The Lake diminishing the fever of Nemrut

The explosion of Nemrut volcano led the formation of the largest lake in Turkey; Van and the deepest lake; Nemrut. Urartus, Armenians, Kurds, Arabians, Romans, Seljuks, Ottomans, Byzantines all met on this gorgerous land.

You must uncover the veil to see the beauty of dawn in Nemrut and sunset in Tuspa. Lake Van and the surrounding affords you the opportunity to see those magnificient moments.

The eastern part of lake Van where the city was located was used to be called Waini in Urartu language. The castle constructed in 9 BC at 80 m height from the lake by Urartian king Sardur the first was bearing the name Tuspa. One of the most remarkable structures around is the rock tomb of Argisti the first, outside which is a long inscription relating the events of his reign. Urartus had outstanding success in architecture having constructed unique temples, palaces, castles, waterways and artifical lakes despite the tough climate and geographical difficulties of the region. One of these predous structures is, Samran waterway, constructed in 8 BC which derives its water from the spring called Kirkdegirmen in Gurpinar plain.

Very few people know Tirsin pasture in Van. The rocky area of this 2.400 meters high pasture is an open air museum. There are thousands of pictures on thousands of rocks: Schematic pictures of taurus, bison dating back to ages between mezolithic times and bronze age. These pictures created by the hunters support the thesis that the area was thickly forested in prehistoric times.

Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey, is 1.646 meters high and covers an area of 3.713 km2. Itls surrounded by volcanic formations on the northern and western parts. Suphan mountain is situated in the north and Nemrut mt in the west of the lake. Sodium carbonate sedimentations form along the shores of the lake into which many rivers coming from these mountains empty. And the alluvial soil camed by these rivers created thin but fertile plains on its shores. Because the water enclosed here has no outflow, lake Van has bitter, salty and carbonated waters. The wavy shores and zigzags form many bays and capes around the lake. There are four islets in the northern section of the lake. These are: Akdamar, Carpanak, Gadir (Yaka) and Kus islets.

The church in Carpanak islet was made of a special stone with white and brown colours. Christian cemetry surrounds the 10th century church which nestles amiost groves of almond trees. The island of Akdamar is celebrated for the church built by Manuel, a 10th century monk and architect, for the Armenian King Gagik Ardzouni. In this craciform church with three entrances, you can see some of the finest examples of Armenian stone carving, depicting detailed scenes from the old and New Testaments and traces of East Christian art. The conical roof is covered with a dome inside. Some of the figures depicited on the reliefs are lions at Daniel's feet, David and Galiath, Adam and Eve, Jesus and saints. Hosap district is a little known region where Urartus lived. Hosap castle is a beautiful sight not to be missed. Onginally built by the Urartus, the castle was rebuilt on a larger scale by San Suleyman Bey in 1643, its precints stretching down to the shore of the River Hosap.

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Source: Ahmet Ozyurt, Atlas Travel Magazine August 1993.
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Melih Özbek