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Mount Ararat General Info

Background

The time in Turkey is GMT +2 hours

The country takes its name from the Turkmen people who conquered much of Central Asia during the 13th century. Turkey is a huge country, situated at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and forming a bridge between Europe and Asia. To the north is the 1500 kilometre-long Black Sea coastline, whilst to the south lies the Mediterranean. Turkey's biggest peak is Mount Ararat, located in the far eastern district of Eastern Anatolia.

Istanbul and Dogubeyazit

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, forming the country's economic, cultural, and historical heart. With a population of 13.4 million, the city is at the centre of the second-largest urban area in Europe and among the world's largest cities. Straddling the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, Istanbul is a transcontinental city, with one third of its population living in Asia but its commercial and historical centre in Europe.

In 2010 Istanbul was named a European Capital of Culture, making it the world's tenth-most popular tourist destination. The city's biggest draw remains its historic centre listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but its cultural and entertainment hub have moved across the city's natural harbour, the Golden Horn, to the Beyoğlu district. Most Ararat trekkers fly in an out of Istanbul.

Doğubeyazıt is a small frontier town with a predominantly Kurdish population serving an impoverished rural area on a high altitude, dry plain. It is the largest town in the vicinity of Mount Ararat and the start point for our climb. There is high meadow for grazing on the sides of the surrounding mountains while the plain is used for grazing and for growing grain and grasses the mountainsides are insufficiently forested for agriculture.

The area has long been politically and militarily unstable, but the security situation is now sufficiently improved that tourists can visit safely. Whilst most people come here to climb Ararat, the other major tourist attraction’s is Ishak Pasha Palace.

Ishak Pasha Palace is located 5 km outside the city. It is the last large monumental structure of the Ottoman Empire in the ‘Tulip Period’ and one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture in Turkey. Well worth a visit.

How to get there/ travel info

Getting to Dogubeyazit usually involves flying to Istanbul Atatürk Airport, spending the night in Istanbul and then catching a 2hr internal flight to Van in the East of Turkey. International and Internal flights use Atatürk Airport.

Our crew will meet you at the airport and take you by road to Dogubeyazit. It’s a 2 ½hr drive.

There are countless hotel options if you are staying overnight in Istanbul before your internal flight. My groups usually use the Hotel Gunes (www.guneshotel.com.tr).

Most people (including UK citizens) will require a Visa in order to enter Turkey. This costs about £10 and can be attained at the airport.

Climate/ Climbing Season

The climbing season on Ararat is June to September, but the weather can be unreliable throughout.

In Istanbul it can be hot and humid during the summer months with temperatures regularly approaching 30 degrees centigrade. In the mountainous areas to the east of the country, the air is drier and the temperature range much greater. Although situated some 1700 metres higher than Istanbul, temperatures in Van can be quite similar.

The weather on Mount Ararat during this time of the year is usually sunny, warm and dry. In the winter and spring, cold and harsh conditions prevail and climbers occasionally face blizzards and turbulent weather. The last 400 meters are snow-covered year-round.

At night at our highest camp, expect the temperature to fall to freezing point. In common with many mountain areas, cloud can build during the day resulting in late afternoon rain. Expect sub-zero temperatures on the night-time climb to the summit.

Currency

Turkey's unit of currency is the Turkish New Lira (TRY). It is not necessary and not desirable to purchase Turkish Lira outside the country. Inflation here is very high and the nearer to the point of spend you obtain your Lira the better. One of the easiest and often cheapest ways of obtaining cash is from ATMs using credit or debit cards. If you take your travel money in cash this is best carried in the form of US dollars which are readily exchanged throughout the country. Credit cards can be used to purchase some goods and services in Istanbul and many large towns and are particularly useful for more expensive souvenirs.

Visa & Trekking Permits


A passport with 6 months remaining validity is required. Visas are required by US, Canadian, UK and most European passport holders (but not by nationals of France, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland or Sweden).

Visas are valid for stays of up to 90 days. The fee is £10 for UK passport holders and US$45 for most other nationalities requiring visas.

Citizens of the UK, Canada, USA and most EU countries can apply for an e-visa in advance of travel at www.evisa.gov.tr. After filling in the form online (one for each applicant) you can make payment by credit or debit card and the visa is sent to your email address within 24 hours. You will be required to print your e-Visa, show it to airport officials and customs officers and keep it with you throughout your stay. Alternatively you can obtain your visa on arrival at the airport.

Other nationalities should check the visa requirements with the Turkish embassy or consulate in their own country.

Note for Clients on Mount Ararat ONLY, we also require that you send us the following information by e-mail or by post at least 4 weeks prior to departure:

Your place of birth

Your Father’s full name

Your Mother’s full name

Please note that Mount Ararat permits will not be issued without these details.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in the case of recent alterations.

The area around Ararat was closed to tourists between 1980 and 2001 (during the Kurdish insurgence), it has been reopened to visitors but is now under strict government control. All trekkers destined for Ararat need to apply for a climbing permit at least 3 months prior to departure. We will obtain permit on your behalf.

Vaccinations and medical

No special vaccinations are required for Turkey. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.

This is not a long or sustained trekking holiday. However, the height gain of very nearly 3000 metres (10,000 feet) from the village of Eli to Ararat’s summit is strenuous and can give rise to altitude related medical issues.