Mardin: located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey and Syria. After breakfast, we will visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (the Saffron Monastery), center of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy and still an active monastery. After lunch drive to Hasankeyf, situated by the Tigris river. Soon to be submerged under the flood waters of a new dam on the Tigris, Hasankeyf has hundreds of caves, hidden waterways, tombs, a larger and smaller Palace, as well as ruins of the Great Mosque. After Hasankeyf drive to Tatvan. Diner and overnight Tatvan.
On the south eastern shore of Lake Van we find Nemrut Mountain (not to be confused with Nemrut Dagi in Adiyaman) rising above Tatvan. The highest peak of the mountain stands at 3050 meters. The volcanic cone was belived to have originally been higher. It was at 4450 meter before its eruption. The last time it was active was in 1440 BC. There are five lakes within the crater, and the largest of the two, which we will visit, are wonderfully different.The Cold Lake (13 sq.kms) has an average depth of 100 meters, The Hot Lake has a visible amount of steam rising from its thermal springs. The heat may reach up to 60 degrees centigrade! We will pinic by the crater lake and stroll around the crater itself. For those who arrive between June and September we will see and visit with the nomadic people who spend their summers around Nemrut Crater Lake.
On to Van via Akdamar Island, with its ancient Armenian Church of the Holy Cross.
On to Dogubeayzit via the waterfall at Muradiye. The road to Dogubeyazit contains numerous views of Mt. Ararat with its permanently snow capped peak rising above fertile plains.
Just outside Dogubeyazit, Ishak Pasha's pleasure palace sits on a hill to the east of the old town over looking the plains of Ararat, the final resting place of Noah's Ark and the setting place for the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh.
Return to the city of Van, dominated its ancient Urartian citadel. We will take time to explore these rich ruins and watch the extaordinary sunset over Lake Van.
Return to Van for departure.