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The southeastern provinces are Turkey's most mystical and fascinating. The foreboding plains and hills tug at the heartstrings and the region is a cultural cauldron of biblical proportions. St. Paul trod the dusty paths and Mt. Ararat is indelibly linked with Noah's Ark. The region offers warlords' palaces and stunning mosaics that will engage the spirited traveler. T. E. Lawrence sharpened his archaeological and World War I scouting skills at Carchemish. Gaziantep, rising from seemingly nowhere, is a progressive, industrious city. Few can resist its creative, if spicy, cuisine. A grand irrigation scheme, the GAP project, has turned ...

The southeastern provinces are Turkey's most mystical and fascinating. The foreboding plains and hills tug at the heartstrings and the region is a cultural cauldron of biblical proportions. St. Paul trod the dusty paths and Mt. Ararat is indelibly linked with Noah's Ark. The region offers warlords' palaces and stunning mosaics that will engage the spirited traveler. T. E. Lawrence sharpened his archaeological and World War I scouting skills at Carchemish. Gaziantep, rising from seemingly nowhere, is a progressive, industrious city. Few can resist its creative, if spicy, cuisine. A grand irrigation scheme, the GAP project, has turned dustbowls into fertile acreage and two of the world's key waterways, the Tigris and Euphrates, rise in the eastern Anatolian hills. For its poetic stone buildings and utterly irresistible bazaars, Mardin should top your list of cities to visit. At nearby Midyat, 4th century Syrian Orthodox monasteries and churches survive. Mor Gabriel Monastery still welcomes pilgrims. An area historically on the defensive, this is still Turkey's most fragile and fractious region, under-performing economically and socially. However, nothing diminishes its cradle of civilization status and aura of antiquity.

Suzanne Swan
About the Expert

Suzanne Swan is the main author of DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide Turkey. She updated and wrote original material for DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide Istanbul.

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Suzanne Swan for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Eastern Region of Turkey in Europe, bordering Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
  • Language: Turkish, English
  • Currency: Turkish Lira
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April-June, September-November