The Toros (Taurus) Mountains which parallel Turkey's southern border and the Black Sea Mountains in the north join together to form a mighty mountain range which defines the country's eastern border. The tremendous diversity of the eastern and southeastern lands surprises travelers: he red ochre plateau of Erzurum; the forests, waterfalls, and green pastures of Kars and Agri: the permanent snow-cap on biblical Mount Agri (Ararat); the immense Lake Van with its deep blue waters. Dwellings and modes of life also vary greatly in this large region. Small, earth-roofed houses; build close to the ground typify houses around Kars; Despite a generally austere life, the people of the area are generous and hospitable.
The region's long and turbulent history has left monuments to its various civilizations : Byzantine monasteries and churches, Seljuk mausoleums and caravanserais, elegant Ottoman mosques and hilltop citadels. To the inveterate traveller and lover of adventure, this region of Turkey fascinates, astonishes and informs.