The 10th-century Church
of the Holy Cross stands alone
on Akdamar (Akhtamar) Island
amid the alkaline waters of Lake
Take a boat from Gevaş, 90
km (56 miles) E of Tatvan and
44 km (27 miles) SW of the city
of Van, for the 3-km (2-mile),
20-minute voyage north to the island.
The Turkish government spent TL2
million to restore the church extensively
in 2006 and 2007, with reopening on
April 15, 2007. The church is
now in much better condition than
The stone reliefs of Biblical scenes on
the church exterior are the main reason
for making the trip to Akdamar.
Besides the marvelous views of
the church, the island, the lake and
the mountains beyond, there are ruins
of an Armenian
monastery which once
served the church.
|Above, Akdamar's Church
of the Holy Cross (931
AD) before restoration.
from the wonderful, lively external