Iran and Turkey 2002 One level up
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Istanbul

We traveled overland and thus through Istanbul which served us again as a gate to the orient. My friends did not believe me when I told them we were still "in the west" but they were about to realize that soon. While in Istanbul, we visited the Blue Mosque and surroundings, spent a night at a cheap hotel and went to look for the cheapest bus tickets to Tehran.

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Kerman and Bam

We only took a taxi from the coach station to the train station in Tehran and immediately left for Kerman by train. The next day we went to visit the Bam fortress which unfortunately no longer exists after it was destroyed by a major earthquake in 2003. It is most unfortunate, the fortress was definitely the most interesting historical site I have ever seen.

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Shiraz and Persepolis

Even though I don't usually visit too many historical monuments when traveling, Persepolis made us visit two in a row (right after Bam). In order to go there we took a bus to Shiraz and strolled around the city before visiting the site of the ancient city.

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Isfahan

The last stop in Iran was Isfahan, a very pleasant and fairly green city situated on a river. There is a number of bridges on the river, all of them very nice and many serving also as fairly unconventional tea houses. The place sure was very refreshing after crossing so much of the surrounding deserts.

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Dogubayazitu and Van Areas

Back in Turkey we made a small trip to a castle near town Dogubayazit and a viewpoint of the the legendary Ararat mountain close by. Later we hitch hiked to the Van lake. Once there, we visited a crater of an extinct volcano right above it which has has two lakes in it too. The big blue one is fresh water, while the green is a thermal one.

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Kackar Dagi Range

The Dogubayazit and Van area was mountainous enough but still too dry. Therefore we went to a range which is closer to the Black sea and there is a plenty of water everywhere, to Kackar Dagi. In a few days we hiked up the highest peak and crossed the ridge towards the sea.