East Anatolian Region

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Cities in East Anatolia































































































































































































































































The Eastern Anatolia Region


The Eastern Anatolia Region is the largest geographical region in Turkey. It covers 21 percent of Turkey with a surface area of 163,000 km2. It is adjacent to the Black Sea, Central Anatolian, the Mediterranean and the Southeastern Anatolia Regions. It also has borders with Georgia, Armenia, Nakhichevan, Iran and Iraq.

The Eastern Anatolia Region is the highest and the most uneven region. The average altitude is around 2000 meters. The highest peaks in Turkey are located in this region. Agri Dagi (Mount Ararat) is 5137 meters, the Resko Peak on Cilo Mountain is 4135 meters and Suphan Mountain is 4058 meters. The fact that Eastern Anatolia is high and mountainous and separated from the sea by mountain ranges causes the average annual temperatures to be low and the winters to be severe. The region is different from other regions from the aspect of the number of days it snows in the region and the number of days when the ground is covered with snow. In Kars and Erzurum Provinces, the number of days the ground is covered with snow is approximately 90 days a year.


The main economic activities in the Eastern Anatolia Region are animal husbandry and agriculture. The abundance of pastures in the region caused the number of animals to increase and priority was given to the production of animal products. In fact, the production of animal products in the region is about one fourth of the total production in Turkey.

Arable lands suitable for agriculture are limited in Eastern Anatolia. Only one tenth of the whole region is arable. More than 90 percent of these arable lands are allocated for grains. Among the types of grains, wheat is first and barley is second. In contrast to this, the sowing of industrial plants is not very widespread. Cotton, tobacco and sugar beets are among the main industrial plants sown. Sugar beets started to be sown following the construction of sugar plants in the region.


Fruit trees at high elevations have almost completely disappeared. In contrast to this, various fruits are grown on some hollow plains which are protected from the cold. The plains of Erzincan, Malatya and Elazig are important in this respect. Good quality fruit is also grown on the narrow strip surrounding Van Lake. The section below Kagizman of the Aras Valley and Igdir Plain are regions where fruit trees are concentrated.


The main industrial branches in the region are cotton textiles, sugar, cement, food and tobacco enterprises. The hydroelectric power plant at Keban, the thermoelectric power plant at Afsin-Elbistan and the other plants which are still being constructed contribute significantly to the energy production in Turkey.


Erzurum -  The Citadel of Eastern Anatolia
Erzurum is the largest provincial capital in Eastern Anatolia and it was founded on the foot of the Palandoken Mountains at an elevation of 1950 meters. Erzurum known as the citadel of Eastern Anatolia, is located on an important trade junction and transit route between Ankara, Trabzon and Teheran. Furthermore, it is connected to every part of the country both by airways and railways. The city is at the same time the cultural center of Eastern Anatolia. Ataturk University in the city is one of the best higher education institutions in Turkey.

Erzurum is a rich historical treasure, with its centuries old mosques, forts, towers and large tombs with dome-shaped or conical roofs. The Twin Minaret Madrasah, the symbol of the city, belongs to the Seljuk Period. The capital of its portal, with its stone carved ornaments, is among the most beautiful examples of Seljuk art. The minarets at both sides of the capital portal are 26 meters high and they are decorated with turquoise colored glazed tiles. Uc Kumbetler a group of three tombs, is one of the monumental works in Erzurum. The largest of these tombs is the large tomb of Emir Saltuk, the founder of the Saltuklu State, which is placed on an octagonal plan. The most important mosques in the city are the Grand Mosque, from the twelfth century, and the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque from the sixteenth century.

The Rustem Pasha Caravanserai was built by Rustem Pasha, the Grand Vizier of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman (Suleyman the Magnificent). The caravanserai, which has the characteristics of the sixteenth century Ottoman architecture, is being used as a market place, with workshops processing the famous "oltu" stone (jet) and galleries where it is sold. The Aziziye Monument, that was erected to represent the heroism displayed by the people of Erzurum as a whole during the Ottoman-Russian War in 1878, is one of the most important monuments in the city. The forts built to defend the city of Erzurum during the war are located on the strategic hills in the surroundings. The building where the Erzurum Congress was held on 23 July 1919 has been organized as a museum to keep alive the memories of the Congress.

The Palandoken Ski Center is 5 km to the south of Erzurum. It is among the longest and steepest ski runs in the world. The length of the chair lift is 3237 meters and the difference in altitude from the start to the finish is 1000 meters. Among the other points of interest in Erzurum are the Tortum Lake and Waterfall, with its steep cliffs, the Cobandede Bridge, which has a length of 220 meters, built by the Seljuks on the Aras River in the thirteenth century, Pasinler and Oltu Citadels.

Erzincan - Mountains Around and Vineyards in the Center
The definition "Mountains Around and Vineyards in the Center" made by the people for Erzincan indicates the geographical position of the city. The province is surrounded by mountain ranges in the south and in the north. There are very fertile lands in the river basins between these mountains. The Erzincan Plain, where Erzincan Province is located is covered with vineyards and has been the cradle of many great civilizations since the early ages of history. The Karaparmak grapes from the Erzincan Vineyards are famous. The art of copperworking, which is still preserved in Erzincan as a tradition, is important. Among the historical works in the surroundings of the city are the Mama Hatun Tomb and Caravanserai (twelfth century), which is located in Tercan and has an interesting and diffe- rent plan, the Altintepe (1000 B.C.), which was an important settlement place for the Urartians, the citadel at Kemah, the Melik Gazi Large Tomb and Gulali Bey Mosque (twelfth century).


