The ridge abruptly rises near the lake’s edge. It is more than a half mile long and hundreds of feet high. The flat ground extending from its base (undoubtedly a flood plain from more remote times) renders the promontory all the more stunning. Walls and towers cling to the rock like barnacles. I wonder why these man-made constructions were thought necessary. The plunge to the flat is so vertical, so awful, that the ridge ably protects itself. 

Lost Love, Lost Kingdom

The road unwinds outside our vehicle. We do the same on the inside, quietly resting after our experience of Ağrı Dağı. My head bumps against the glass, eyes half closed. This, despite the extraordinary landscape.

Where the Road Ends

The place where the road ends is the place where the trail begins. For us, that place is called Çevirme. Our top-heavy transport has not traveled far from Doğubeyazıt. I look at my watch. It has been less than an hour since leaving the soldiers of the gendarmerie and the security of the asphalt surface. In that time, we skirted the east side of the Şeyhli Marsh on a road of packed earth and rock. Uraz told us that we were fortunate this day to have a dry run. Rain can reduce this road to an impassable mudhole. No one doubted him. 

Between Van and Iran

On the eastern end of Turkey rests Lake Van, the largest lake in the country. It has many claims to fame: a deep history, a saline character, and even a “Loch Ness” style monster rumored to haunt its depths. Of these, it is the first that brings us here (although the third is certainly interesting!). In the first millennium BC, a kingdom remembered as Urartu was centered in the region. In fact, the capital of the kingdom was erected on a rocky knob rising above the water’s edge. A scramble over these ruins is is goal for another day, as is additional attention to the mysterious Urartians.