the tour is too long for you, it is possible to book only certain parts of the tour. Please, get in touch with us for the details!