Another historical cities of the East. The castle in the middle of the city was built in 312 BC by a commander of Alexander the Great. It cannot be visited from inside, because it is full of earth. You can only see it from outside to enjoy the surrounding scenery from its top. The remainders of a bath can be seen. Ulu Mosque was built in 1 1 50. A typical architectural sample of its time. The bath of the Caravanserai is a piece of XVI century AD. Ihlasiye, Nuhiye, Serefiye and Yusufiye medressehs were centres for scientific studies. Numerous caravanserais and old boarding houses (Han) can be visited in the town. The Hatuniye Han is located by the bridge of the same name. The Papsin (Hustrev Pasha) Han on the Bitlis-Tatvan road (XVI century). Bashan Han is also on the same road. El-Aman Han is one of the largest in Anatolia. It is a large complex with its mosque, bath and shops. Serefiye, Arasa, Yusufiye, Dağhan, Kokoz Zal Pasha Caravanserais are similar constructions. There are many hot spas both in Bitlis itself and its environments. It is known that most of them are in use since a long time ago. A part of the Lake Van is in the boundaries of Bitlis. (For more information on Lake Van, see Van section).

Nemrut Mountain, Crater Lakes and Suphan Mountain

With its 2.935 m height the Mount Nemrut is a volcanic mountain. The statue heads of kings and gods from a great outdoors temple built in the period of other historical relics make it tourists centre. The Lake Nemrut on the part of Mount Nemrut within the boundaries of Bitlis is the largest crater lake in Turkey and the second largest in the world. The mountain is 27 km to Bitlis and 13 km to Tatvan, and it is very easy to go up by car. One another majestic mountain of the region is Süphan Mountain.


The nicest settlement area near Lake Van is Tatvan. Ahlat, Adilcevaz and Gevaş are also nice places but Tatvan is very much alike the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal towns and is surprising.

Because the transit road to Iran passes through here implies that this town gets much migration and enlarges rapidly. And its cuisine offers special tastes. Its most famous speciality is Bünyan Kebap, which is made by cooking a goat or a lamb as a whole in a tandour. You can find in all the restaurants the local dishes like Afşor soup, Çorti meal, Çorti köfte, içli köfte. Zal Pasha, a vizier of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, built the Tatvan Castle in the present Tuğ district of Tatvan.

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A small cosy town on the side of Lake Van. Besides its natural beauties Ahlat has an impressive appearance with its five historical cemeteries and over 2 meters long grave stones lines up side by side on an endless landscape. There is a lot of tombs too in the area. Most of these stones in the

Moslem cemetery were erected in the XVII-XVIII centuries. Some of the tombs are from the rulers in the Mongol period. The Ahlat Sahil Castle dates back to the Urartians time. An earthquake ran it down in 1224. It was re-built in 1556 by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.

Ahlat is one of the places where the kümbets (tombs), typical grave structure of the region, can be found most. Püseyin Timur, Bugatay Aka, Hasan Padişah and Erzen Hatun kümbets are only a few of them. The only museum of Bitlis is in Ahlat.


Another small cosy water side town on the side of Lake Van is Adilcevaz. Its castle is erected on steep rocky hills. Inside the castle, which also houses a tower, it is known from the sources that there were a mosque, an arsenal, warehouses, cisterns, mehterhane tower and 70 houses. Today we have their remainders only. They prepare very delicious fish plates at the water-side restaurants of the small towns by the lake.

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