Things to Do



Akdamar is the biggest island on Van Lake. It is on the 45 kms southwest of Van.There is a church on the Island. Akdamar a church was built in 915-921. The Church’s architect was Monk Manuel. Akdamar a church was built Armenian’s King I.Gagik.
There are small boats to reach to Akdamar.

The origin of the name “Akdamar”

On a tiny island filled with almond trees and surrounded by cliffs where silver-winged gulls nest there once lived a beautiful girl called Tamara. Her father, who was one of the priests at the monastery on the island, guarded his daughter so jealously that he did not allow even the birds to come near her and refused to let her leave the island or strangers to set foot there. A young kurdish shepherd living in one of the villages on the shore of the lake, encircled by high mountains, was filled with curiosity about the forbidden island and one day swam over and met Tamara. They quickly became friends, and before long had fallen in love. The young man used to swim over for their secret nightly assignations after seeing the candle which Tamara would light to show him the way. But one of the monks realised what was going on and reported it to Tamara’s father. The following night was stormy and Tamara remained at home, but without her knowledge her father took a lighted candle down to the shore. When the young man saw the signal he braved the rough waves, but the priest kept moving about to confuse him, and finally, exhausted from battling with the stormy sea, the young man sank beneath the waves crying out ‘Akh Tamara!’ Hearing his voice Tamara rushed down to the shore, and when she discovered that her beloved was dead threw herself into the stormy sea and drowned too.


El – Aman Caravanserai

As you travel between Bitlis and Tatvan glance out of the bus to see the vast El-Aman Hanı built by Hüsrev Mehmed Paşa, the governor of Van, in 1571.

A once romantic ruin, it has been completely rebuilt and is used for Bitlis Eren University graduation ceremonies, good for civic life, perhaps, but not great for those who like dreaming about the past.

Transport info

Hourly dolmuşes connect Bitlis with Tatvan.

Don’t be tempted to get out of the minibus - - you’ll never be able to get another one to stop on the busy main road.


Nemrut Crater Lake

Why should you visit?
Nemrut Crater Lake is the largest crater lake in Europe and the second largest in the world; it is located inside the crater area of Mount Nemrut, one of the youngest volcanoes in the Eastern Anatolia, in the East of the country. The lake itself was formed by the eruption of Mount Nemrut. Today, the lake is fed by snow and spring waters and is very deep in some areas. 

The unique location of the lake attracts thousands of tourists every year, with its numerous volcanoes and extraordinary nature, as well as the rich historical heritage. City-ruins, castles and other historical monuments, some of which date back to the Ottoman era, are a truly unique inspiration for all visitors. 

What can you do here?

The main attractions in this area are the hot and cold water crater lakes on top of the mountain. The still waters of the Nemrut Crater Lake are ideal for swimming and boating. On the shores of the Ilik (hot) Lake, which covers an area of 1.2 sqm, there are several hot water springs. The temperature of the lake water reaches 40°C in winter and 60°C in summer. There are thermal baths located in small ponds close to the lake, which attract visitors who regularly come to receive treatment. 

Every summer, festivals are held in the region to promote its beauty. There is a fishing competition which is held at the big lake, but there are also swimming competitions, junior sailing group shows, concerts and various folk performance...