When planning your Turkey tours, one destination that should undoubtedly be on your list is the mesmerizing Lake Van. Located in Eastern Anatolia, Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and the second largest in the Middle East. This breathtaking body of water spans across the Van Province, offering both stunning natural beauty and rich historical significance. With its mesmerizing shores and unique characteristics, Lake Van is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable adventure.
Situated in the eastern part of Turkey, Lake Van is nestled between the provinces of Van and Bitlis. It covers a vast area, with its shorelines stretching across multiple towns and villages. The lake is fed by numerous rivers and maintains its water levels through rainfall and snowmelt. With its serene atmosphere and picturesque surroundings, Lake Van is a true gem of Eastern Anatolia.
Lake Van holds significant historical importance, as it has witnessed various civilizations and empires throughout the centuries. It was a prominent region during the Urartian Kingdom, an ancient civilization that flourished around 1000 BC. The remains of Urartian castles and settlements can still be found on the shores of the lake, providing a glimpse into the past. Additionally, Lake Van was a part of the Ottoman Empire and played a strategic role in trade and transportation throughout history.
One of the most notable features of Lake Van is its volcanic origin. The lake is situated within a crater formed by ancient volcanic activity, adding to its unique charm. The magnificent Mount Nemrut, an extinct volcano, overlooks the lake and offers breathtaking panoramic views. Lake Van is also known for its high salinity and alkaline nature, making it a saline soda lake. This characteristic creates a distinct ecosystem and contributes to the lake's striking turquoise color.
One of the reasons Lake Van gained worldwide recognition is the presence of the Van Cat, also known as the Turkish Van. This unique breed of cat is native to the region and is famous for its striking white fur and different-colored eyes. The Van Cat is not only an adorable companion but also has a special relationship with Lake Van, as it is often seen roaming near the shores.
The city of Van, located on the eastern shore of Lake Van, is a major cultural and historical hub. It features a rich heritage influenced by various civilizations, including the Urartians, Armenians, and Ottoman Empire. Van Castle, situated on a hill overlooking the city, offers panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding landscape. Exploring the city of Van provides a deep understanding of the region's history and cultural diversity.
Nestled within Lake Van, Akdamar Island is a captivating destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. It is renowned for the Church of the Holy Cross, a medieval Armenian church adorned with intricate stone carvings. The church stands as a testament to the Armenian heritage in the region and is a popular pilgrimage site for Armenians. The tranquil atmosphere of Akdamar Island, combined with its historical significance, makes it a must-see spot when visiting Lake Van.
Situated on the south shore of Lake Van, Tatvan serves as a major gateway to the lake and its surrounding attractions. The town offers a range of accommodation options, from cozy guesthouses to luxurious hotels. Exploring the streets of Tatvan provides a glimpse into the local culture and traditions, with its bustling markets and charming cafes.
Tatvan and its vicinity offer a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on hiking and trekking adventures in the nearby mountains, taking in the awe-inspiring natural beauty. Boat trips are also popular, allowing tourists to explore the lake and its hidden gems, such as remote coves and secluded islands.
Tatvan's close proximity to Lake Van makes it an ideal base for exploring the lake. The town provides easy access to various points of interest, including Akdamar Island and the city of Van. Whether you prefer to relax on the sandy beaches, delve into the region's history, or indulge in local cuisine, Tatvan offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.
Lake Van's volcanic origins add to its allure, as the lake is situated within a massive crater. The ancient volcanic activity shaped the landscape, creating a breathtaking scenery that captivates visitors. Mount Nemrut, the dormant volcano overlooking the lake, serves as a stunning backdrop and invites nature lovers and photographers to capture its beauty.
The Urartian Kingdom, which thrived in the region centuries ago, left a lasting mark on Lake Van and its surroundings. The remnants of Urartian castles and fortifications dot the shoreline, offering a glimpse into the kingdom's architectural achievements. Exploring these ancient ruins allows visitors to connect with the region's past and appreciate the rich heritage that Lake Van holds.
Lake Van's high salinity and alkaline nature create a unique phenomenon known as a soda lake. The lake's water contains a significant concentration of minerals, giving it a distinct saline taste. This unique characteristic has a profound impact on the lake's ecosystem, supporting the existence of various flora and fauna that thrive in this specific environment.
While Lake Van captures much attention, the surrounding Van Province and the city of Van offer additional attractions and cultural experiences. The city of Van boasts a vibrant bazaar, where locals trade a variety of goods, including traditional handicrafts and spices. Van Castle, located on top of a hill, provides visitors with a panoramic view of the lake and the city.
Lake Van's strategic location has long played a role in connecting different regions. Its proximity to Iran and Anatolia has facilitated trade and cultural exchange throughout history. The lake has served as a significant transportation route, contributing to the economic development of the surrounding areas.
Lake Van and its surroundings hold significant importance in Armenian heritage and history. Armavir, an ancient Armenian city, was once located near the lake and was an essential cultural and religious center. Exploring Armavir and its archaeological sites provides insight into the region's Armenian influence and the remnants of its glorious past.
A packed tour from Istanbul to the magical landscapes of Cappadocia, the ancient Silk Road through Konya, calcium travertines at Pamukkale, amazing ruins at Ephesus, beautiful Mediterranean coastline and the Gallipoli peninsula.
This tour combines ancient Athens and visits to Greece's beautiful Aegean islands with some of Turkey's most impressive and important highlights, including Ephesus, Cappadocia and Istanbul.
This week long Turkey tour explores bustling Istanbul, coastal Kusadasi, the ruins at Ephesus and Hieropolis, Pamukkale's calcium travertines, Silk Road caravanserais, and the amazing scenery and underground cities of Cappadocia.
Need some travel inspiration or looking for some handy travel tips? Our blog provides excellent insight into our travel destinations - from tour updates to country guides, packing lists to little known things to do, you'll find it all in our travel blog.
Experience the rich legacy of Rumi at Mevlana Museum in historic Konya. Discover the captivating artifacts showcasing the life of one of history's greatest poets and spiritual leaders.
Discover the historic Mount Ararat in Armenia, believed to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Explore this volcanic wonder, the highest peak in Turkey, near Eastern Turkey.
Explore Mount Nemrut, a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site with the archaeological legacy of the kingdom of Commagene and King Antiochus in Anatolia.
Explore the stunning landscapes around Mount Suphan, Süphan Dağı, and Lake Van. Discover the majesty of Ararat, the third-highest mountain.
Explore Kusadasi: Ancient City, Beach Bliss, and Attractions like Ephesus, Pigeon Island, and House of Virgin Mary. A Turkish gem on the Aegean Coast.
Uncover the allure of Konya as the whirling dervish spins tales of Anatolian heritage through captivating traditions and mesmerizing dances.
Explore the ancient ruins of Kekova, Turkey, a must-visit gem for history buffs. Discover the sunken city's secrets and uncover its fascinating past.
Discover the captivating allure of Kaymakli Underground City in Cappadocia. Unearth the secrets beneath, exploring Kaymaklı's unique underground marvels.