At first sight, the central Anatolian plateau seems an unpromising prospect. A large area is virtual desert, while much of the central plateau is steppe, blitzed by cold and heavy snowfall in winter and suffering water shortages in summer. Yet this region holds two landscapes any traveller to the country should visit – the azure Lakeland, where the lakeside village of Eğirdir is a popular starting point for hikers following the St Paul Trail, and the unique rock formations of Cappadocia, one of Turkey’s highest-profile tourist attractions. The cities too are well worth exploring. Kayseri holds a series of towering fortresses and venerated tombs, while Konya, once the capital of the Selçuk Empire, is the home of the Whirling Dervish sect, the Mevlevî, and the epicentre of Sufic mystical practice and teaching throughout the Middle East.
Further east, the area between the extinct volcanoes of Erciyes Dağı and the Melendiz range is