This place was a bit underwhelming. Unless you're just really into ancient archaeological sites you can skip it. There's not much to see other than piles of stones. There's one section that's basalt with some cuneiform inscriptions on it. It really stands out because the stone is in excellent condition and very black, unlike the others. I arranged for around 100/150 TL for a driver to take me, like a tour except I was the only one. Lonely Planet says it's actually not hard to do this by public transport but I didn't have much time and wanted to avoid any hassle or waiting.
Hoşap Castle is not far from Van and makes for a nice day trip. The Lonely Planet guide mentioned that it is possible to get there by public transport but it all seemed a bit complicated and I didn't have much time so I arranged for a tour at about 100-150 Turkish Lira, don't remember exactly with a trip to Çavuştepe included and I was the only passenger.
I consider the castle well worth the visit. It was in decent condition. The village next to it was stark, practically devoid of color but haunting in a way. Another advantage of taking the tour was that the castle was locked and the guide was able to ask the village kids to go fetch the key, I guess I could have done that myself but I didn't even know if the villagers themselves would have it.
The archeological Urartian site of Chavush tape is located at about 25 km of southeast Van on the road to Hakkari.
Chavushtepe impressive remains of the Urartian castle and seat of King Sardur II (764-735 B.C.).
These remains, including the walls and the palace complex with an Urartian "king's toilet".
The site consists of an upper and lower castle within which lie the remains of a Temple of Khaldi, citadel walls, 7th century B.C. workshops, store-rooms storage vessels, cisterns, kitchen, palace with throne room, harem and colonnaded halls.
It was destroyed by the Scythians in the 7th century.
Kosh Ap Fortress (means sweet Water in Pahlavi Persian) about 60km/37mi southeast of Van on the way to Baskale.
It was built in 1643 by the local Kurdish "Sari Soleyman" on the ruins of older one.
The massive construction on and around a steep-sided rock was used in antiquity as a watchtower to survey the military road from Van along the Cuh pass to northern Persia(Iran).
The complex of several storys contains three baths, two mosques, a madrese(School), a well, cisterns, prison and 360 rooms spread over several floors - all of which can be reached by passing through an impressive entrance hall with inscriptions and a lion relief and mounting some steep steps.
It was closed on public for archeological excavation. (2009/88)
Akhtamar is a small island in Lake Van, at southwest of van & about 3 km from the shoreline.
It is home to a tenth century Armenian church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross (915-921), and was the seat of an Armenian Catholicos from 1116 to 1895.
The unique importance of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross comes from the extensive array of bas-relief carving of mostly biblical scenes that adorn its external walls.
also royal Sassanian imagery can be seen on walls (for example Griffins)
VAN CAT/TURKISH VAN:
It was back in the 16th century that the first Turkish Cats came to Britain, although at the time they were given various names including Russian Longhairs, and French Cats due to the fact that they were imported from France. These cats wore silky white coats and had blue eyes. Today we might call those cats Turkish Angora Cats, a name derived from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, however the modern day Turkish Angora bears little relation to their erstwhile namesakes.
Over the last few centuries the quest for the perfect foreign cat had led to extensive cross-breeding. The Turkish Cat line was mingled with those from Persia, Russia, and elsewhere, and a general preference for the Persian style led to the gradual disappearance of the original Turkish Angora type. By the 20th century the Turkish Cat was unknown in Britain.
It was in 1955 that Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday were travelling through Turkey, and noticed that the cats particularly around the area of Van in Eastern Turkey bore a remarkable resemblance to the traditional Angora type. The most noticeable difference however was that the coat was not pure white, but had auburn head markings and a faintly ringed auburn tail. Laura brought two unrelated cats back to Britain, and when they were mated they produced kittens bearing the same auburn markings. It was at this point that Laura realised that this was a natural breed, and not man-made. She registered the Van prefix and the Turkish Van Cat had since become an established breed.
It is generally assumed that geographic isolation is responsible for the preservation of this unique breed of cat. The most notable feature of the area of Eastern Turkey known as Eastern Anatolia is Lake Van, bounded as it is by the mountains of Suphan in the north, and Nemrut to the west. Biblical Mount Ararat is some 100 miles to the north-east. The area around Van is mountainous and suffers extremes of temperature to which the Turkish Cat has fully adapted, shedding its long hair for a shorter cooler coat in the summer, and with tufts of hair between its pads to protect its paws from the cold in the winter. The dominance of this region by Lake Van lends credence to the reputation bestowed on the cats of being swimming cats. This is not to suggest that all Turkish Van Cats like to swim, but many will do so in shallow warm water, and they love to play with running water too.
