Tour of Van Lake Region

Van Lake is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country in Van district. It is a saline soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes (having no outlet). The original outlet from the basin was blocked by an ancient volcanic eruption. Although Lake Van is situated at an altitude of 1,640 m (5,380 ft) with harsh winters, it does not freeze due to its high salinity except occasionally the shallow northern sectionIshak Pasa Saray, constructions started in 1685 and were completed in 1784. it's one of the most beautiful places in the whole of TurkeyDo not miss the spectacular site of The Ishak Pasha palace, only 6 km from Dogubayazit. Ishak Pasha, Ottoman governor of the province, constructed the palace in the 17th-century in a mixture of architectural styles. Nearby you can see a bas-relief of an Urartian king, and a rock tomb from the ninth century B.C. Near Dogubeyazit, Turkey'smost scenic natural monument, Mount Agri rises to a height of 5137 meters. To see the place where it is thought that Noah's Ark came aground, go to Uzengili village, 25 km east of Dogubeyazit. Be sure to try the local dessert asure (Noah's pudding), believed to have first been made by Noah's wife from the last bits of food in the Ark.Tatvan is a city at the western end of Lake Van, and is the regional center of the identically-named district within Bitlis Province in eastern Turkey. It has about 96,000 inhabitants.Tatvan is connected by Train ferry across 96 km of Lake Van to Van which avoids 250 km of railway construction in mountainous terrain. This is a low capacity route which will be replaced by a proper railway when traffic increases.

Departure: Van Airport

Duration:4 Days

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DAY 1 – Dogubeyazit (D)
On your arrival to Van Airport, you will be met & drive for the Pleasure Palace of Ishak Pasha overlooking the Plains of Ararat- not simply a palace but the administrative center of the region which in its heyday rivaled the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul It is an amalgamation of different styles absorbed from the complex region it is in: Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian and Armenian styles are all present. This region was briefly ruled by Russia who looted the palace-the gold plated doors that once hung at the main gate are now in the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg.

DAY 2 – Van (B, D)
Leaving Dogubeyazit, we will travel to the Muradiye Waterfall for a relaxing picnic lunch. Moving on to Van we will explore the Citadel with its three thousand Urartians fortress and watch the sun go down over Lake Van.

DAY 3 – Cavustepe, Hosap Castle & Lake Van (B, D)
Today will bring us to the mountain-top ruins of Çavustepe (a Urartian fortress) then onto Hosap castle, built on a rocky outcrop on the north bank of the Hosap River. The structure that we see today dates mostly from 1643 (1052 A.H.), when a Mahmudi tribal lord, and Hosap's governor Sari Suleyman Bey, rebuilt the castle on what was probably an earlier fortification from the Urartians Period (9th c.- 6th c. B.C.)''. On our way back to Van we will have the optional opportunity to see local artisans creating traditional rugs and learn about Turkish, Armenian, Kurdish, and Azeri rugs and kilims.
At Van, we will travel by ferryboat across Lake Van, stopping on Akdamar Island to see a spectacular 10th century church built by an Armenian king, eat a lunch of local fish, and swim in the lake.

DAY 4 – Tatvan (B, D)
After stopping for refreshments in Tatvan, we will drive to Mount Nemrut, one of the largest complete calderas in the world and have a picnic and swim at the adjacent thermal and cold lakes. We will then visit the tombs of Seljuk Kings in Ahlat and return to Tatvan for dinner.

DAY 5 – Departure (B)
Breakfast, check-out & transfer to Van Airport as per your onward flight schedule.
All hotel accommodations in choice of preferred class
All noted city sightseeing tours on regular group OR private guided basis
All tours with professional tour guide, licensed by the Ministry of Tourism
All main entrance fees to sights mentioned by the itinerary
All meals mentioned by the itinerary (B:Breakfast, L:Lunch, D:Dinner) - Vegetarian meals available
All required land transport & round-trip airport transfers with A/C minivans throughout the trip.
All parking fees, road tolls
Local taxes & handling services.
International flights to/from Turkey, internal flight ,any tips to guide, driver or staff at hotels, items of a personal nature, hotel extras (minibar, telephone/internet usage, laundry, etc), drinks with meals (except the drinks served with breakfast) and medical services.
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