For some places on Earth as soon as you step foot there, you feel like you have walked through a portal and traveled back in time. Ahlat in the eastern province of Bitlis is one of those places. Located west of Lake Van – the largest lake in Turkey – approximately 44 kilometers north of the town of Tatvan, Ahlat looks like an open-air museum with its remains from various civilizations that once called these lands home for centuries. Thanks to its locals, this little eastern town managed to protect its history and accumulated culture that came into being after hundreds of years and became one of the recent members of the Cittaslow Network, which aims to preserve towns where living is good and easy-paced.
When you enter the town, it is impossible not to be impressed by the natural beauty that surrounds you. If it is a fine summer's day, you will find the most exquisite flowers dancing in the wind and if you happen to visit the town in winter, you will feel like you have stepped into a winter wonderland.
The locals' hospitality might surprise you if you have not been to rural Turkey. Turkish people proud of their hospitality thrive in these lands. If you are a tourist, the locals will do everything in their power to make you feel at home and it is possible to return home with a wide variety of gifts, ranging from locally produced food to handcrafts.
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