The city of Van is one of the border cities of Turkey to Iran and it has the largest lake in Turkey. The city is constantly improving and hosting a lot of tourists now; especially after the frequent flights between Van and Istanbul. Historically, it was located at a geography where the east and west get in touch, so the trade in this city was very alive.
The most interesting places to visit in the city are The Urartian Castle and Akdamar Church.
The castle of Van is located in the center of the city and it has a long staircase to reach the summit. The castle has an amazing view of the city and the lake. There are several temples from 09th century B.C. from Urartian Empire. This empire was one of the strongest of the ancient times for a few centuries and they left amazing water channels, which are still in use by the locals. These channels are one of the oldest water systems in the world. The temples have blood channels as they sacrifice some animals in the castle and let the blood flow to the plateau to give fertility, which are very similar to Mayas. These channels are still visible. The castle has also a mosque from the Ottomans.
The most interesting place to visit is undoubtedly Akdamar Church and Island. The church is located in an island in Lake Van and it is possible to reach there by boats. After about 30 minutes boat-ride, you will be amazed with what you will see there.
Akdamar Church was built in between 915 and 921. It has amazing reliefs on its’ walls which include lots of stories from The Old Testament and lots of creatures. The church has some frescoes inside, but unfortunately they are not in a good shape. The interesting point about the frescoes is the look of the people. The frescoes have very different depictions of Jesus compared to the other churches in Turkey. The church was a very important Armenian church until recently and it has been restored by the Turkish Government. It is one of the most beautiful artifacts of Armenian architecture surviving in Turkey. The church is nowclosed for rituals, but it is possible to have some praying in the church with special permissions.
The breakfasts in Van are the most famous ones in Turkey as they offer over 40 different kinds of local products. The other unique point in Van is the Van Cat. The cats of the city has one blue and one green eyes that make them even more cuter.