When you travel to Turkey, you will cross borders, cultures, and eras without leaving the nation. Turkey offers travelers a range of experiences that span the ancient world to the modern day. Now, with the introduction of the Mesopotamia Express, adventurers can immerse themselves in Turkish culture and landscapes like never before. Departing from Ankara, the capital, this tourist train meanders through the country’s inner, eastern, and southeastern Anatolian regions. It provides a window into the soul of Turkey.

A Voyage Through Time and Taste

The Mesopotamia Express takes travelers through millennia of history, landscapes that tell tales, and a showcase of Turkey’s culinary heritage. The train, which started operating on April 19 with its first passenger service from Ankara and made its return from Diyarbakır on April 21, offers an unmatched travel experience. The route includes stops at destinations such as Kayseri, Malatya, and Elazığ, each offering ample time for sightseeing and exploration.

The train itself is designed with the traveler’s comfort in mind. With nine sleeping cars and one dining carriage, it can accommodate up to 180 passengers. The cabins, designed for two, transform from seating to beds, ensuring a restful night’s sleep. Amenities include a fridge, sink, wardrobe, and heating, making the journey as comfortable as it is scenic. Fares start at TL 9,000 ($277) for the outbound trip and TL 8,000 ($246) for the return. 

Cultural Sights Along the Mesopotamia Express

The route boasts stops at key sites of historical and cultural significance. One such place is Kayseri, the old capital of Cappadocia, which is rich in Seljuk architecture and features mosques, tombs, and theological institutions dating back to the thirteenth century. The city is home to Turkey’s oldest Seljuk mosque, the Hunat Hatun Mosque complex, whose history stretches as far as 1238 and includes a working hamam. 

Then, there is Malatya. Visitors will find the UNESCO-designated Arslantepe Mound near this ancient city, an open-air museum with palaces, temples, mural paintings, and statues from 3000 BC. Malatya is also celebrated as the ‘land of apricots,’ supplying many of Turkey’s fresh and dried apricots. 

Following Malatya, travelers will get the opportunity to discover Elazığ, a sanctuary for food enthusiasts boasting one of Turkey’s most diverse cuisines. Some of the specialties are Kelecoş, a dish of fried beef and onion atop flatbread soaked in yogurt; Işkın yemeği, made with wild rhubarb; and Kömme, rounds of baked filo pastry filled with meat and walnut paste.

Boarding the Mesopotamia Express

Given the tremendous demand, anyone interested in taking this one-of-a-kind voyage should reserve their tickets in advance. From April 19 to June 14, the train leaves from Ankara, and from April 21 to June 16, it travels from Diyarbakır. For more information and to book your journey on the Mesopotamia Express, visit the official Turkish Railways website or contact local tour operators.