In this trip you will be able to visit the most interesting Eastern Anatolian Cities of Turkey, Van and Kars and on the way, you will be able to see the amazing Eastern Anatolian Country side including Mt. Ararat from far away and the masterpiece of Ishak Pasha Palace which is located in Dogu Beyazit.
Day 1 - Take the early morning flight to Van arriving around 09:00. Your first visit is going to be Lake Van and a boat ride to Akdamar Island to visit one of the earliest Armenian churches of Akdamar. After lunch break by lake Van visit Ancient Urartian site of Cavustepe and if lucky meet with Mehmet Kusman who has mastered the Urartu language and if you are lucky, he may guide you through the site as well. Then continue to Hosap Castle which is another medieval clifftop castle built in 1643 by local ottoman ruler on the steep rocks most likely on top of an earlier Urartian Castle.
Return back Van and overnight.
Day 2 – After breakfast check out of the hotel to visit Van Castle and Van Archeological Museum before heading towards Kars. On the way to Kars, you will stop in Dogu Beyazit for lunch break and to visit the amazing 18th century Ishak Pasha Palace. Ishak Pasha Palace is the center of attention with its historical and architectural structure which is the combination of tree cultures of Ottoman , Persian and Seljuk periods. The most amazing part of the palace is that the first central heating system has been constructed ingeniously into the building. The Palace consist of 366 rooms and a Harem section.
After Ishak Pasha visit you will continue to Kars and will be arriving in late afternoon. After checking into your hotel , you will have a chance to stroll in the streets of Kars and taste the local goods.
Overnight in Kars.
Day 3 - After breakfast drive to Ani Ancient City which straddles the border between Turkey and Armenia. The ruins of Ani are the remains of a medieval Armenian kingdom also known as 1001 churches. There are a collection of stunning churches and beautiful mosques spread over a large area. In my opinion Ani is one of the most underrated sites in Turkey. After Ani visit, you will continue to Sarikamis to see the Empress Katarina’s hunting lodge and the Sarikamis Forest which is one of the most beautiful forest in Turkey and in winter time there is a skiing center.
Return back to Kars and overnight
Day 4 – After breakfast in the hotel visit Kars Castle , Kars Archeological Museum, historical streets of Kars with many stone buildings from Russian era, churches turned into mosques will be visited before heading back to Airport to take the afternoon flight back to Istanbul.