Beyond the Trodden Path – Eastern Turkey

Beyond the Trodden Path Eastern Turkey

Kas is a pine-scented family resort town known for its ancient Lycian history and modern leisure activities around its twin harbours. A short drive south takes visitors to Myra, with its haunting rock carving ruins.

Cappadocia’s volcanic landscape features otherworldly fairy chimney rock formations and cave churches as well as hot air balloon rides at sunset. Also nearby are excavations at Catal Huyuk – one of the earliest Neolithic settlements.


Gaziantep’s cuisine has earned widespread praise online, particularly among foodies on social media. Voted UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2016, its Old Town area offers visitors ample dining and kebab house experiences.

Before sundown in Gaziantep’s ancient city center, the air becomes thick with smoke from kebab grills and barbecue fires lining its streets. Meat lovers will not go unsatisfied here: 30 different kebab varieties and 40 eggplant dishes await them to sample!

Gaziantep boasts one of the largest zoos in Turkey as well as historical bazaars and handicrafts such as coppersmithing works, cloth making and traditional shoemaking – each considered top handicrafts in their respective industries. Copperware made here is widely considered some of the finest available. Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology once housed Zeugma mosaics; now it displays excavated finds including basalt relief stelae and Hittite statuary from its collection – daily!


Sanliurfa (or Urfa as it was once known) is considered by Muslims, Christians, and Jews to be Abraham’s spiritual home and an important pilgrimage destination. Here ancient traditions continue to thrive while thousands-year-old friendships thrive among its residents; strengthened further through “Sira Geceleri” gatherings where those from one family share pleasures and world views in an atmosphere of brotherhood.

Urfa offers many attractions, from Balikligol – or Holy Fish Pool; its wondrous old covered bazaar; the Throne of Nimrod fortress; and its archaeological museum, to Kizilkoyun Necropolis with 133 Rock Tombs dating back when Urfa was known as Edessa.

Archaeology fans should plan a trip to nearby Harran. The ancient university, tumulus and castle are spectacular sights in these relics of past civilization. You can even negotiate with local drivers who will drive you out there and back for an agreed upon flat fee! And don’t forget the Harran Archaeological Museum which houses artifacts from surrounding regions.


On the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, this charming city perched atop steep slopes exudes history in every detail. Strolling through town will reveal churches, mosques and madrassas (places of study) winding their way through backstreets alongside beige-carved houses – not forgetting some stunning beige carved homes to enjoy too!

Mardin is home to some iconic structures, most notably Ulu Camii from 12th century which claims it contains part of Abraham’s beard! A visit to Mardin is an invaluable opportunity to witness people of different cultures and religions peacefully coexist, such as when church bells mix with Muslim call to prayer calls like in years past.

Local restaurants serve food from various regions of Turkey. Enjoying your meal in one of these cozy stone interiors with stunning views over the old town is a must; additionally, this exquisite atmosphere provides the ideal setting to sip local wine alongside dinner! Additionally, several bars also provide alcohol.


Diyarbakir is the country’s largest Kurdish city and there is much to do here. One activity includes exploring its impressively well-preserved 3 miles of city walls which surround its old town – once enclosed by Mesopotamian city Amida; or stroll through Hevcel Bahceleri Gardens which supply water to Diyarbakir as well as producing crops such as grapes, apricots, vegetables and flowers – making up part of UNESCO World Heritage list.

Diyarbakir’s best section lies within its southern walls, featuring numerous viewing platforms and teashops with breathtaking views over Hevcel Bahceleri. Additionally, one must not forget Ongozlu Bridge – commonly referred to as Ten-Eyed Bridge due to its ten arches – is another must see two miles south from city center.

Visit New City and its Ofis district, particularly around its bars and cafes where young people often congregate. There is also an abundance of metal artisans here producing sickles and hammers by hand.


Trabzon lies approximately 650 miles southwest of Istanbul and features its own Hagia Sophia which, while less renowned than its counterpart in Istanbul, shares the same complex history of religious conversion as found elsewhere. Furthermore, Trabzon is known as an eastern Turkish city with more pronounced Muslim traditions than other regions within Turkey.

Though relatively small, Trabzon offers many attractions to keep visitors busy. The Sumela Monastery in the forest south of the city dates back to 4th century; Trabzon Castle Ruins can’t be visited due to being part of a military zone; Ataturk Kosku, built in 1890 by a merchant and later used as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s residence offer breathtaking views of Trabzon cityscape.

Goksulluk Caves, just 47 kilometers outside of Istanbul, were inaugurated as a tourist attraction in 2013. Visitors will discover an exciting underground walkway which becomes increasingly thrilling as they descend deeper and deeper into the cave system.