The city of Van is situated at an altitude of 1,700 m/ 5,580 ft on the eastern bank of Lake Van. The largest lake in Turkey is an inner sea that covers 3,713 km2 / 1,433 sq miles with a depth reaching 100 m / 328 ft. Because of the high salinity of the water, there is almost no life in the lake, fishes concentrating at the mouth of the rivers. In the region, there is a typical rare and ancient breed of cat called “ Turkish Van Cat ” (Van kedisi). All over the world the Van cat is recognized as an auburn white cat because of the auburn patterns on the top of the head and a faintly ringed auburn tail. But in Turkey they breed only what is called the real Turkish Van cat with a white coat. It can have both blue, both amber or one blue and the other amber eyes. This strong cat is beautiful, friendly, intelligent, faithful and lively. A rather surprising fact is that the Van Cat likes to swim in the lake. The shape of its head and semi-longhaired coat distinguishes it from the Turkish Angora Cat (Ankara Kedisi).
Van is linked to Ankara and İstanbul by daily flights.

Van, the ancient Tushpa and capital of the Urartu Kingdom founded in the 9C BC by Sarduri I, repelled the attacks of the Assyrians but was conquered in the 6C BC by the Medeans and later the Persians. In the 1C BC, the region became the center of the Armenian Kingdom founded by Tigran the Great, but it also was the stakes in the long-lasting conflict between the Romans and the Parthians, then between the Byzantines and the Sassanids. Following the Arab invasion in 643, the Armenians finally accepted the sovereignty of Bagdad which favored the Bagratids to the detriment of the Rechtuni. The Ardzruni, who replaced the latter, made Van one of the main cities of Vaspurakan. However it fell into the Seljuks’ hands after their victory over the Byzantines (Manzikert 1071), and into Tamerlane’s hands in 1387. It joined the Ottoman Empire in 1534. The city having been devastated during the combats between the Turks and the Russians, a new modern city has been built very near.

Places of interest in the city:

The Citadel
was linked to the lower town by 1,000 rock-cut steps. The foundations are Urartian but the walls are a succession of Armenian, Seljuk, Byzantine and Ottoman constructions. In******ions in cuneiforn ******s were engraved by Urartian kings near a cave where funerary chambers can be seen. Other in******ions in Babylonian, Persian and Medean pay homage to Persian King Xerxes. From the citadel there is a panoramic view over the lake and the ancient city.
Sunset over Lake Van from the Citadel should not be missed.

Hüsrev Paşa Camii
is located on the lake side

Ulu Cami
,Kaya Çelebi Camii, İkiz Kümbet are all located in the old town

The Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum
is a complement to the visit of the Urartian sites.

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