When you decide to travel to East Anatolia, the tremendous divercity of the eastern and southeastern lands surprises travelers: the red ochre plateau of Erzurum; the forests, waterfalls, and green pastures of Kars and Agri; the permanent snow-cap on biblical Mt. Agri (legendary Ararat); and the immense Lake Van with its deep blue waters - times back to Urartian in Akdamar Island and its churche. Dwellings and modes of life also vary greatly in this large region. Small, earth-roofed houses, built close to the ground typicaly houses around Kars. The regions long and turbulent history has left monuments to its various civilizations: Byzantine monasteries and churches, Seljuk Mausoleums and caravanserais, elegant Ottoman mosques and hilltop citadels. To the inveterate traveler and lover of adventure, this region of Turkey fascinates, astonishes and informs. Travelling to Mardin, overlooking the Mesopotamian Plain, has preserved the old- style carving in its houses. Dating from 1385, the Sultan Isa Medresse is an interesting, beautiful Turkish monument with its magnificent carved portal. The Kasim Pasa Medresse, is also significant for its dome of beautiful stonework and the Ulu Mosque with its well-decorated minaret, is another sightseeing spot. On a hill, 7 kms east of Mardin, you will see something you do not expect: Deyru lzaferan, a Syriac- Jacobite monastery. Several kilometres further, there is another Monastery, Deyrelmur dating from the 5th- century. If you would like to see the best examples of Artutid architecture then you have to head for Kiziltepe, 21 kms south of Mardin, 13th- century Ulu Mosque with its fine mihrap relief and beautifully decorated portal. At Hasankeyf which is on the borderline with Batman province, you will see the ruins of the ancient 12th- century capital of the Artutids. The bridge which once connected the two parts of the city over the Tigris and the palace, are others. The 15th- century Zeynel Bey Mausoleum nearby, is attractively decorated with blue tiles. The national highway, the great trans-Anatolian axis road, is the most direct route between Ankara and the Iranian border, and passes through Sivas, Erzincan, Erzurum, Agri and Dogubayezit. Erzurum, 193 km east of Erzincan and the largest city in the eastern Anatolia, sprawls on a high plateau at an altitude of 1,950 meters. As you enter the city, the large Aziziye Monument commemorating the Turkish-Russian war times back to 19th century. In Erzurum you can visit, The Ulu Mosque, Cifte Minareli Medrese The other cities are Malatya-Elazıg-Bingol-Mus-Van and arrive to Iranian border. Well known city Adiyaman where visit to archaeological museum houses regional finds from the lower Fırat which date from the neolithic and chalcolithic ages. Good quality kilims woven in bright colours sell for reasonable prices in the bazaar. Surrounding monuments include the ruins of an Abbasid citadel (restored by the Seljuks) and the 14th century Ulu Mosque. The discovery of oil in the region has brought prosperity to Adıyaman. 5 km to the north is Pirin (Perre), that boasts a large Roman necropolis dug out of the rock and soil. Adıyaman, as well as Kahta (which also has good accommodation and camping facilities), make good bases from which to visit Nemrut Dagi (Mt. Nemrut) National Park. You can hire transportation in either town. On the summit of Nemrut Dagi, at 2,150 meters the highest mountain in Northern Mesopotamia, sits the gigantic funerary sanctuary erected in the first century B.C. by King Antiochos I of Commagene. The engineering involved continues to amaze visitors seeing for the first time the artificial tumulus as it is flanked by terraces on which rest the colossal statues of Apollo, Zeus, Heracles, Tyche and Antiochus. Time has inflicted heavy damage on the sculptures - their torsos sit with their beautifully carved heads at their feet.