Early last year we brought you an article about the growing popularity of trips to the East of Turkey on the Kurtalan Express.

The Kurtalan Express: A daylong journey to southeastern Anatolia

The Eastern Express (Doğu Ekspresi) also runs from Ankara to eastern Kars province and its popularity grew when people started sharing photos of the scenery on social media.

The Eastern Express is now so popular that a new train will be put into service solely for the purpose of tourism as people trying to reach eastern Turkey by train can no longer find tickets.

According to State Railways, 271,120 passengers rode on the Eastern Express from January 1 to December 18, 2018. The seats are booked as soon as tickets go on sale and the extra wagons that are added to the express cannot cover demand.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said “The new train service will aim to meet the demands and expectations of international visitors and could easily make the region an international tourism destination. The existing Eastern Express can continue running and the new train can be used by tourists”

He went on to say that talks are being held with the Minister of Transport, Cahit Turhan, to organize an alternative train service on the same route.

Drone photos: The Eastern Express

A drone recently snapped photos during the Eastern Express’ 24-hour trip from the capital Ankara to eastern Kars, capturing its route on winding mountain paths, through narrow tunnels and over lonely bridges.

After leaving Ankara, the train makes brief stops in the eastern cities of Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan, Erzurum before reaching Kars.

Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Photo Credit: Daily Sabah
Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Photo Credit: Daily Sabah
Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Photo Credit: Daily Sabah
Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Photo Credit: Daily Sabah
Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Photo Credit: Daily Sabah

At the end of the trip, passengers stretch their legs – or take a troika ride – at the frozen Lake Çıldır in Kars.

Frozen Lake Çıldır - a winter destination for the adventurous
A troika is a traditional Russian sleigh and popular for travelling across the frozen lake

It’s worth taking a trip at other times of year too and enjoy the stunning view of the countryside when it isn’t covered in snow.

Enjoy a journey to Eastern Turkey on the new Eastern Express
Anatolian Plateau. Photo Credit: yepyep/Flickr

For prices or to book a ticket on the current Eastern Express please visit www.ambertravel.com

Sources: Daily Sabah/Culture Trip

 

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