Akdamar Island of Van

Discover Van and the island of tolerance

The Island of Tolerance

Akdamar is the largest of the islands in Lake Van, located is off the shores of the district of Gevas to the south. Akdamar Island, which is roughly 4 km from the shore, is also home to the famous Akdamar Church.

Akdamar Island

Akdamar Island is the largest island in Lake Van, located in Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Its highest point is 1912 m high. It is surrounded with steep rocks that go as high as 80 m. Its territory is 70.000 m2 and has a coastal length of 3 km.

Designated as a protected area due to its archaeological importance, the island of Akdamar is also home to the unique Akdamar Church. The church was restored, and it is open to prayer once a year. The view off sheer cliff faces from Akdamar Island in the middle of Lake Van is one of Turkey's most stunning sights. The island offers a mesmerizing view with almond trees blooming in spring months. After sightseeing, swimmers and picnickers can enjoy themselves around the island's almond groves.

Akdamar is situated along the migration paths of several birds, most notably the white winged tern.

The islands of Carpanak, Kus and Adir are neighbour of Akdamar Island in Lake Van.

Armenian Church of Akdamar

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross stands atop a serene island in the middle of Lake Van. The portrayal of David and Goliath is among the extensive array of bas relief carvings that adorn the external walls. Although the cathedral has been converted to a monument museum, its religious heritage is still unmistakable. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross was renovated faithfully to its original structure between 2005 and 2007 auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The cathedral was opened for museum visits on 27 March 2007. In September 2010, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism opened the Akdamar Church for prayer for a single time in a year.

UNESCO Tentative List

Akdamar Church, which is included on the UNESCO Tentative List in 2015, is one of the outstanding universal values of Turkey.

  • Official Name: Akdamar Church
  • Date of Submission: 2015
  • Category: Cultural
  • Reference: 6035
  • Location: Van, Turkey

How to Get There

Akdamar Island, which is reachable in roughly twenty minutes by boat from Gevas. There is a small pier off the shore of the island.

The Island of Tolerance
Akdamar Island, Gevas, Van