Dramatic Doğubayazıt, set on a stark treeless plain between ranges of craggy mountains, is the last Turkish town on the highway to Iran.
The border, 35km (22 miles) to the east, helps to define the role that Doğubayazıt (doh-OO-bah-yah-zuht, alt. 1950 meters/6400 feet, pop. 36,000) plays in life, as does the striking 18th-century Ishak Pasha Palace 5 km (3 miles) to the east.
You may be here to gaze upon legendary Mount Ararat, or the giant meteor crater 4 km (2.5 miles) west of the border, or Eski Beyazıt, the foundations of a settlement thought to date from Urartian times (800 BC). Unless, of course, you’re a soldier guarding the border region.
Bus and car are the only ways to reach this town. The nearest airports and train stations are at Erzurum and Van.
If you drive out here, don’t do as I did and get stuck!Follow the locals’ advice. (Read “Some People Never Learn” from Bright Sun, Strong Tea.)
According to TTP traveler Ed Brook, however, the road south from Doğubayazıt to Çaldıran is now in good condition, with regular minibus trips making the run.
Onward from there, the road is fine to Van.
Distances & Travel Times
Ağrı: 87 km (54 miles) W, 1.5 hours
Ankara: 1210 km (752 miles) W, 17 hours
Erzurum: 285 km (177 miles) W, 4 hours
Iğdır: 53 km (33 miles) N, 1 hour
Istanbul: 1560 km (969 miles) W, 28 to 34 hours
Kars: 223 km (139 miles) N (via Sarikamis), 4 hours
Van: 307 km (191 miles) S (via Agri & Patnos), 4.5 hours