Southeastern Anatolia

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Southeastern Anatolia
© Lonely Planet Publications
597
Southeastern
Anatolia
What does it have on its menu? For starters, you can choose from a wealth of historical
cities, such as Mardin, the region’s trophy piece, perched on a hill dominating Mesopotamia;
Şanlıurfa, swathed in historical mystique; the old city of Diyarbakır, ensnared in mighty basalt
walls; Bitlis, brimming with Islamic architecture; and the honey-coloured town of Hasankeyf.
For main course, adjust your camera setting to ‘panoramic’ and shoot life-enhancing images
of enigmatic Nemrut Dağı, topped with colossal ancient statues; shimmering Lake Van; or
the water-filled crater of the second Nemrut Dağı, near Tatvan. And for dessert there’s an
array of off-the-beaten track cachet destinations, including Bahçesaray, possibly Turkey’s most
secluded village; Darende, a hideaway near Malatya; and a string of lovely churches around
Midyat. Best of all, you can savour these sights without any tourist hustle and bustle. Oh, and
southeastern Anatolia has its fair share of earthly pleasures (hmmm, pistachio baklavas…).
With all the negative coverage this area gets in the media, you are probably worried about
security. Rest easy: apart from a few spots that are off-limits to foreigners (mainly along the
border with Iraq), southeastern Anatolia poses very few travel challenges and most of its
attractions are perfectly accessible to independent travellers. Here what will linger longest in
your memory is a warm-hearted hoş geldiniz (welcome). So clear the slate and plunge in.
HIGHLIGHTS
„ Feel elation while watching the sun set
(or rise) from Nemrut Dağı (Mt Nemrut;
p616), the ‘thrones of gods’
Van
Bitlis
Nemrut Daÿî
(Mt Nemrut)
Hasankeyf
Bahçesaray
Savur
„ Go heritage-hunting among the historic
buildings of Bitlis (p641), Hasankeyf
(p639) and Mardin (p633)
„ Swap stress for bliss in the perfect valley-
Lake Van
Darende
Gaziantep
Mardin
Šanlîurfa
Midyat
village seclusion of Darende (see boxed
text, p627) and Savur (p637)
„ Fall in love with the Gipsy Girl and feast on culinary delights in hedonistic Gaziantep (p598)
„ Nourish your soul in the great pilgrimage city of Şanlıurfa (Urfa; p607) and confess your sins
in a Syriac church around Midyat (p638)
„ Scramble all over Van’s castle (p646) and get a rush from its lively atmosphere before touring
the shores of Lake Van (p642)
„ Catch the daily minibus to the mountain village of Bahçesaray (p650) – a white-knuckle ride
you’re unlikely to forget
SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA
Turkey’s wild child – southeastern Anatolia does feel different from the rest of the country,
and that’s part of its appeal. Apart from a few Arabic and Christian pockets, this huge chunk
of territory is predominantly Kurdish.
598 S O U T H E A S T E R N A N AT O L I A • • K a h r a m a n m a r a ş ( M a r a ş )
lonelyplanet.com
SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA
Erzincan
Alpköy
Kemah
Ulaš
Çat
i
r)
ehr Rive
at N tes
Oÿuz
Fîr phra
u
Îliç
(E
To Sivas
Peri Suyu
Yedisu
Divriÿi
Kavak
D860
Çetinkaya
Kangal
Tunceli
Kemaliye
SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA
Alacahan
D850
Akçapînar
Pertek
Hekimhan
Keban
Elazîÿ
Yazîhan
Gürpinar
Šelalesi
Darende
D300
Battalgazi
D300
D300
Harput
D260
Gürün
Aslantepe
MALATYA
Sivrice
Kale
Ergani
Yešilyurt
Gündüzbey
D330
D885
Pütürge
Nemrut Daÿî
National
Gerger
Büyüköz
Park
D850
Elbistan
Doÿanšehir
D360
Nemrut
Damlacîk
Daÿî
Narince (2150m)
D360
Gölbašî
To Kayseri
(284km)
D360
Bingöl
D300
Aÿîn
To Kayseri
(150km)
Kahta
Adîyaman
Šambayat
Bismil
Bucak
Siverek
D360
D950
D885
Atatürk
Dam
D360
DÎYARBAKIR
Savur
Kahramanmaraš
Atatürk
Dam
D835
Pazarcîk
Araban
To Îslahiye (25km);
Yesemek Open-Air
Museum (105km);
Antakya (197km)
GAZÎANTEP
(ANTEP)
Nizip
To Hassa
(20km)
Kilis
Yešilli
Mardin
D875
Savaš
Rumkale
Viranšehir
Öncüpînar
Elbeyli
To Aleppo (60km)
Kocatepe
Kîzîltepe
Šenyurt
D400
Birecik
Soÿmatar
D885
Šuayb City
Bazda
Caves
Barak
D850
D400
D400
ŠANLIURFA
(URFA)
Halfeti
BelkesZeugma
Eu
(F phra
îra te
tN sR
eh ive
ri) r
Raqqa
KAHRAMANMARAŞ (MARAŞ)
%0344 / pop 543,900
If you’re heading to this neck of the woods
from Cappadocia or the Mediterranean coast,
a stop in Kahramanmaraş is mandatory for
all ice-cream lovers. This town produces an
insanely good dövme dondurma (beaten ice
cream), which is justly revered throughout
Turkey. If you find that’s not reason enough
to stop here, there are a handful of cultural
treasures that will keep you busy for at least a
day, including the Ulu Cami (Atatürk Bulvarı), built
in Syrian style in 1502, the hilltop kale (fortress) and the lively bazaar.
The Hotel Belli (%223 4900; fax 214 8282; Trabzon
Caddesi; s/d TL45/80; a) has been refurbished and
features spruce rooms and prim bathrooms.
Han el Ba'rur
Ceylanpînar
Harran
Akçakale
SYRIA
From the otogar (bus station) there are
hourly minibuses to Gaziantep (TL12, two
hours, 80km), while five daily buses ply
the stunning route to Kayseri (TL20, 5½
hours, 291km).
GAZİANTEP (ANTEP)
%0342 / pop 1,100,000
There’s one Turkish word you should learn
before visiting Gaziantep: fıstık (pistachio).
This fast-paced and epicurean city is reckoned
to harbour more than 180 pastry shops and to
produce the best pistachio baklavas you can
gobble down in Turkey, if not the world.
Antep is a greatly underrated city that proclaims a modern, laissez-faire attitude while
thumbing its nose at Urfa’s piety. One of the

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