Van Castle (Van Kalesi)
Van Castle (Van Kalesi)
4.5

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles252 reviews
Excellent
146
Very good
76
Average
25
Poor
4
Terrible
1

Richard K
Memphis, TN1,444 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Solo
Go to the museum first. It’s best to come to the castle by car or bus. If the big gate on the east side isn’t open, it’s 5 km, around the farms to the lake side entrance. There are very few signs to guide you. I had to ask a farmer for help. The climb to the top is strenuous and uneven. Wear good shoes. It’s sad to see how much trash is everywhere. The Turks can learn from the Greeks about how to care for historical sites. The view is nice. It’s very difficult to get to the Xerxes Epigraph. There are bees everywhere. If you are allergic, then don’t go!
Written October 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

apictaker
Coffs Harbour, Australia70 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
This is a great vantage point to look over Van and surrounds. The castle (or fortress) is a large and interesting structure to explore and photograph. Sunrise or sunset would be nice to observe from the top.

One warning for travelers, there is a local pickpocket who will lead you off the set path and pick your pockets while 'helping' you climb up the hill. He will say the path is closed for construction. Check at the main gate before starting your climb to avoid this ruse.
Written December 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vlad
Van, Türkiye3 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Couples
Everything was great except a guy who had presented himself as a museum employee. But he wasn’t. He was playing a role of guide. He was trying to get our bags in his hands under the reason of help. At the end of our hiking we found out that he has robbed us of 300 TL.
Written July 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

