Posted December 1, 2009 by David McGuinness

The day started with one of Van’s famous breakfasts on what is casually known as breakfast street. This street is full of “breakfast places” that serve up the copious breakfasts that Van is famous in Turkey for.

After a long bus ride from Diyarbakir to Van and catching up that evening on a few business bits and pieces I was off to Akdamar island the following morning. After a bus ride, a short taxi and ferry ride across the lovely blue waters of Lake Van I was on Akdamar island.

This small beautiful island 3km from the shores of lake Van is famous for Akdamar Kilisesi, an Armenian church from the 10th century with stunning relief stone carvings on all the exterior walls of the church and some lovely frescoes inside, though some colours have faded.

The trip to the island and the wonderful church are a must for our trip I think; for both the natural beauty and the church itself, which is one of few Armenian remains that survives in such good condition in Turkey.

When I got back to Van, I had a lovely chicken kebab in a local restaurant and then went back to my hotel to have a chat with Remsey, a local guide and organiser in order to plan out my next few days. He will drive me to Hoshap castle tomorrow morning and in the afternoon I will check out Van castle. After that I will go to Ani, a former Armenian capital with supposedly stunning architecture, then Ishak Pasa Palace, which is a UNESCO heritage site and one of the supposed highlights of East Turkey (though there seems to be a real abundance of highlights in this region!).

This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.

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