The Doĝu Ekspres — the Eastern Express — winds through Turkey from Istanbul to Kars, near the border with Armenia. Without any delays it takes 36 hours — though everyone expects it to be more like two days. Geographically, it leaves the Marmara Plain, rises up to the Anatolian Plateau, enters the eastern mountain ranges and ends up on the edge of the steppe that spreads to Siberia. Culturally it is a journey through Turkey’s complex social diversity and its history as well. It leaves the modern industrialization of Istanbul for large scale agriculture and ends up in a part of the world where ancient farming methods are still practiced if not preferred. Scattered along the way are the remains various empires and cultures have left as signs they once claimed territory as theirs: Greek, Roman, Seljuk, Ottoman, Armenian and Russian. It is a part of the world where every square metre has been fought for, brought under control and often as not abandoned.
— John Toohey, Montreal, Canada