Located in eastern Turkey the city of Van shares its name with the province and lake that it resides on. The stunning province has been a key place across many different cultures going back as far as 5000 BC. In 2010 the official population of Van was 367,419. Van Turkey tourism mainly revolves around visits to Lake Van, a large lake in eastern Turkey that spans 3,755 square kilometres.
One of the clearest and oldest items can be found in Van, at the ancient castle that overlooks the city. While the castle is offering a detailed look into the stunning and functional architecture, carved into the castle walls can be found large inscriptions written in cuneiform written about Xerxes the Great. These inscriptions have been dated back to approximately 8th and 7th century.
Following a modern disaster in 2011 much of the modern city was rebuilt with stronger materials but created a stunning aesthetic. An icon of the city and its history is the Museum found originally damaged in the 2011 earthquakes it was rebuilt into a bright glass building near the ancient castle.
The history of Van is a varied one with different cultures aiming to control this crossing point of trade and travel. One of the earliest was the Kingdom of Urartu who used the city of Van as its capital, evidence of this can be found at Van castle where Cuneiform inscriptions can be found writing about the ruler of Ancient Persian Xerxes the Great. While the kingdom flourished there was an almost perpetual war with their neighbouring rivals Assyrians however the Urartu Kingdom was ended after armies of Cimmerians, Scythians and Medes joined the battle.
Later a new group of Persians resettled here calling themselves Armenians, however, it was governed by the Persian and Median governor called a Satrap. This rule came to a short end when it was invaded by Arabs leading to the Armenians taking shelter on Akdamar Island on Lake Van, they chose to pay the tribute requested this did not end their time as the Byzantine and Persians took their place. The power of those in charge switching sides with the strength of the military in the region.
In 1071 the Selcuk Turks defeated the Byzantines north of Lake Van leading to their dominion of Eastern Anatolia until the Ottoman in 1468. During WWII an Armenian group worked with Russia with the aim to defeat the Ottomans in eastern Turkey in the aim to create an independent Armenian State. This led to unforgiving fighting of Turkish and Kurdish forces against the Armenian and Russian forces bringing destruction to the region including destroying a large section of the old city of Van. Russia maintained control of Van until an official armistice was agreed in 1917 with the new Turkish Republic. This hand over allowed for the Turkish people to plan and build the New city of Van only 4 Km from the remains of the old.
For those of you interested in visiting Van, we offer a 2-day tour to Lake Van exploring the wonders of Eastern turkey in a fully guided tour that includes accommodation.
Moreover, we offer many tours for you to explore the various cultural wonders of Eastern Turkey on our Eastern Turkey tour page. Amongst the tours offered therein can be found 2 comprehensive 12-day tours from Istanbul, including Eastern Turkey Explorer 12 day tour, and Treasures of Eastern Turkey 12 day tour both of which were handcrafted to bring you unique touring experiences that will have you wide-eyed and with your camera roll full, guaranteed.