Van Information

Van , Turkey

Van (Armenian: Վան Van,Kurdish: Wan) is a city in northeastern Kurdistan (eastern Turkey's Van Province, and is located on the eastern shore of Lake Van. It is the cultural center of the area's Kurdish majority. The city's population is mostly Kurdish. In 2010 the official population figure for Van was 367,419,but many estimates put it much higher with a 1996 estimate stating 500,000[4] and former Mayor Burhan Yengun is quoted as saying it may be as high as 600,000.

The Van Central district stretches over 2,289 square kilometers.


Lake Van

Archaeological excavations and surveys carried out in Van province indicate that the history of human settlement in this region goes back at least as far as 5000 BC. The Tilkitepe Mound, which is on the shores of Lake Van and a few kilometres to the south of Van Castle, is the only source of information about the oldest culture of Van.

Under the ancient name of Tushpa, Van was the capital of the Urartian kingdom in the 9th century BC. The early settlement was centered on the steep-sided bluff now known as Van Castle (Van Kalesi), close to the edge of Lake Van and a few kilometers west of the modern city. Here have been found Urartian cuneiform inscriptions dating to the 8th and 7th centuries BC. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Babylonian is called Armenia in Old Persian.

The name 'Van' comes from the Urartian Biaina.[7]
From the Orontids to the Kingdom of Armenia

The region came under the control of the Armenian Orontids in the 7th century BC and later Persians in the mid 6th century BC. In 331 BC, Van was conquered by Alexander the Great and after his death became part of the Seleucid Empire. By the early 2nd century BC it was part of the Kingdom of Armenia. It became an important center during the reign of the Armenian king, Tigranes II, who founded the city of Tigranakert in the 1st century BC.[8] This region was ruled by the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia before 4th century AD. In the History of Armenia attributed to Moses of Chorene, the city is called Tosp, from Urartian Tushpa.[9]
The Byzantines and the kingdom of Vaspurakan
Main article: Vaspurakan

The Byzantine Empire briefly held the region from 628 to 640, after which it was invaded by the Muslim Arabs, who consolidated their conquests as the province of Ermeniye. Decline in Arab power eventually allowed local Armenian rulers to re-emerge, with the Artsruni dynasty soon becoming the most powerful. Initially dependent on the rulers of the Kingdom of Ani, they declared their independence in 908, founding Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan. The kingdom had no specific capital: the court would move as the king transferred his residence from place to place, such as Van city, Vostan, Aghtamar, etc. In 1021 the last king of Vaspurakan, John-Senekerim Artsruni, ceded his entire kingdom to the Byzantine empire, who established the Vaspurakan theme on the former Artsruni territories.
The Seljuk Empire

Incursions by the Seljuk Turks into Vaspurakan started in the 1050s. After their victory in 1071 at the battle of Manzikert the entire region fell under their control. After them, local Muslim rulers emerged, such as the Ahlatshahs and the Ayyubids (1207). For a 20 year period, Van was held by the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate until the 1240s when it was conquered by the Mongols. In the 14th century, Van was held by the Kara Koyunlu Turks, and later by the Timurids.
Ottoman era

The first half of the 15th century saw the Van region become a land of conflict as it was disputed by the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Safavid Empire. The Safavids captured Van in 1502. The Ottomans took the city in 1515 and held it for a short period. The Safavids took it again in 1520 and the Ottomans gained final and definite control of the city in 1548. They first made Van into a sanjak dependent on the Erzurum eyalet, and later into a separate Van eyalet in about 1570.

Towards the second half of the 19th century Van began to play an increased role in the politics of the Ottoman Empire due to its location near the borders of the Persian, Russian and Ottoman Empire, as well as its proximity to Mosul.

During the period leading up to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Armenians were well represented in the local administration.

City life

During the early 1900s, the city of Van had eleven Armenian schools and ten Turkish. Armenian churches within the walled city included Saint Tiramayr (Armenian: Սուրբ Տիրամայր), Saint Vardan (Armenian: Սուրբ Վարդան), Saint Poghos (Armenian: Սուրբ Պողոս), Saint Nshan (Armenian: Սուրբ Նշան), Saint Sahak (Armenian: Սուրբ Սահակ), and Saint Tsiranavor (Armenian: Սուրբ Ծիրանաւոր); in Aygestan (Armenian: Այգեստան), Haykavank (Armenian: Հայկավանք), Norashen (Armenian: Նորաշէն), Arark (Armenian: Արարք), Hankoysner, and other quarters each had a church.

Van today

The modern city is located on the plain extending from the Lake Van, at a distance of 5 kilometers from the lake shore.

Van has often been called "The Pearl of the East" because of the beauty of its surrounding landscape. An old Armenian proverb in the same sense is "Van in this world, paradise in the next."[30] This phrase has been slightly modified in Turkish as dünyada Van, ahirette iman or "Van for this world, faith for the next."
File:Vancity 05.jpg
A park in the city center.
Iskele Street and mount Erek
IOC Offshore Van Grand Prix 2010
Festival of Van lake 2011

The city is home to Van Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi (Van 100th Year University) and recently came to the headlines for two highly publicized investigations initiated by the Prosecutor of Van, one of which was focused on accusations against the university's rector, Prof. Hasan Ceylan, who was kept in custody for a time. He was finally acquitted but lost his rectorate. He is a grandson of Agop Vartovyan, an Ottoman Armenian who is accepted as the founder of modern Turkish theatre. Prof. Hasan Ceylan is also the department chairman of Environmental Engineering in the Van 100th Year University.

In 1941, Van suffered a destructive 5.9 Mw earthquake. A more severe 7.2 Mw earthquake occurred on October 23, 2011.[31] A 5.7 magnitude aftershock caused several buildings to collapse on November 9, 2011.

In culinary terms, as some cities in Turkey became renowned for their kebap culture or other types of traditional local dishes, Van has distinguished itself with its breakfast culture.
Famous breakfast table in Van.

The Van Cat

The Van Cat is a breed of cat native to this town and named after it. The Van Cat is noted for its white fur, and having different colored eyes.

Notable residents


    Mkrtich Avetisian, an Armenian journalist and political figure, one of the founders of Armenakan organization.
    Mkrtich Khrimian, an Armenian writer, religious leader, and Catholicos of All Armenians (1892–1907).
    Bedros Kapamacıyan, Ottoman-Armenian mayor of Van killed by Tashnak assassins on 10 December 1912.
    Vahram Alazan, an Armenian poet, writer and public activist, the First Secretary of the Writers Union of Armenia from 1933 to 1936.
    Arshile Gorky, an Armenian-American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism.
    Panos Terlemezian, painter, a People's artist of Armenian SSR.
    Aghasi Khanjian, the leader of Soviet Armenia from 1930 to 1936.
    Vardan Ajemian, an Armenian theatral director and actor, People's Artist of the USSR.
    Gurgen Mahari, an Armenian writer and poet.
    Haig Patigian, an Armenian-American sculptor.
    Nairi Zarian, a Soviet Armenian poet and writer.
    Ruhi Su, Turkish folk singer.

Turks, Kurds, and others

    Sinan Çetin, movie director, was born on March 1, 1953.
    Ferit Melen, a politician and prime minister of Turkey between 1972–1973.

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