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Pictures of our trip 2013 through Turkey (Southeastern & Northeastern Anatolia)
- From 5/28 until 6/4/2013: Esendere - Hakkari - Van - Doğubayazıt - Kars - Ardahan - Hopa
Iran - part 3 – May 2013: Esfahan (excl.) - Chelgerd - Hamadan - Sanandaj - Orumiyeh - Türkische Grenze
Iran - part 2 May 2013: Pasargad (excl.) - Yazd - Esfahan
Iran - part 1 May 2013: Ferry Port Bandar Abbas - Pasargad (between Shiraz and Yazd)
United Arab Emirates - part 3 April 2013: Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima
Oman 2013 - part 5March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Georgia part 1 – June 4 to 13, 2013: Turkey Border - Ajaria - Tbilisi - Kakheti - Azerbaijan Border
Azerbaijan – June 13 to 24, 2013: Georgia Border - Balakən - Şəki - Lahıç - Baku - Xınalıq - Quba - Laza - Baku - Gəncə - Georgia Border
Georgia Part 2a June 24 to July 2, 2013: Azerbaijan Border - Tbilisi - Armenia Border
Armenia part 1 July 2 to 9, 2013: Georgia Border - Akhtala - Haghpat - Dilijan - Lake Sevan - Selim - Arates - Nagorno Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh July 9 to 17, 2013: Armenia - Stepanakert - Gandzasar - Martakert - Tigranakert - Tnjri - Shoushi - Armenia
Armenia part 2 17 to 22, 2013: Nagorno Karabakh - Goris - Tatev - Noravank - Khor Virap - Echmiadzin - Geghard - Gyumri - Georgia
Georgia Part 2b July 22 to 31, 2013: Armenia Border - Ninotsminda - Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Kazbegi - Kutaisi - Zugdidi
Georgia Part 3a – July 31 to August 5, 2013 - Zugdidi - Swaneti - Zugdidi - Abkhazia Border
Abkhazia August 5 to 13, 2013: Georgia - Sukhumi - Tsebelda - Novyy Aton - Lake Ritsa - Gagra - Pitsunda - Georgia
Georgia Part 3b – August 13 to 15, 2013 - Abkhazia Border - Poti - Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine
Turkey  Map
       Middle East Map
latest picture: June 3, 2013
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001  Right after Esendere – the Turkish
border post to Iranian Sero – we meet a flock
of sheep. Being now in Turkish Kurdistan, a
political sensitive area, Liliana decides still to
wear the head scarf that is mandatory in Iran
002  A little creek meanders through
lush green meadows; snow covered
mountains greet from the distance. This
is the refreshing picture we see on our
way from Esendere to Yüksekova
003  A Kurdish village: All the houses
are built in a uniform way. They look
clean, spacious and comfortable
004  Long-stemmed yellow flowers cover
wide areas. With their golden yellow color
they conjure sunshine also in cloudy weather
005  The road to Hakkari is clear of
snow. But on the avalanche barrier
there are still remnants of snow
006  Hakkari is situated on a hillside on
about 5’700 ft., surrounded by impressive
mountain scenery. In 2011 24 Turkish
soldiers were massacred in this city.
Still today it teems with military vehicles
007  Deep gorges and high mountain
peaks – the scenery around Hakkari
is impressive. We stop along the road
to take pictures
008  The road from Hakkari to Sirnak
meanders spectacularly through a narrow
gorge. It follows the border to Iraqi
Kurdistan and is still regarded militarily as a
very sensitive area with the corresponding
checks and restrictions (photographing)
009  The houses of the Kurds are
built with corrugated iron roofs.
They glisten already from far
010  We drive past a rural Kurdish
scene with scattered houses towards Başkale
and Van through Southeast Anatolia. This
region is not yet “overrun“ by tourism
011  Roaming nomads set up their tents
on a river shore between Başkale and
the 8’957 ft. high Güzeldere mountain
pass. The partially annoying military checks
along the roads stop after Başkale
012  Shortly after the melting of
snow, there are enough rich green
pastures for sheep
013  Winter has not yet retreated in the
over 12’000 ft. high Koçkıran mountains. But
in the valley flowers are already blooming.
