The 10th-century Church of the Holy Cross stands alone onAkdamar (Akhtamar) Island amid the alkaline waters of Lake Van.
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 it has been for centuries.
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.