In Turkey the true Turkish Cat is pure white with one amber eye and one blue eye, although the strong features of these classic cats can also be found in the van patterned variety. The first van patterned cats in Britain were auburn and white with amber eyes, and this became the standard for many years up until the introduction of the dilute form (cream and white) and the different eye colours (blue eyed, and odd eyed). More recently other colour variants of van cats have been accepted at championship level since June 2000, these variants including black, tortie, tortie tabby, and their dilute equivalents. Sadly the white Van Kedi cats have not yet been enjoined to the standard, although its hoped that the coloured offspring that result from matings to Turkish Vans will soon be accepted.
Most of the Turkish Vans alive today in Britain can have their origins traced back to the cats brought in by Laura Lushington. The registration requirements of the British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) stipulated that cats of unknown pedigree must show proof of pure breeding for at least four generations, during which they were shown under the Any Other Variety category. However in 1969, at the Kensington Kitten & Neuter Cat Club show, Turkish Vans were shown in Britain in their own class for the first time.
Acceptance followed throughout Europe in the following years, and in the 1980's the Turkish Van Cat was also officially recognised in America following a similar rebirth.
The Turkish Van is a loyal, loving and very intelligent cat. Its temperament depends greatly on its upbringing, the amount of human contact and handling it receives as a kitten, and the temperament of the mother herself. They are very affectionate, giving head butts and love bites, but to the uninitiated this could be slightly alarming, but when you get to know your cat you will begin to understand.
It's not THAT kind of cat house! Van is home to the unique Van cat--a white feline with one blue eye and one green eye. A laboratory at the Van University controls the breeding of these cats in an effort to preserve the purity of the species.
Around Van, and in fact all of Kurdistan,uh, I mean SE Turkey, there are villages inhabited by people who make their livings by farming and livestock (i.e. sheep). Visit and meet people who have maintained their identity and language in spite of attempts to erase them.
The drive to Dogubeyazit was breathtaking. I was crunched beside a Korean Couple who were on their way to Iran. I so wanted to go, but I couldn't go to Ankara and wait for a month for the visa.
The scenery was very dramatic, then we were stopped by the military. There is a dawn to dusk curfew on this road.
When we arrived into town, the Korean woman put a scarf over her head as she was getting close to Iranian customs, we looked at each other and giggled. When we got out of the van we were greeted by a group shoe shine boys, one group took the Korean couple to the bus to Iran, the other group led me to my hotel. I gave them some coins from Romania, and they ran away.
This is a sight, you might easily pass by:
Hailm Hatun Türbesi in Gevas is a small tower and tomb on a graveyard close to the main-road.
Our tourguide told us, a princess should be buried here.
The monument dates back to 1322 A.D.
Mardin is a fairly large town, but since the problems in this area it has remained off the beaten path until recently. Mardin is a part Christian part Muslim town on a hilltop near the Syrian border. The old town and markets are nice to walk around, but the main attraction is Deyrul Zafaran, a Syrian Orthodox (i think) monastery a couple of kilometres away. We were taken on a guided tour by one of the monks, although none of them spoke English. Some inhabitants of Mardin speak an odd dialect of Arabic, some Turkish and some Kurdish. On top of the hill is a castle, but it is a military area, so no photos...I managed to sneak one in, though!!...more photos in the travelogue...
Here you will see some picturess of ýstanbul under the snow ( early january 2002 ).These pictures are taken by a good friend of my daughter Mrs Müzeyyen Küçür .You should not miss to see Istanbul from the roof of one of the high buildings or hotels.
This picture taken from the roof of the building where she lives in Beþiktas area of Istanbul.
So from such places you can see most of the town especially the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea all toghether.
This winter snow has been an exceptionnal surprise for us since 15 years .
A bridge over the Khoshap river links the castle to the old military road, which at this point passes through a narrow gap in the rock.
A bridge located blow of the fortress
This is the Van Cat statue on the main highway leading into the city. Either you love it or you hate it!