Discover Turkey’s cultural treasures with the Mesopotamia Express

Apr 14, 2024 | News


The Mesopotamia Express is set to revolutionize travel in Turkey by offering a unique train journey that takes passengers through some of the most culturally rich and historic regions of the country. This new train route promises an unforgettable adventure, making stops at key destinations such as Kayseri (in Cappadocia), Malatya, Elazığ and Diyarbakır where travelers can explore and enjoy local sightseeing.

>> You could be interested in “Top 5 Unforgettable Experiences in Cappadocia”

Embark on a journey through history

The Mesopotamia Express is not just a train ride; it’s a gateway to the past, weaving through the heart of Turkey’s ancient landscapes. The journey begins in Ankara, where the train departs with excited passengers eager to explore the hidden treasures of Mesopotamia. As the train moves eastward, it enters the historic regions that are often less traveled but rich with stories waiting to be told.

>> Buy a SIM to have internet in Türkiye before the trip

Stop 1: Kayseri

Balloon in Cappadocia

The first major stop is Kayseri, an ancient city that dates back to Roman times and is known for its well-preserved Seljuk architecture and vibrant markets. As a gateway to Cappadocia, Kayseri offers travelers a taste of the region’s historical and cultural wealth. From here, you’re just a short journey away from the magical landscapes of Cappadocia, famous for its fairy chimneys and hot air balloon rides.

In Kayseri, travelers will have enough time to explore its historical sites including the grand Kayseri Castle, the Hunat Hatun Mosque and Complex, and the Gevher Nesibe Museum of Medical History. Visitors can also indulge in the local culinary delights such as manti, a traditional Turkish dish similar to dumplings, seasoned with various spices and served with yogurt.

For those interested in the natural and geological wonders of nearby Cappadocia, Kayseri serves as the perfect starting point. This proximity allows for an easy transition from the urban historical explorations of Kayseri to the open-air museum experience that Cappadocia offers, making this stop on the Mesopotamia Express an essential part of the journey for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

>> You could be interested in “Top 5 Unforgettable Experiences in Cappadocia”

Stop 2: Malatya

Next on the route is Malatya, renowned worldwide as the apricot capital. This city offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical richness. Visitors have the opportunity to explore sprawling apricot orchards, where the famous Turkish dried apricots are harvested. These orchards provide not only a scenic backdrop but also a chance to learn about the agricultural practices that have made Malatya a global leader in apricot production.

In addition to its agricultural heritage, Malatya is home to an impressive archaeological museum. The museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts that trace the region’s history from ancient civilizations through to the modern era. Highlights include items from the Hittite period, Roman artifacts, and traditional items from the Ottoman era. This museum offers a deep dive into the historical layers that have shaped this region.

>> Buy a SIM to have internet in Türkiye before the trip

The train schedules are thoughtfully planned to allow visitors ample time to both wander through the aromatic apricot orchards and delve into the ancient stories preserved at the archaeological museum. This stop is perfectly suited for those who appreciate the serene beauty of nature and those intrigued by the historical narratives of civilizations past.

For visitors interested in local culture, Malatya also offers vibrant markets where traditional crafts and fresh, locally-grown produce are available. These markets are not only places to shop but also to interact with local artisans and farmers, providing a more intimate look at the daily life and culture of the region.

This combination of natural beauty, historical exploration, and cultural immersion makes Malatya a memorable and enriching stop on the Mesopotamia Express journey.

>> You could be interested in “Top 5 Unforgettable Experiences in Cappadocia”

Stop 3: Elazığ

As the Mesopotamia Express journey continues, the next destination is Elazığ, a city celebrated for its rich historical heritage and stunning natural landscapes. Elazığ provides a perfect blend of history and nature, making it an ideal stop for those looking to explore the deeper cultural layers of Turkey.

One of the city’s most serene attractions is Lake Hazar, a crystalline body of water nestled among the high mountains. The lake is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, offering activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming in the summer months. Its tranquil waters and scenic surroundings make it a perfect place for relaxation and photography.

Another major highlight in Elazığ is the Harput Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city. Dating back to the Urartian era and later expanded during the Roman and Ottoman periods, this castle is not only a testament to the region’s layered history but also provides spectacular panoramic views of Elazığ and the surrounding landscapes. Visiting Harput Castle offers an opportunity to step back in time and imagine the historical events that took place within its walls.