Liliana cannot resist taking a picture in the cold
014  At a lower altitude a golden
glowing floral splendor covers an
entire hill – a feast for the eye
015  The Hoşap Castle in Güzelsu,
built 1643, on the way to the town of
Van on lake Van, 36 miles away
016  New snow has fallen during the
night at higher elevations. The virgin
white of the Erek mountain range
sparkles wonderfully against the dark sky
017  Peace lies over Lake Van at sunset.
It has a size of 1’450 sq.mi. and is located
at an altitude of 5’640 ft.
018  Framed by snowcapped mountains
and blooming flower carpets, Lake Van
shimmers in the morning sun. Opposite
on the northwest shore Mount Süphan
(Mt. Sipan), a dead volcano with an
altitude of 13’314 ft., is greeting
019  The about 0,6 miles long walls of the
Van Fortress lie about 2½ miles west of the
city center of Van. At one time or another
they were under control of Armenians,
Romans, Medes, Achaemenid and Sassanid
(all 3 = old-Persians), Arabs, Seljuks,
Ottomans and Russians
020  We make a short stop along the
way to the Tendürek pass for taking a
picture of the peaceful village of Çolpan
021  Matching wonderfully: The
Kurdish village of Soğuksu and the
dormant (since 1855) snow-covered
volcano Tendürek (11'759 ft.)
Spring has exploded – in yellow, white, red, blue and pink. The colors and beauty of the flowers are overwhelming

Our LandCruiser waits patiently on the side of the road while we enjoy yellow “unknowns”, red poppies und blue forget-me-not

028  On the way to the 8’675 ft. high
Tendürek pass: As far as the eye can see,
there is nature and solitude. However on the
road there is less loneliness. Here 15 Italian
mobile homes are crossing us in a convoy
029  Liliana climbs to the snow wall to
touch snow. The expression on her face
shows how she feels; it is the first snow
since April 3rd, 2008, at the Franz Josef
Glacier New Zealand (picture No. 120)
030  The neat village with the
mountain backdrop and rural charm
– shortly before the Anatolian plains
around Doğubayazıt that are
at a height of 5’330 ft.
031  A woman is spring-cleaning her carpet
032  The blue of the tarps that cover
different things is the dominating color
in this mountain village of Somkaya,
located about 4 miles on the north
side of the Tendürek pass on an
altitude of about 7'700 ft.
033  Mothers gather in front of a
modest dwelling with their small children
034  The İshak Paşa Palace – built 1685 –
sits high on a rocky hill surveying the border
town of Doğubayazıt with the main border
crossing Turkey-Iran
035  Camouflaged between natural
rocks: Parts of the old Bayezıd Mosque
and the Doğubayazıt Fortress close to
the İshak Paşa Palace
036  The Ahmed-İ Hânî shrine close
to İshak Paşa Palace – a bit further
than the old Bayezıd Mosque
037  Evening light over the İshak Paşa Palace.
It sits in a magic setting 4 miles uphill of
Doğubayazıt. Across (behind the clouds) is
the 16’854 ft. high Mount Ararat and below
are the Anatolian plain and Doğubayazıt (left)
038  The second courtyard of the
palace contains the richly decorated
tomb of Çolak Abdi Paşa, who
built the complex
039  Morning light over İshak Paşa
Palace. It is a blend of Seljuk, Ottoman,
Georgian, Persian and Armenian
architecture. Construction began 1685
and was completed in 1784
Springtime is in full bloom: The immense carpet of bright red poppies short of Iğdır is a breathtaking sight
043  Scattered white tents of nomads add
more spots of color to the plain before Iğdır
044  The dazzling white of this new
mosque close to the airport of Kars
stands out in its green environment
045  Rural at its best: dwellings with
grass covered roofs east of Kars in the
village of Ocaklı near the ruins of Ani,
the former Armenian capital
046  In Ocaklı Köyü, 28 miles east of
Kars, high city walls shield the entrance to
the ruins of Ani, the former Armenian capital
that lies on Turkish soil since 1920
047  Ani`s "Arslan Kapısı“ is the
entrance to the ghost city that was once
the stately Armenian capital and home
to 100`000 people. In power and
glory it rivaled Constantinople
048  The conical roof rising from
the undulating grass belongs to the church
of “Saint Gregory of the Abughamrentz“
(Abughamir) family and dates from 994
049  Not much remains of the church
of “Saint Gregory of King Gagik I” dating
from the year 998. The Turks destroyed
1921 nearly everything in Ani
050  The east side of the South Narthex
of the „Church of the Holy Apostles“
(Surp Arak'elots), which dates from 1031.
