A Visit to Van
Van is a city located in Eastern Turkey, situated on Lake Van. A little further east rests the border of Turkey and Iran. The city is relatively small in population, and is somewhat unique because of the fact that its demographic has a Kurdish majority and Turkish minority. The Kurdish people are a displaced ethnic group, without a specific country of origin, somewhat similar to the Gypsies. They have a rich traditional culture, and are known for the unique handicrafts they produce.
Laden with history and culture, Van is one of the cities you must visit with its natural beauty. You can buy your ticket to Van with the most affordable price at flypgs.com Founded as Tuşba during the Urartu civilization, the city was one of the most important centers of this empire. It had been taken under control by various civilizations. The vast majority of Armenians and Kurds during the Ottoman period is the reason why it has such a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Having been heavily affected by the earthquake in 2011, the life in city has been slowly turning to normal.
Transportation in Van
- Van is located close to Highway D300 which spans from the border with Iran, west into the heart of Turkey.
- Van is also connected to an Iranian railway used to transport goods, as well as passengers, between the two countries.
- Interestingly, there is no railway to take trains around Lake Van. Instead they need to be loaded onto a train ferry and sailed to the other side!
Three Foods to Try in Van
- Kuru Fasulye: This is a stew made with white beans, a unique crop grown throughout southern Turkey.
- Manti: Thought to be brought into Turkey from nomadic tribes, this is a famous stuffed dumpling dish. Rich dough filled with minced meat, topped with butter and spices. Delicious!
- Turkish Eggplant: Eggplant is the most popular vegetable to compliment to Turkish meals. Seasoned in a vast variety of styles; even if you aren’t a big fan of the plant you can be sure to find an eggplant dish you end up liking!
More on Lake Van
Lake Van is the biggest lake in the country of Turkey. It is filled by numerous streams flowing from nearby mountains. The lake is unique because it has no outlet, which is very uncommon for lakes of similar size. Cooled volcanic rock from an earlier eruption blocked its outlet long ago. It also has a high salt content, which keeps it from freezing in all but the most frigid temperatures.
Van airports served
- Van Ferit Melen Airport (VAN)
More information about Van
Food and Drink
More Places to Visit
Neighborhoods of Van
Having been providing civil aviation service since 1943, Van Ferit Melen Airport is 8km from the city center. There are many ways to go to the city center from the airport, the most ideal of which is to get on minibus passing by the junction 1km away from the terminal building. If you can walk, this is the most affordable way to travel to the city center.
Moreover, there are circle-trip public busses moving at 20- and 50-past every hour in front of the airport security force. This option is very affordable as well. Though taxi is a bit expensive, you can travel for a fair price since it’s a very short distance between the airport and city center.
Another way to travel around the city is to rent a vehicle. You can visit flypgs.com for details.
Now that you’re in Van, you must root around the bazaars and buy some natural products because shopping in Van means going on a hunting spree in bazaars.
- Russian Bazaar - This bazaar sells products which were illegally brought here from Russia after the Soviet Union fell apart. It’s a place where you can find interesting souvenirs. Products brought across the Iranian border are charming as well.
- Cumhuriyet Street - On this street, you can find silver niello works which is a traditional art of jewelry in Van as well as carpets and rugs, which is another important product of the region, at galleries.
- Cheesemaker’s Bazaar - If you’d like to buy some famous otlu peynir (herby cheese) this is the place. It’s hard to choose from all the cheesemakers.
Food and Drink in Van
Here’s a list of the places you can eat in Van, which is famous for its kebab, table-served skewers, beyti kebab, liver and tulumba (syrup-soaked pastry) dessert sold in carts in the streets.