>> Buy a SIM to have internet in Türkiye before the trip

Additionally, the historical district of Harput, just a short distance from the modern city center, offers more to explore. Here, visitors can see a collection of ancient mosques, churches, and traditional houses, each telling its own story of the past. The Harput Ulu Mosque and the Church of the Virgin Mary are particularly noteworthy for their architectural beauty and historical significance.

The combination of Elazığ’s captivating natural beauty at Lake Hazar and its rich historical tapestry, exemplified by Harput Castle and the old town, makes this stop a comprehensive cultural experience. Travelers can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and delve into the ancient stories that shaped this part of Turkey, all while enjoying the modern amenities and hospitality that Elazığ has to offer.

Stop 4: Diyarbakır

Mesopotamia Express

Continuing on the Mesopotamia Express, the next destination is Diyarbakır, one of the oldest cities in the world and a place steeped in history and culture. Diyarbakır is renowned for its rich heritage, evident in its impressive basalt walls and numerous historical landmarks that date back to various civilizations including the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.

A major highlight of visiting Diyarbakır is exploring its massive, ancient walls. These walls, constructed from black basalt stone, are among the most well-preserved fortifications in the world and encircle the old city. Walking along these walls, visitors can see the old city gates, towers, and buttresses that tell the tale of Diyarbakır’s historical strategic importance.

>> Buy a SIM to have internet in Türkiye before the trip

Inside the city, the Diyarbakır Ulu Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Anatolia, is a must-visit. It was originally built as a church by the Romans before being converted into a mosque in the 7th century, symbolizing the city’s historical religious transformation. The mosque stands as a beautiful example of early Islamic architecture blended with Christian influences.

Another significant site is the Hasan Pasha Hanı, a beautifully restored inn that dates back to the 16th century. Today, it serves as a bustling marketplace where visitors can sip traditional Kurdish tea, shop for local handicrafts, and enjoy regional cuisine in the courtyard café, offering a glimpse into the vibrant daily life of Diyarbakır.

For nature lovers, the Hevsel Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are just a short walk from the city center. These gardens have been an agricultural haven for over two millennia and provide a peaceful escape from the urban environment. They also offer beautiful views back towards the city walls and the Tigris River.

Diyarbakır’s blend of historical depth, architectural wonders, and cultural richness makes it an invaluable stop on the Mesopotamia Express. Visitors leave with a deeper understanding of the diverse cultural and historical influences that have shaped this region of Turkey.

Travel in comfort and style

The Mesopotamia Express is designed to provide comfort and style, ensuring that travelers can enjoy the scenic views and historical insights in a relaxing environment. Spanning a route of 1,051 kilometers across the heart of Anatolia, the journey allows passengers to admire expansive landscapes, including the majestic Mount Erciyes. Each stop along the way lasts approximately 3-4 hours, giving travelers ample time to explore and immerse themselves in the local culture and history.

The train itself is equipped with modern amenities and provides detailed audio guides that enrich the travel experience with fascinating narratives about the places passing by. It can accommodate up to 180 passengers and consists of 9 sleeping carriages and a restaurant carriage, making long-distance travel both comfortable and convenient. Each cabin, designed to accommodate up to two people, includes seats that convert into beds, sinks, refrigerators, and wardrobes, ensuring a pleasant and well-equipped living space for the duration of the journey. Prices for this luxurious and immersive travel experience start from 9,000 TL (approximately €257) one way, making it a premium choice for exploring Turkey’s rich historical tapestry and stunning natural beauty.

>> You could be interested in “Top 5 Unforgettable Experiences in Cappadocia”

An opportunity to connect with Turkey’s heritage

This train journey is more than just a travel experience; it’s an opportunity to connect deeply with Turkey’s cultural heritage. The Mesopotamia Express allows travelers to immerse themselves in the history, cuisine, and traditions of Turkey’s eastern regions in a way that no other mode of travel can offer.

Conclusion: a new way to explore Turkey

The Mesopotamia Express invites everyone, from history enthusiasts and adventure seekers to cultural explorers, to embark on a journey that promises both discovery and relaxation. With its thoughtful stops and leisurely pace, this train route is an ideal way to discover Turkey’s cultural treasures. Whether you’re marveling at ancient ruins, enjoying the natural beauty, or engaging with local cultures, the Mesopotamia Express offers a unique and enriching way to explore the depths of Turkey’s rich history and vibrant present.

So, get ready to board the Mesopotamia Express soon and experience the journey of a lifetime through Turkey’s mesmerizing landscapes and storied past.

>> Buy a SIM to have internet in Türkiye before the trip


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