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Some of the oldest and most remarkable civilizations that history has recorded were founded in Eastern Anatolia, a rugged area covered by high mountains and plateaus. The altitude in this part of Turkey starts at 1,600 meters, reaching 5,165 meters on the peak of Mount Ararat. Not surprisingly, the people living here are aware of the dominant position they occupy; they call it "the roof of the world". In such high and rugged lands, the winters are long and cold. But nature, while inflicting hardship on men with its severe climate, also endowed them generously with rich resources. Rivers bringing fertility not only to Turkey, but also to neighboring countries, have their sources in the region. The Kura, Aras and & Coruh, flowing northward, and the Euphrates and Tigris reaching the sea in the south at Basra on the gulf, are powerful rivers which move immense volumes of water. They lend themselves marvelously to the construction of dams and hydroelectric power plants.

The Heritage of Urartu of Lake Van

A plain which can be irrigated, the greatest lake of Anatolia and a nearby mountain facilitating the defense of the city. With these advantages, Van has been a major center of population since prehistoric times. The city itself, founded many centuries before Christ, is like an oasis in this semiarid region. Van, renowned for the beauty of its gardens, was the capital of the kingdom of the powerful state of Urartu. The citizens developed a rich agriculture by building excellent irrigation systems. Some of the canals built by the Urartus are still used in the city of van.

Monuments and Churches

Eastern Anatolia has been, since the dawn of time, the cradle of civilizations whose magnificence is visible in Byzantine monasteries and churches, Seljuk monuments and caravansaries, elegant Ottoman mosques and monumental palaces.

Living of the Land

The generosity of nature is also reflected in the mineral riches of the region such as copper. The main economic activity however, is still stock-breeding. Shepherds playing pipes, enveloped in cloaks and leading their large flocks, are among the most picturesque sights in the area.

The Taste of a Golden Fruit - The Apricot

In some regions of Anatolia, people believe that three apricots a day keep the doctor away. This belief is reinforced by medical views which recognize the virtues of the apricot. The apricot is virtually synonymous with the city of Malatya, where more than half Turkey's apricots are grown.
A source of income for a large number of families, the apricot, fresh or dried, has become an important export item. Of course, Malatya is not just an apricot producer. It has enjoyed its fair share of the general development in Turkey over recent years, particularly in the field of health services. This city is on its way to becoming one of the important medical service centres in the Middle East.

Year Round Snow

Palandoken must be one of the closest ski resorts to an airport. Five minutes after your plane has arrived at Erzurum, you reach the slopes of Palandoken where the quality of snow is considered to be on a par with that of the Swiss Alps. Palandoken offers many opportunities to winter sports lovers, and is covered with snow for eight months of the year, from November to early June. For, a great danger for skiers, is unheard of here. The weather is clear, the pistes are the longest in Turkey and ski fanatics can marvel at the savage landscape of Palandoken. It is an ideal place to forget the stress and pressures of daily life.

Click for photos from Eastern Anatolia  

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