- Sütçü Fevzi - We suggest you order eggs with braised lamb meat besides dairy products at Sütçü Fevzi, which is one of the famous destinations for a traditional Van breakfast. Address: Cumhuriyet Caddesi Eski Sümerbank Sokak No: 11, Tel: 0432 216 66 18
- Sütçü Kenan - Sütçü Kenan is another place famous for its breakfast. They have great water buffalo cream and fig jam. After such a nutritious breakfast, you’ll have plenty of energy to explore the city. Address: Cumhuriyet Caddesi Kahvaltıcılar Sok. No: 7 / A, Tel: 0432 216 84 99
- İkizler Lahmacun - Famous for its pitta bread and lahmacun (a kind of pizza with spicy meat filling), this restaurant is ideal for a quick fix. They also serve casserole and pizza. Address: Milli Egemenlik Cad. Bayındırlık Müdürlüğü karşısı, Tel: 0432 214 26 26
- Birkoç Sac Kavurma - We suggest you try pilaf at this famous place known for its sac kavurma (dices lamb fried on iron plate). The menu has these two dishes and, of course, cacik (tzatziki). The portions are rather small but service is very satisfying. Address: Cumhuriyet Cad. Kahvaltıcılar Sok. No:6, Tel: 0432 216 10 29
- Sultan Palace - Located inside a modern and airy place, the restaurant apparently cares about children since it has a playground inside. It also appeals to all palates with its rich menu. Tel: 0432 210 23 00
- Mevlana Kebap Salonu - The cook prepares delicious kebabs by the fireside. The options are limited but they all taste great. You should definitely try it! Address: Bahçıvan Mah. Cumhuriyet Cad. 6. Sok No: 3/A, Tel: 0432 214 82 88
- Hanedan Sofrası - Though the interior isn’t as pompous as the name (hanedan means dynasty) implies, this is a fairly popular place with excellent dishes. You should especially try tas kebabı (lamb stew with vegetables) or köy kavurması (village-style stew). You can also have içli köfte (kibbeh) for starters. Address: Maraş Cad. Kurtuluş Parkı Karşısı Tatvan, Tel: 0432 216 47 50
- Kervansaray - After they adorn your table with side dishes and salads, you can continue with tandoori. They have such a diverse menu that you might forget to try a few. Address: Cumhuriyet Cad. Merkez Bank Karşısı Bozbay İş Merkezi Kat: 1, Tel: 0432 215 94 82
- Halil İbrahim Sofrası - This place has a rich menu as well. Don’t forget to try unique Van delicacies. We suggest you definitely try ayran aşı (a yoghurt soup with wheats and chickpeas). Address: Cumhuriyet Cad. Ziraat Bankası yanı, Tel: 0432 210 00 70
- Merkez Et Lokantası - Merkez Et Lokantası may be a bit harder to find but it has some culinary surprises. Lamb tandoori tastes wonderful. Address: Alipaşa Mah. Erciş yolu, Tel: 0432 216 97 01
- Anatolia Kaburga Evi - Located on the Edremit coastal road, Anatolia serves delicious ribs and mouth-watering meat dishes. Address: Sahil Yolu Edremit Tel: 0432 312 22 56
- Huzur - Renovated after the earthquake, the place resembles restaurants with fireside cooking areas. Address: Hastane 2. Cad. Çağ Oteli Yanı Tatvan, Tel: 0432 216 46 43
- Aşiyan Ev Yemekleri - You should definitely try Kurdish meatballs at this restaurant where you can try many local tastes. We suggest you try their stews as well. Address: Kazım Karabekir Cad. Dervişoğlu Apt. Altı Menzil Ekmek Fabrikası Bitişiği Tatvan, Tel: 0432 212 41 90
Accommodation in Van
Van is home to many clean and comfortable accommodation options that appeal to all economies.
- Büyük Asur Oteli - With its central location, unlimited Wi-Fi access, and satellite connection and mini bars in all rooms, this is a hotel which answers to all your needs. Address: Cumhuriyet Caddesi Turizm Sokak No:5, Tel: 0432 216 87 92
- Elite World Hotel - The most luxurious hotel in Van. You can find everything you need at this hotel which is home to seven meeting rooms, technical equipment, pool, and fitness and health clubs. Ideal for business trips. Address: Bahçıvan Mah. Kazım Karabekir Bulvarı No: 67, Tel: 0432 484 11 11
- Tamara Otel - Focusing on wide spaces and comfort, Tamara is one of the most popular hotels in Van. All rooms have Internet connection, mini bar and digital safe. With 70 rooms and restaurant by the fireside, the hotel waits for its guests. Address: K. Karabekir Cad. Yüzbaşıoğlu Sok. No: 1, Tel: 0432 214 32 95
- One City Apart Hotel - This apart hotel offers you the comfort of a home and a hotel together with its rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and sofa group. It may be a very affordable option for family trips. Address: Kazım Karabekir Cad. (Maraş Cad.) Araştırma Hastanesi Yanı No:2, Tel: 0432 210 09 07
- Rescate Hotel - Besides the sumptuous lobby, it’s home to meeting rooms, VIP rooms, spa and a bath house. We suggest you prefer the rooms with lake view at the hotel, which will meet your luxury expectations. It’s more ideal for business trips due to its distance to the center and close proximity to the airport. Address: İpekyolu Cad. Suphan Mah. Edremit Yolu Üzeri 8. Km. Tel: 0432 227 12 27
Places to Visit in Van
On every corner in Van you may encounter a part of history or natural richness. There’s a church or a castle all over the city. We cannot include them all but we tried to pick the most important ones.
- Van Castle - Built by Urartians in 9 BCE, the castle is home to many remains belonging to that period. It’s a very important archaeological region with its towers and temple ruins.
- Akdamar Island and Church - Located in the middle of Lake Van, Akdamar (or Ahtamar) Island is home to Akdamar Church which is richly adorned with depictions from the Bible. 20 minutes away from the shore by boat, the island is a must-see.
- Seven Churches - Located inside Yukarı Bakraçlı Village, the monastery was built between 1003 and 1021 on the foot of Mount Erek. It’s also known as Warak Wank Monastery or Virgin Mary Monastery. It’s a visual feast filled with rich ornamentations.
