Van: Turkey’s sixth largest city and cultural legacy rich in history, monuments, natural beauty and unique flavors

One of the border cities of Turkey, Van welcomes visitors from all over the world particularly for its culture and winter tourism.

The first settlement of the city goes back to 4000 BC. Van was successively ruled by the Urartus, the Byzantines and Turkish tribes until the Ottomans took over. Naturally the city has numerous monuments and religious sites belonging to these periods.

Van, where numerous historical legacies and values are preserved with great care, welcomes a great number of visitors every year. You will not regret getting acquainted with this amazing city.


Identified with Turkey’s largest lake Van, the city regularly welcomes a great number of tourists who want to explore the cities unique values.

Surrounded by natural wonders and a location of stunning beauty Van is a destination worth the visit. Particularly Lake Erçek is a natural wonder not to be missed.

Akdamar Island is perhaps one of the most intriguing of the precious legacies of Van province.  The church bearing the same name as the island was built sometime around 915-921 AD, and was dedicated to the Holy Cross.  Make sure to listen to the stories told by the locals if you visit this fairy tale island.

The Van Castle from the Urartu period and with a history going back to 840 BC is one of the most visited places in the province.  In addition, Cavustepe, Hosap, Ayanis castles attract the attention for their impressive architecture and scenery.

The crossroads of different religions and the home of a multitude of religious monuments, Van is surrounded with beautiful places of cultural and historic significance.

The Bartholomeus, Altinsac and Lim Monastery and Seven Churches in addition to the Hüsrev Pasha, Kaya Celebi and Izzettin Sir mosques are among the religious sites worth to sightsee.

The site of many archaeological excavations and monuments, Van takes visitors on a time travel to the ancient times. The Altıntepe, Kalecik and Yoncatepe necropolises and Tilkitepe, Karagunduz and Dilkaya mounds bear traces of the city’s earliest settlements. The Meher Gate, Yesilalic Rock Niche and Analı Kız (Mother and Daughter) Open Air Temple are some of the most important monuments.

Besides historical treasures Van offers also a wide range of activities. One can take part in a variety of cultural tours or just explore the beautiful natural sceneries.

You can take a sojourn into nature and enjoy the beautiful view of Kesis (Monk) Lake and visit Yalinca or Norduz plateau and fill your lungs with oxygen-laden fresh air. The province of Van is among the favorite locations of professional mountaineers as the region is rich in mountains such as Artos, Suphan, Erek and Nemrut Mountain. Mountaineers visiting the area can chose from a variety of climbing routes.  The Akdamar, Adir and Reşadiye regions are highly suitable places for water sports. Visitors can engage in hobbies such as scuba diving or bird watching as the area is also the habitat of different bird species like flamingos and gulls.

Van is also of great value in terms of health tourism as the region is home to a number of thermal springs located in the towns of Ercis, Catak and Baskale. Do not miss the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate at one of the thermal spas in the area.

The breakfast lounges of Van are another major tourist attraction as they are well known for offering a wide range of delicacies and breakfast options.   What’s more, the local cuisine includes a variety of delicacies such as kurut aşı (traditional soup with kashk), ciğer köfte (liver patties), tandır balığı (tandoori fish), çiriş pilav (pilaf made with herbs) and fried plums.

There a variety of reasons to explore this great city with a rich historical and cultural legacy. If you are intrigued by this city, Van is ready to welcome its guests any time of the year.


The site of Turkey’s largest lake, Lake Van, and popular for its unique culture and values, Van draws attention also for its events and festivals.

International Ercisli Emrah and Selvi Culture and Art Festival and Van – Asian Silk Road Tourism Trade and Industry Fair are among the major events organized in the city. There are also a variety of traditional events organized on smaller scale that are equally intriguing to tourists in the city. You will surely have a great time!

How can I go there?

Located in the Eastern Anatolia Region and an enjoyable holiday destination with advanced transportation facilities, Van is just a flight away.

The Van Ferit Melen Airport accommodates domestic flights from all major cities in Turkey.  The public transport vehicles and taxis stationed outside of the airport exit gates will be take you to any destination within the province.

Tourists who like to travel by road can take any of the intercity busses leaving from any city in Turkey to Van. The public transport and taxis waiting outside of the Van central bus terminal will be in your service.

Wouldn’t you like to take a break and embark on a journey that combines cultural pursuits with entertaining activities and delicious tastes?

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