Eastern Turkey – Lake Van and around

IMG_0407 We’ve spent the last week or so in the far East of Turkey, and absolutely loved it. The roads are OK, big mountains everywhere and the people are friendly (although nothing like the amazing friendliness of Iran). Weirdly there are hardly any women around…it makes Iran seem positively European.

We’ve even met some Iraqi tourists coming to visit their Northern neighbour now their is relative peace in their country (see picture on right)

We stayed in the city of Van for a few days and explored the crazy ‘Rock of Van’ castle before heading around the lake, a huge inland salty sea created when a huge volcano exploded and blocked a valley’s outflow only about 6000 years ago.

The scenery here is astonishingly beautiful and it is only over the last few years that the area has been safe for tourists as the Kurdish people that live here have been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish government. Everywhere you can see the heavy hand of the Turkish military, from huge Turkish flags, statues of Ataturk, military bases and tanks cruising the roads.

We’ve been loving shouting ‘Charni Barshi’ (hello in Kurdish) to the local people who love it too, as their language has been banned for the last 15 years until recently it has been allowed again…what civilised society bans a language in the 21st century? We’ve also discovered that Kurdish is similar to Farsi (Iran) so we know quite a few words already which leaves us looking quite clever. We just have to remember not to shout ‘Charni Barshi’ at the Turkish soldiers stationed every few km along the roads.

The whole area feels as though it is suddenly thriving thanks to the advent of peace, I just hope more tourists start to go there and help the economy improve for everyone’s sake. To their credit the government are building some amazing roads through the mountains to help improve the economy of the area (and maybe so the tanks can come back more easily!)

Here’s a short slideshow of the area:

No comments :

Post a Comment