Starting from 1064 it was used also as a
051  From the windswept plateau of Ani,
Emil is overlooking the gorge of the
Arpa Çayi River and the church “Kız
Kalesi” (Turkish), also called “Kusanats”
(Armenian) or “Maiden’s Castle”
At the 350 ft. high "İç Kale" hill - the Ani Citadel - the highest point, we pause and enjoy the eerie silence and the nature surrounding us
052  Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis),
a migrant – in winter in sub-Saharan Africa
053  Swallowtail butterfly
(Papilio machaon)
054  Black-headed Bunting
(Emberiza melanocephala) also a
migrant – but in winter in India
055  To the ruins of Ani`s old stone
buildings belong also a mosque (Mosque
of Minuchhihr “Menüçehr Camii” from
1072) and a former street lined with shops
where travelers, merchants and nobles
were bustling about their business
in this “Silk Road” entrepot
056  Now, all the ruins of the former
Armenian Kingdom are freely accessible
without any restrictions. But this rusty
sign shows that there was (recently) a
time when some were military security
zones with absolute ban on photography
057  On the Armenian side across the
Arpa Çayi River a watchtower is still
visible, interestingly with a Russian flag
flying at half mast and a “dummy-
watchman” on the top
058  The Cathedral of Ani (Church of
the Holy Mother of God) from 1010 A.D.
on the plateau is the largest building of this
ancient Kingdom. Ani was once also the seat
of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate .....
059  ..... at the entrance of the cathedral
a Turkish family poses for a picture .....
060  ..... and in the somewhat
‘hollowed’ interior Emil is standing
a bit lost in the nave
061  The church of “Saint Gregory of
Tigran Honentz” (1215 A.D.) sits on the
escarpment of the Arpa Çayi River that marks
the border to Armenia. There is no border
crossing at all between Turkey and Armenia
062  The fading and also partly
destroyed frescoes in the interior of
the church of “Tigran Honentz” are
testimony of its former glory
063  On the west side of Ani there
are also rock-cut chambers in the
“Tsaghkotsadzor Valley” (the
“Blooming Gorge”), both beneath
the plateau and the opposite walls
064  A dreamy place to live: At the
lakeshore of Lake Çıldır near Doğruyol
065  On the north side of Lake Çıldır –
after Akçakale – the road follows directly
the lakeshore and reveals the unspoiled
state of the surroundings in this region
066  Cowpat is used as heating fuel
in the rural areas of Anatolia. It is spread
out to dry and then piled up into
pyramids or fences
067  Cattle is grazing peacefully along
the northern shore of Lake Çıldır. In
northeast Anatolia livelihood depends
on agriculture
068  There is the feeling of vastness
and harmony at this peaceful rural village
of Semiha Şakir in northeastern Anatolia
069  A thirsty flock of sheep rushes
to the shore of Lake Çıldır. Animals
have almost unlimited space to roam
around – also on the roads
Climbing up to the 8’662 ft. high Çam Pass and the following “Karagöl Sahara Millî“ Park between Ardahan and Şavşat,
we are captivated again and again by the lovely alpine flora that burst into life
To Liliana`s joy also cowslip (Primula veris), crocuses (Crocus) und kingcups/marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
sprout on our climb to the Çam Pass – flowers that take her back to her childhood