worldnomad_01
Los Angeles, CA1,597 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
Interesting ruins and impressive walls built by the kingdom of Urartu during the 9th to 7th century BC. Somewhere on the southern slope of the mountain and near the castle, there's a very well preserved, trilingual, cuneiform inscription from the time of Xerxes the Great of Persia in the 5th century BC. Great views of the city from the top. A pleasant and interesting experience.
Written November 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kseniya Redka
Le Havre, France64 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
As most of the historic places - the story behind is more impressive than the remaining parts. Yet, the castle offers a beautiful view on the lake Van. You can easily do this attraction within hour or maximum too. Make sure not to choose the hottest day as you will be climbing up for 20 minutes or so.
Written July 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PeterJesson
New York City, NY18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
Van Kalesi (Van Castle), part of the Urartian capital (~1000 BC) is ~2 miles west of the city. It is built on a rocky outcrop (The Rock of Van) about a mile long, 350 ft tall and quite narrow. The highlight of the visit is the rock tomb of Argishti 1 (785–760 BC) set in the sheer cliff south face of the Rock. The worn steps clinging to the vertical wall are protected on the outer side by a rudimentary iron structure. It is nevertheless a slightly intimidating traverse. The rock face on either side of the tomb opening is covered in cuneiform inscriptions which relate events in the life of Argishti. It is the longest extant text in Urartian. The inside of the tomb consists of a number of rooms and niches – it is pitch black, so some form of illumination is desirable.
The buildings on the top are mainly from the Ottoman period, the only vestige of the Urartian presence being what look like steps next to the path on the way up; they were actually foundations for the massive stone walls which no longer exist.
If one walks around the base of the Rock, about halfway along the south face one can see (60 feet up) the large trilingual inscription of Xerxes (5th century BC). It is in excellent condition and consists of three columns written in Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite. This inscription is similar in form and intent to that of Darius (the father of Xerxes) at Behistun in Iran. It is the only known Achaemenid royal inscription located outside of Iran. The story of the translation of cuneiform, largely with the aid of the Behistun inscription, is a fascinating chapter in the history of the decipherment of ancient scripts.
On the way to the Xerxes inscription, around the west end of the Rock, on the ground, can be seen carved stone forms - circles, sickle shapes, U shapes and other geometries. One theory was that they were used to form wooden chariot parts. The circles, for instance, are about the size of known chariot wheels.
Written November 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erhan Yildirim
Türkiye2,380 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020
13 and the 7th centuries BC between the center of the van ,nowadays, Turkey,Armenia, Georgia ,Nahcıvan Iran and reigned in the land of Iraq, that left hundreds of historical monuments ,forts,ports ,sacred cemeteries ,residential areas,water structures and inscriptions that sheds light on the history of the Urartians.. many written sources and archaeological finds base the origins of this ancient nation on the Hurrians. first information about the Urartians is given by Salmanasar I, who was Emperor during the Middle Assyrian Empire(BC 15-11 century). I salmanasar uses the following statements about Urartu in the inscription printed for the sacred temple destroyed by fire or earthquake;
" ... Priest/at the beginning of my spindle ("the throne")
as soon as I passed") the country of uruadri(urartian)revolted ("he became alienated from me and created hostility"). I've mobilized my army and headed for strong mountain forts I went on an expedition…”
as can be seen, the Assyrians call the urartians uruadri. classically, the history of Urartu is examined under 2 headings.1: principalities or little Kingdoms period 2: classical Urartian Empire period.. the period of small principalities lasted from the beginning of the 13th century BC to the middle of the 9th century. during their incursions into Mesopotamia, the Assyrians moved their precious mines to their country and used them for both trade and weapons production. the Assyrians called the rights that lived around the Euphrates and Tigris rivers as nairi and urartu. The period of the first principalities of the urartians is the period when these two different groups were formed. About 60 small principalities controlled the Euphrates and the Tigris. In 2000 BC ,both for climatic reasons and for security reasons ,the principalities of hurri origin living in Anatolia left the plains and valleys and settled in the high plateaus and plateaus, where water resources were abundant and easier to defend. during the principalities, the Urartians and nairis could not unite against the Assyrians, who were common enemies due to geographical conditions. increasing Assyrian destruction and looting forced the small Urartian principalities to unite .because of the mines in their region, the principalities, which were rich, easily united against the common enemy(BC 10 century). Assyrian sources say that the first king of Urartu was aramu. "Ur-artu"
the word equivalent means" Upper Country, High Country". The city of "Ur" in Mesopotamia is also "upper, high" in the Sumerian language" it was defined in its meaning.
the people who lived in the area were called "Urartu" by the Assyrians. But The Urartians called themselves" Biaini". This word is among the people "Bian" and sometimes "Vian" create the current word " Van " with pronunciations in the form. the rule of the Urartians, which lasted about 300 years, was constantly passed by the struggle with the Assyrians.it must be fate that 2 great empires and civilizations were destroyed by the Medes,Scythians and babbils at very short intervals. the most detailed information about Urartu is the inscriptions and tablets describing the expeditions and wars of the Assyrian kings to the region. the Assyrians organized and damaged many expeditions to the Urartu, which they considered their greatest rival, especially during the periods of Salmanasar III and Sargon II. the Urartians did not submit to the Assyrians due to both geographical superiority and climate runs.the Urartians sought constant alliances against the Assyrians.these often gave results. melid,gurgum and kummuh kingdoms, one of the late Hittite States established around the Euphrates River, were kingdoms in which the Urartu received periodic assistance. the Assyrians often punished these small kingdoms who helped the Urartu and received high tribute. 2 after these wars, which weakened them, the great empires shared the same fate and were erased from history by the Medes, Scythians ,and Babylonians. Urartians used Assyrian cuneiform in their inscriptions. today, many artifacts found during archaeological excavations, especially in the last 2 centuries, are displayed in different museums around the world.but especially in and around the city of van(capital called tusba) ,many castles ,ports,residential areas belonging to the Urartu can be seen tombs,water cannons,artificial lakes, dams. Urartians, who had a belief system of about 17 goddesses and 50 gods, were buried in their traditions of cremation and not cremation. The chief god Haldi is the national god of Urartu. Kings begin with his name in steles, rock monuments and building inscriptions. Second and third places are Teişeba and Şivini, the gods of Hurri origin, which are accepted in a wide geography. One of the most important inscriptions that we have learned about the Urartian religion and religious practices is the Meher Kapı inscription in the city center of Van. One of the most important inscriptions that we have learned about the Urartian religion and religious practices is the Meher Kapı inscription in the city center of Van.
the main works that can be seen in the city of van(tusba), which is the capital of the Urartu, are as follows.
Van castle,Ayanis castle,Cavustepe castle, Lower and Upper Anzaf Castles,yoncatepe castle, King's rock tombs built into these castles, Little Horhor's Tomb, Arsenal's Tomb, Dilkaya, Ernis-Evditepe, Adilcevaz, Yoncatepe, Van / Altıntepe catacombs.. Urartians' water structures that are still in use today are masterpieces of architecture and intelligence. One of the most important of these is the menua canal, which is used to bring water to the tusba, which is about 50 km long. The canal, which was built 2800 years ago, is still in use. The Kesisgöl Dam, built 20 kilometers east of the van province, is one of the most important water structures. The artifacts and archaeological findings, which are not known today, but the unearthed artifacts and archaeological findings, show that urartians are very adept in metalworking and ornamental jewelry. The most important reason for this is their proximity to natural mineral deposits and the fact that part of their lives have been spent with mines.
Written January 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

booming
Swindon106 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The castle is big and impressive. You can climb up the top and get a great view. It is close to the lake but you can get a dolmus from town and then walk around to the entrance. Looking from the top you can see where the old city used to be by the bits of mosque left.
We enjoyed our visit.
Written June 24, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sibel k
9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019
Van Castle, in the World Heritage Temporary List, provides a wonderful bird’s view of Lake Van and the valley. Built BC 840-825 by the Urartu King Sardur 1, the Castle served as the capitol of Urartu civilization for 250 years. The castle is on a rock with a length of 1800 metres, width varying from 20-120 metres, and height of 100 metre. Besides Urartus, castle was a home for many civilizations like Medes, Persians, Eyyubis, İlhanlı, Karakoyunlu, Timur, Sefevi and the Ottomans.
Written June 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arman M
Lahijan, Iran61 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Family
If you are going there during summer do not forget water and wear comfy shoes, you have to walk patiently till get to the top and see the amazing view of city and ancient walls of castle there.
Written August 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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