- Van Museum - Opened in 1972, the museum has two exhibition halls – one contains archaeological findings excavated in the region and the other displays ethnographic pieces.
- St. Bartholomeus Church - Located inside Albayrak village in Başkale district, the structure’s current look dates back to 7th century. The majestic stone gate of the church is the most important element that makes it worth visiting.
- Hoşap Castle - Located in Hoşap (Güzelsu) on the Van-Hakkâri Road in Gürpınar district in the city, the castle was erected on an upright piece of rock formation. Dating back to the Urartu period, the castle took its current form through a renovation in 1643 by Mahmudi Bey, a Kurdish chiefdom under Ottoman rule. The traces of many structures inside the castle have been preserved.
- Çapanak Church - Included in a monastery complex located on an island, the church was dedicated to St. Jean. The foundation of the monastery is told to date back to the 9th century.
- Ulu (Grand) Mosque - The only thing remaining from Ulu Mosque in Van is its minaret and parts of its main structure. You should definitely see the inscriptions on the outer door of the structure which dates back to Karakoyunlular period.
- Kaya Çelebi Mosque - Dating back to the 17th century, this mosque is especially attractive with its outer ornamentations. It’s a perfect example of stonemasonry. Its museum-like dimensions provide a sense of deepness.
- Muradiye Waterfall - Locatedon Bend-i Mahi Brook flowing from Mount Tendürek, the waterfall is one of the most popular natural areas in the region with its suspension bridge and natural beauty. If you’re looking for a piece of calm, Muradiye is where you should go.
- Şeytan (Devil’s) Bridge - Built over Bend-i Mahi Brook, this bridge is very impressive. Thought to be built in the 13th century, the bridge is placed on two rocks and still look solid.
- Gevaş Halime Sultan Dome - It’s a very impressive structure despite being small in size. If you happen to pass by Gevaş, you should definitely visit this dodecagon, cone-shaped and ornamented dome.
- Cat House - As an initiative started by Van 100 Years University, people built a house for endangered Van cats. This house aims to save the endangered species and treat them. You can visit this house to watch the lovely kittens play.
Neighborhoods of Van
- Old Van: Also known as Yalı (Mansion) Neighborhood, this part of the city which is closer to Lake Van is the center of the historical part of town. Spanning Lake Van and some of the traditional Van houses, this area is one of the most touristic areas in the city but quite neglected.
- Bahçıvan (Gardener’s) Neighborhood: This area is the new face of Van; it is home to famous Cumhuriyet and Kazım Karabekir neighborhoods lined with cafés and shops. This is where life happens.
Though Van may not be very rich in terms of night clubs, it has some bars and clubs on lively streets.
- Festa - A band plays classic Turkish pop songs. The atmosphere is a bit heavy. It seems they go for a romantic ambiance with songs and the atmosphere in the attic. Address: Maraş Caddesi, Tel: 0532 540 34 90
- Halay Türkü Evi - This is where fun in Van blooms. It’s a place where they play all kinds of Turkish and Kurdish folk songs, young people dance all night long and there are a majority of women guests. It can host up to 300 people at weekends. Address: Kazım Karabekir Cad. Artos İş Merkezi Karsısı Tatvan, Tel: 0432 214 82 33
- Nietzsche Bar - An interesting place as the name implies. The regulars at Nietzsche Bar are intellectuals, listening to jazz and blues. The clientele is pretty young. It’s a pleasant bar from its décor to music. Address: Maraş Caddesi Eski Toyota Plaza Arkası Özgül Center Çay Bahçeleri Karşısı, Tel: 0505 903 3570
- North Shield - This pub isn’t that different from the North Shields in other cities. It’s the best place to go if you’re thirsty for a cocktail. Though it mostly appeals to working class, the place hosts students as well. Ideal for after-work meetings. Address: Inside Tamara Oteli, Tel: 0432 214 32 96
- One Club - Playing foreign pop music, the place gets very crowded with young people visiting from surrounding cities. Mostly preferred by students, this club makes you dance until first light of the morning. Address: The Elite World Hotel, Bahçıvan Mah. Kazımkarabekir Bulvarı No: 67, Tel: 0432 484 11 11
- Lake Van Film Festival - Organized in 2012 for the first time, the festival decided on a theme called “For Van” in its first year. After the 2011 earthquake, the festival commenced both to boost the locals’ morale and to provide exchange of artful information.
- Van Sea Water Sports Festival - The festival hosts contests in many areas from canoeing to sailing, from rafting to swimming. If you happen to visit Van at the end of June, make sure you watch out for the sea.
- City Code: 0 432
- Provincial Directorate of Tourism: 0 432 216 25 30
- Police: 0 432 217 46 20
- Gendarmerie Emergency: 156
- Police Emergency: 155
- Ambulance: 112