076  From the 8’662 ft. high Çam Pass the
road descends continuously to sea level at
Hopa; here we are in the national park
“Karagöl Sahara“ – in fact it doesn’t
look exactly like the Sahara
077  Near a little pine tree forest
Liliana makes some lunch, usually
our last meal of the day
078  A village with simple wooden
"chalets" nestles on a slope along the
Çam pass. It doesn’t seem that they are
used during the whole year – probably
only in the warmer season. This hamlet
is called Kocabey Yaylası
079  On the western side of the 8’662 ft.
high Çam Pass the healthy pine tree forests
and little villages remind us of Switzerland
080  We follow the spectacular road
along the reservoir, which is dammed up
by the 817 ft. high and 2’360 ft. long
Deriner Dam, fed by the Çoruh river. It
leads through stunning mountain scenery
and many tunnels ca. 20 miles to the
dam wall about 3 miles before Artvin
081  View towards Artvin (47 miles
further is the Black Sea). There are
still clear-up operations down in the
Çoruh valley, because the reservoir
started to operate only in February 2013
(filling with water since February 2012)
More websites from the Middle East:
Welcome to Kuwait on March 3rd, 1996
Yemen car trip (from Oman to Saudi Arabia) - from May 16th, to June 15th, 1996
Sandstorm in Saudi Arabia on February 4th, 1999
Trip to Dubai in January and February 1999
Oman 1999 - from mid-March to mid-April 1999
Oman 2013 - Part 1 - February 2013: Musandam Peninsula
Oman 2013 - Part 2 - February 2013: Sohar - Muscat - Rustaq - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 3 - March 2013: Sur - East Coast - Island of Masirah - Dhofar
Oman 2013 - Part 4 - March 2013: Salalah & Surroundings (Dhofar) - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 5 - March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Fairytale Wedding in Dubai - United Arab Emirates - with our car from February 7th, to May 20th, 1999
Sharjah + Dubai: United Arab Emirates - without our vehicle from February 19th, to 27th, 2011
Sharjah/Dubai/1st Traveler's Festival/Emirates National Auto Museum - UAE with car Nov. 2012 to Jan. 2013 - part 1
Western UAE - Liwa - United Arab Emirates  with car in January 2013 - part 2
Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima - United Arab Emirates with our car in April 2013 - part 3
Iran - Part 1: Ferry Port Bandar Abbas-Shiraz-Persepolis-Pasargad (between Persepolis and Yazd) May 2013
Iran - Part 2: Pasargad (excl.)-Yazd-Esfahan May 2013
Iran - Part 3: Esfahan (excl.)-Chelgerd-Hamadan-Sanandaj-Orumiye-Turkey Border May 2013
Georgia - Part 1:  Turkey Border-Ajaria-Tbilisi-Kakheti-Azerbaijan Border June 2013
Azerbaijan: Georgia Border-Balakən-Şəki-Lahıç-Baku-Xınalıq-Quba-Laza-Baku-Gəncə-Georgia Border June 2013
Georgia - Part 2a: Azerbaijan Border-Tbilisi-Armenia Border June/July 2013
Armenia - Part 1: Georgia Border-Akhtala-Haghpat-Dilijan-Lake Sevan-Selim-Arates-Nagorno Karabakh July 2013
Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia-Stepanakert-Gandzasar-Martakert-Tigranakert-Tnjri-Shoushi-Armenia July
Armenia - Part 2: Nagorno Karabakh-Goris-Tatev-Noravank-Khor Virap-Echmiadzin-Yerewan-Geghard-Gyumri-Georgia Border July 2013
Georgia - Part 2b: Armenia Border-Ninotsminda-Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Kazbegi-Kutaisi-Zugdidi July 2013
Georgia - Part 3a: Zugdidi-Swaneti-Zugdidi-Abkhazia Border – July/August 2013
Abkhazia: Georgia-Sukhumi-Tsebelda-Novyy Aton-Lake Ritsa-Gagra-Pitsunda-Georgia August 2013
Georgia - Part 3b: Abkhazia Border-Poti-Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine – August 2013
Socotra - without our car from February 9th to 19th, 2011:
Part 1: Socotra trip in Yemen (East) Hadibo - Dihamri - Arher Beach
Part 2: Socotra trip in Yemen (South) Homhil - Aomak Beach - Wadi Daerhu - Dicksam Plateau
Part 3: Socotra trip in Yemen (West) Qalansiya - Shouab Beach - Qadama Beach - Momi Plateau - Wadi Ayhaft