19 Favourite Photos From the Southeast of Turkey

In 2012, I started to regret my decision to focus on one country for my travel writing. The buzz of learning about new aspects of Turkey had started to wear off.

New experiences were harder to find because after ten years as an expat in Turkey, I was used to daily life. I had based myself on the west coast and apart from the landscapes; it was guaranteed that each area was more or less the same.

The only thing to do was to start exploring the east. I started doing this in June by heading to the northeast region to see Trabzon, Kars, Macahel and Artvin. The trip was exactly the kick up the arse that I needed.

I found what I was looking for; different culinary experiences, varied traditions and an introduction to the cultures of Laz and Hemsin people of Turkey.

The history was different and even listening to the regional dialects of the language was an eye opener. My passion had been restored and I was eager to follow it up with another visit.

This time, I focused on the southeast and three cities in particular; Gaziantep, Urfa and Mardin. None of them disappointed and all of them surprised me.

I found in these destinations a mixture of three cultures ; Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish.

I took over 1000 pictures of the food, people and places. I narrowed them down to 19 which I think portray my experiences of something new and different. I hope you like the photos too.

Photos from the Southeast of Turkey

Ayn-I-Zeliha Lake in Urfa. Surrounded by tea gardens, it is a calm and peaceful place in a busy city

Ayn-i-Zeliha lake

Not sure if it is traditional but I loved this decor in my hotel in Urfa

Decor in Urfa

A house in Midyat that is often used by television companies to film Turkish soap operas

House in Midyat

The gate keeper of the Kasimiye Medresesi – A 500 year old Islamic school that is now being turned into a museum

kasimiye medresesi

A mosque in Gaziantep

Mosque in Gaziantep

The pool of Abraham, known in Turkish as Balikli Gol. Filled with carp fishes that are said to be sacred because of the pools connection to Abraham

Pool of Abraham

Mevlid – i  – Halil Magarasi – Inside is the cave which is said to be the birthplace of Abraham

Mosque and Cave of Abraham

Cotton picking time in the Southeast

Cotton picking in the fields

Harran Beehive Houses

Harran beehive houses

Hasankeyf which will soon disappear as the government has plans to flood it for a reservoir

Hasankeyf

A local shoe sewer in Gaziantep

Shoe sewer gaziantep

Sunset in Urfa

sunset urfa

A teashop in Gaziantep

tea shop gaziantep

A view of Urfa

View of Urfa

A cave cafe in Gaziantep

Cave cafe in Gaziantep

Gaziantep castle

Gaziantep castle

Deyrulzafaran Monastery near Mardin used by Syriac orthodoxs

Deyrulzafaran Monastery

View of Mardin

Mardin

A tobacco seller in Gazinatep

tobacco seller gaziantep

Readers question : Which photo is your favourite?

 

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Natalie

Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an eccentric,Internet addict with a passion for history. I really shouldn't travel because I can not read maps and always lose my way! But hey, that never stops me and it is part of the fun! Leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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Comments

  1. sharyn minehan says

    oh Natalie,,these are fantastic..i have 2 choose the pool of Abraham and the other one, but really like them all..could sit here all day viewing them. many thanks. sharynxx.

  2. tracey arpaci says

    Lake in Antep surrounded by tea gardens….where else in a busy city would you see that
    If you took over 1000 pics Nat please add more, 19 is not enough :)

  3. says

    I find the idea of a cave cafe fascinating…so that was my favorite photo.

    I have a very well traveled friend who had some negative travel experiences in the South East of Turkey…do you feel that it is safe to travel there for westerners?

    I am not normally an alarmist about a place, but when I know someone who had negative experiences, I like to try to get the real scoop.
    Shanna Schultz wrote about..Our Visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

  4. says

    Fantastic photos! I’ve just returned from Istanbul, which left me wanting to explore more of Turkey. And now these photos only add to that – thank you!

  5. says

    Wow, I only explored the north of Turkey in the month I was there and loved it. But this is stunning. Would love to go back and see the cotton fields (do you know what season they are in bloom in?)

    The decor of the your hotel in Urfa and the picture of Hasankeyf are beautiful. I’m aching to go to Turkey now. Sharing this post :)
    Shivya wrote about..Ask Me Anything!

  6. says

    Do you know the significance of underground cafes? If I remember it was a cultural tradition to get out of the heat during mid day, merchants retiring to the cool caves below the surface.

    I might not be remember it right.

  7. says

    Love these photos, Natalie – looks like you had a MUCH more enjoyable experience in Gaziantep than I had. The cave cafe looks pretty cool, and Sanliurfa looks soooo pretty – I was umming and aahing on whether or not to go there, but decided against it ultimately.

    Any more plans to explore the south? Malatya was by far my favourite city in Turkey, and I’d planned to go to Diyarbakir before I got crazy sick.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom wrote about..Malaysia’s Big Breakfast – The Nasi Lemak

  8. says

    Absolutely gorgeous! Too many great pictures to pick a favorite! Every time I read your site, I long to go back to Turkey. It’s such an amazing country, just from the little I saw in April, and I’d love to explore other parts of the country. Thanks for showing us areas that aren’t so famous.

  9. Nauman says

    Amazing photography. It shows all the colors & rich culture that Turkey has to offer. Since you are based in Turkey now have you travelled to Edirne I heard its a great place for a holiday.

  10. Alex Anderson says

    Its a shame about Hasankeyf, I was there last in 2009. I wish I could go again when I come next week, but it will have to wait for another time. I’m bringing my girlfriend with me and this will be her first time to beautiful Turkey.

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