Things to Know

Van is situated by the Van Lake, and was the ancient Urartian capital of Tuspa. It is located in a fertile green oasis amid rocky mountain ranges in Eastern Anatolia. An impressively intact citadel stands on one of these peaks and dates back to the 9th century BC. There are steps carved into rock leading to the fortress, after which you can see some cuneiform inscriptions honoring Persian King Xerxes of 5th-century BC while descending. In its walls there are Urartian royal tombs worth visiting. The surrounding area spreads over with remains from Urartian civilization.

The ancient city has many mosques and tombs, such as the Ulu Mosque, Hüsrev Pasa Mosque, Kaya Çelebi mosque and ikiz kümbet. In the new city there is The Archaeological Museum which exhibits Urartian finds. For swimming holidays you may head for Edremit, 14 kilometers to the southwest. It is a recreation centre where you may do some sightseeing excursions. Gevas also contains a Seljuk graveyard and Halime Hatun Tomb.

The eruption of the Nemrut volcano led to the formation of what is now the largest lake in Turkey and also the deepest. The Urartians, Armenians Kurds, Arabs Romans, Seljuks Ottomans, Byzantines all met on this land.

One of the most notable features of Lake Van is it’s large size. The mountain peaks surrounding the lake offer a picturesque location for climbing, hiking, or hunting in an environment that offers both excitement and relaxation.

You can go to the beach, visit Urartian sites and explore Turkish culture. There are also some islands on Lake Van that will give you an interesting experience. The most important island is Akdamar Island with its 10th-century Akdamar Church decorated in Old Testament reliefs.

Carpanak Island is also interesting and merits a visit; it's 67 kilometers away from Van. Hosap Fortress is impressive, located 42 miles east on Hakkari Road. If exploring Urartu sites interests you, have a look at Cavustepe near Van along this route!

The Old City of Van and The Fortress of Van has been added to the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2016.

Places to Visit in Van