An ancient outpost in the shadow of Mount Ararat. This is a region as old as time itself, evidenced by crumbling ruins surrounding an ornate palace atop a hilltop.
Dogubeyezit is a small and dusty town at the foothills of Mount Ararat, the legendary mountain where supposedly Noah and his ark came to rest after the flood. The city had its founding during the Kingdom of Urartu, an ancient 8th Century BC people centered around Lake Van. During the time of the Armenians in the 4th century AD, it was named Daruynk, and from then on had a tumultuous history of changing hands, much like the region in itself. The Turkish people came and renamed the city Beyazit in the 16th century after an Ottoman sultan. In the 18th century, the city was destroyed and renamed Dogubeyazit. In other words, the city has seen better days.
The striking glimpse of Ararat is not the only reason to visit Dogubeyezit these days - an enigmatic palace on a ridge above town deserves the journey here by itself. For a region with a history as old as time itself, a structure built in the 18th century seems “new”. However, Ishak Pasha Palace is an architectural masterpiece, Turkey's counterpart to the Mughal forts in India. That, combined with the unique setting in a hidden gorge, and the locals that bring it to life today, the Ishak Pasha Palace is a hidden treasure in Eastern Turkey. The front entryway of the palace is adorned with such intricate carvings, a clear reminder why it took a century to complete. The palace laid its foundation in 1685 by Colik Abdi Pasha, with the work passed onto his son Ishak Pasha, hence the name. It wasn't fully completed until 1784 by Ishak's grandson. 99 years in the making all in the family line. They integrated Middle Eastern and Ottoman architecture, putting a spell on the passerbys – us included. The palace didn't serve useful for very long, however, as the Russo--Ottoman War saw its ultimate demise and abandonment. More bad news came in 1840 in the form of an earthquake, damaging and collapsing its room - hence the glass ceiling now. It traded hands back and forth between the Russians and Turkish in the following years, with more damage being done by both parties. As with Ani to the north, modern times with seldom visitors are a fry cry to the former glory days where merchants went on detours to glimpse these wonders in an ancient land.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
Dogubeyazit is considered remote and seldom visited, only a few miles from Iran's border. We came by bus from Igdir, passing the western slopes of Ararat.
Exploring the incredibly detailed Ishak Pasha Palace. We simply wandered every corner and were amazed at the shadows of light dancing across the tan stone.
Seeing the legendary Mount Ararat so up close and personal while on the bus journey here, while all the locals don't even pay attention as it is their daily commute. A humorous memory.
➨ Foothills of Legends ~ Read the Story
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Mount Ararat looms ahead, casting a shadow to the lands beyond. Yet this is where where jounrey leads you next, further into the heart of Armenia. But where you reach you may find much respite for an even longer stretch ahead. Into Yerevan, the Capitol of Armenia, you go.