After breakfast visit sprawling Van castle with views over the city. Continue to visit Hoşap castle and the ancient site of Çavuştepe. Return to Van to visit a traditional Kurdish weaving centre and visit a breeding centre for Van's famous cats. Overnight in Van.
Van Castle, outside of the modern town, is a vast sprawling Urartian structure dating from the 9th to 7th Centuries BC that affords excellent views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Don’t miss the perfectly-preserved 5th Century trilingual (Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite) inscription from Xerxes the Great, the only Achaemenid royal inscription located outside of Iran. The town of Van is also famous throughout Turkey for its kebabs.
Hosap Castle is a large medieval castle in the village of Hoşap (meaning "Good/Sweet Water" in Kurdish) near the border with Iran. It was built by a local Kurdish lord, Mahmudi Suleyman, in 1643. Legend has it that the hands of the architect who built this formidable stronghold were cut off so that he could not build another. Be sure to find it’s intricate lion carvings. A short distance from Hosap is the Urartian centre Cavustepe. Built in the 8th century B.C., Cavustepe was once home of the kings of Urartu.
Lake Van, Turkey's largest lake, is flanked by the snowy peaks of the volcanoes of Mount Suphan and Mount Nemrut. The beautiful azure waters of the lake are highly alkaline and drilling at the bottom of the lake by German palaeontologists has revealed climate data covering almost 15,000 years despite only penetrating the first few metres of sediment. It is believed the sediment may hold climate data from the last 800,000 years!
Van today is a young vibrant university town but the history of the region goes back more than 7 millennia, and the town itself was the Urartian capital as early as the 9th Century BC.