The animals went in 2 by 2 hurrah, hurrah!
Dogubayazit Travel Blog› entry 470 of 658 › view all entries
People I met here who contributed to, and improved my trip:
I must confess that before heading to Turkey i had never heard of Dogubayazit, but its somewhere that will certainly stick in my memory. Now if you read the bible, you will know the significance of the town, as it is located at the foot of Mount Ararat, which is supposedly where Noah grounded his ark. Personally i doubt this story very much, as the only animals that i saw in the area were some mangy looking dogs, two rabbits and a few Turkeys and chickens.
More recently the town has achieved status on the backpacker circuit for the magnificent Ishak Pasa Palace. When i say 'achieved status' i mean that i saw two other foreigners here, which were my first sightings of such rare creatures since arriving into Turkey.
The journey from Igdir (5YTL/$3.20) was fairly nice, with views from the dolmush of Mount Ararat basking in the fading sunlight. Entering the town at 16.00 it was already dark and a fog had begun to envelop the streets. Once the sun sets, its not pleasant to be outside, so i made a beeline straight for Hotel Erzurum. The rooms were priced at 10YTL ($6.40), but i managed to get the owner down to a bargain 8YTL ($5.10). This got me a twin room with central heating and a shared toilet and hot shower. By Turkeys standards, this will probably be the cheapest room in the country.
I wasn't too sure how to spend my evening, so i began by setting off in search of something to eat. I managed to find a nice restaurant which had a wide selection of food available for only 4YTL ($2.55). I settled for a plate full of chicken, potatoes, tomato and pepper, which was accompanied by a complimentary salad and a basket of bread, not bad! Feeling rejuvenated i went to use the internet, which again proved to be fast and cheap (1YTL/$0.65 an hour). I was really shocked that every internet cafe i had been into was really good, as when i visited the country in 2003, i vaguely remember the connection been about the worst i had ever encountered. Once i was done i went home to my snug room to brush up on my Russian skills.
I decided to get up early on Friday morning and set off walking to Ishak Pasa Palace just after 07.
I must confess that on the approach up to the Palace, i wondered what all the fuss was about, as it didn't look overly appealing to me. I was actually more interested in the Mosque and fortress located on the opposite hill, but decided that i should see the Palace first. Once i reached the main gate, the beauty of it all really hit home, as i entered through a stunning entrance, which was adorned with intricate carvings.
The Palace dates back to 1685, although it was not completed until 1784 and contains touches of Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, Persian and Armenian architecture.
Within the first courtyard there was a nice drinking fountain and leading down some steps you could get access to an underground dungeon, which was a little too dark and spooky to investigate thoroughly. In the second courtyard there was a wonderfully ornate tomb and windows with fine carvings around their edges. From here i entered the living quarters and situated here was the dining room, which is arguably the star attraction for its magnificent decorations. Nearby was the Mosque, which was nice from inside, although spectacular from the outside. Lastly i went into the Selamlik, before exiting the complex and climbing up a nearby hill for some excellent birds eye views over the site.
To conclude my visit i went and took a close up look at the ruined fortress, which possibly dates back to Uratian times. This would make the ruins up to 3300 years old, pretty impressive! Next to the fortress was a more modern Mosque, although the curator informed me that this was older than the Palace, but recent restoration possibly made it look more modern. Having unlocked the Mosque for me, we proceeded to chat about football for some time and then i had to make a move back to Dogubayazit.
Back in town i finally managed to buy a pair of walking boots and then I returned to the same restaurant for some lunch and this time opted for meatballs with potatoes, salad and bread. The meal was good, but watching the huge skewer of doner meat revolving in front of me made me realise that i still hadn't tried Turkeys most famous dish, maybe for Dinner! I collected my bags from the Hotel and walked down the busy main street, where there was a Friday market in full swing, before hopping on board the 11.30 dolmush to Van (10YTL/$6.40).