Dogubayazit is a bizarre place. You have two options when you’re in and around it – either pass through it and change buses on route to Iran, or stay over there and do the sights. We had done 3 night buses in 3 nights that week, so decided to head to a hotel for a night before making the morning border crossing into Iran. While in Dogubayazit, the undoubted highlight is visiting Ishak Pasa Palace and so we headed out there.
Getting to Ishak Pasa Palace
Unless you’re cycling, hitch-hiking, walking or driving your own car, you basically have there options on getting to Ishak Pasa Palace:
1. Get a local mini-bus
2. Get a taxi
Mini-bus – The cheaper option of the local mini-bus costs 2 Turkish Lira for a single journey. It leaves from a bus stop on Dr. Ishmail Besikci Cadessi Street. There’s a bus stop on the right hand side as you face towards Iran. Ask your hotel staff or locals – Dogubayazit is not the easiest town to follow maps in – and the Lonely Planet maps are terrible and out of date. Mini-buses only really run in peak season, and are very intermittent. We could have waited hours so we had to bite the taxi bullet…
Taxi – The dearer option of course so a few tips are:
– Bargain the guy down to 20 Turkish Lira if you can for a return. They’ll start on 30 TL, or 15 TL one way. Use your skills and check with a few taxi drivers.
– Get more people to share your taxi so that if you do end up paying 30 TL at least it’s split between you.
– Tell the taxi driver in advance how long you want to stay at Ishak Pasa Palace
The dangers of Walking to Ishak Pasa Palace
Walking has its hazards, it’s uphill and the road are full of wild stray dogs. These dogs can attack humans so be aware of that if you’re walking it.
Visiting Ishak Pasa Palace
Here’s a guide to visiting Ishak Pasha Palace:
Entry fee – 5 Turkish Lira to enter (you get a ticket)
Opening Times – 8.30 am to 5 pm in the winter (with possible extension in the summer)
Distance from Dogubayazit – 6/7 kilometres
Pay your entry fee and go inside. Spend as long as you want to look around. It’s an elaborate complex, build amazing onto a hill with fantastic views of the mountains around and the town of Dogubayazit.
The Palace seems to be a unique mix of Ottoman, Seljuk, Persian, Armenian and Georgian architecture. My own opinion is that it was invaded a load of times and rebuilt by whatever clan of people invaded it. It seems to reflect Turkish and Ottoman architecture most in my opinion with its minarets, mosque and overall Middle Eastern decoration.
There’s a Mosque inside.
There’s a Hamam inside.
You can access all areas including kitchens, dining halls and servants living quarters. Once you’re done with the main palace, marvel at the ruined fortress built into the hillside, there are the other things to check out on the hill including a ruined fortress.
Most people end up in Iran after or before Dogubayazit and we were no different. If you’re in Dogubayazit, I definitely recommend getting to the Ishak Pasha Palace.
We stayed at the Hotel Tehran in Dogubayazit.