Van, known as ‘the Pearl of the East’ is a historical city in the southeast mountainous region of Turkey. The city had started to form in the area east of Lake Van. Around 10th century B.C., the pearl was declared as the capital of an Urartian Empire. It was called Tushpa at the time of its origin.
History of Van
The Urartian King, Sardur I constructed the Van Citadel near the original capital. Since, Van was a home to many empires, thus it is prominent in religious diversity. The capital of the Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan in the 6th century BC was situation in Van as well.
Due to the split of the Ottoman Empire in the post-WWI, it became a part of Turkey. The city rehabbed in the east of an ancient fort, known as Çavuştepe. The castle can be seen along the road leading to the city of Hakkâri.
Places to Visit
Furthermore, a 10th century Christian church lies near Akdamar Island in Lake Van. This lake lies almost a thousand miles east of the Turkey’s capital of Istanbul. A ring of beautiful mountains surround the lake, such as the volcanic Mount Süphan and the snow-capped İhtiyar Şahap Mountains of the south.
For travelers exploring the old city of Van, İkiz Kümbet (Twin Mausoleums) provides a perfect location for further exploration. Located beside the the Kaya Celebi Mosque, these vaults belongs to Teymur Pasha of Van Beylerbeyi and his brother Ahmet Pasha.
About 80 km from the city center, you can also visit the Muradiye Waterfalls near the Muradiye village. The road to Muradiye provides excellent sights of Mount Süphan. It is a perfect site for a picnic, enjoying the lush green nature around you.
A few other resting places for visitors are located in the vacancy of Van İskelesi. It is a beautiful scenic area, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can also visit Hoşap kalesi which is a large medieval castle located in the village of Güzelsu.
Overlooking the entire city, the Fortress of Van is a place worth seeing in this unique land of Turkey.
The local of Van are largely Kurdish in ethnicity. The city is prominent for it natural dyes, silver smiting, and unique breed of cats. This cat is a trademark species of Turkey. Its fur is pure white and typically has one amber and one blue eye, giving it a unique look.