Malatya and its surroundings have been the host to various civilizations from the first ages of history. The city of Malatya, which is located in the middle of a fertile plateau, the surroundings of which are irrigated by many large and small streams, is where various fruits are grown, including the world famous apricots. Fruit orchards, grain fields and animal husbandry in the pastures are the main assets of Malatya. The city with its planned urbanization, is today the main Eastern Anatolian city, it has industry, medical facilities and a university. The most frequently visited places in the city are the Archaeological Museum and the New Mosque of the last Ottoman Period, which was built in 1912. Battalgazi, to the north of the city, is an important historical center. The citadel in Battalgazi was first constructed by Titus, the Roman Emperor, in the first century A.D. and then restored extensively by the Seljuks in the twelfth century. The Battalgazi Grand Mosque is the only example of a mosque plan with iwans in Anatolia. Aslantepe archaeological excavation site is at a distance of 4 km from Malatya on the road to Battalgazi. The excavations are continuing at Aslantepe, which is a Late Hittite City where there are ruins of Hittite palaces remaining from the thirteenth century B.C.


Elazig is a city of lakes and rivers, full of natural beauties, in the middle of wide plains surrounded by purple mountains. A large variety of food items from grains to rice are grown on the lands made fertile by the abundant water of the large rivers, and rich underground mineral deposits are also found here. Elazig is one of the best planned cities in Turkey and industry also holds an important place here. The history of Harput, which is 5 km to the north of Elazig, dates back to ancient times. Many artists and scientists were educated in Harput, which was an important cultural center in Anatolian Turkish history. Harput, which the famous traveller Hommaire de Hell defined as "a real example of the cities in fairy tales" is a unique recreation place with its scenery and ice-cold waters. Elazig, with its historical works remaining from the Artukogul- lari, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods, reminds one of a natural open air museum.


Tunceli is an Eastern Anatolia province surrounded by natural beauties. The rich flora and fauna in an unspoilt natural environment add a distinctive beauty to the surroundings. The Munzur Valley Natural Park in Tunceli, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Turkey. The valley is covered with birch trees, which are gradually becoming extinct in the world. Numerous mosques, citadels, monuments and columns belonging to the Assyrian, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods in Tunceli Province, which has a history dating back to the Hittites, are interesting. The kilims made with natural dyes, the colorful "Dersim" socks woven with wool and the pleasantly aromatic chewing gums made from the roots of the milk thistle of the region are famous.


The city of Bingol, which gets its name from the glacier lakes in the region and means "one thousand lakes", acquired a more modern appearance the new buildings constructed after the large earthquake in 1971. In the Bingol Mountains located to the north of the province, there are countless glacier lakes formed by the melting of glaciers, which is an interesting natural event. The city is located in a mountainous area and the arable lands suitable for agriculture are very limited. Because of this, the economic life of the city depends on animal husbandry. In the surroundings of Bingol, a province rich in natural and historical beauties, the Kigi Citadel, the Kupik and Ahpik Caves, remaining from prehistoric ages and the Harabe- koy remains are worth seeing. Furthermore, in the city there are many curative springs and baths known to be beneficial in curing various diseases. The Bingol-Yolcati Ski Center is one of the places frequented by ski lovers.


Mus, which has an important place in Turkish history, is a very interesting province, both with its economic wealth and its natural beauties. The natural beauty of the city comes from its high mountains and green high plateaus and it also shelters numerous historical assets, just like other cities in Anatolia. The citadel at Malazgirt County, which is known as the place where the Turks first entered Anatolia, has an extremely splendid appearance.


The city of Bitlis, an important tobacco production center in Turkey, was founded among the mountains on a high plateau, with an altitude of approximately 1400 meters. At the foot of the Suphan Mountain, which is the third highest mountain in Turkey, with a height of 4058 meters, there are forests and lakes with a natural beauty that makes the visitors overcome with admiration. Bitlis, where there are very valuable structures remaining from the Middle Ages, is famous for its historical Grand Mosque and Citadel. Ahlat, located on the shores of Lake Van, is one of the oldest art and cultural centers of the province. The beautiful works of Turkish artists combine with the turquoise tones of Lake Van and form views with poetic dimensions. The Seljuk Cemetery at Ahlat is among the art wonders of the world. Artistic symphonies were created by carving on the gravestones covering, a considerably large area. Tatvan, located to the west of Lake Van, is a charming town which has a good port protected from the winds. The ferry boats departing from Tatvan port make round trips between Tatvan and Van wharf. Furthermore, the East Anatolia Fair, which is organized every year, brings a distinctive liveliness to Tatvan.

Four seasons can be experienced at the same time in Hakkari, which is the most mountainous province in Turkey. There are various glacier lakes in the mountains, where the permanent glaciers do not melt even in the middle of the summer. Beautiful and different flowers bloom around the lakes during the spring. The Cilo-Sat Mountains are the mountains with the most beautiful landscapes in Turkey. There are ideal places for mountain climbers. In the center of the city, the Melikesat Madrasah, that keeps alive the fifteenth century architecture is worth seeing. The Zap Valley, on the Van-Hakkari road, has unique beauties. The trout caught in the Zap Stream are very delicious. There are water springs throughout the valley where the ice cold and delicious mountain waters flow with a gurgling sound.

Van - Kars - Ağrı