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Welcome to Urartu

A route like no other

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A walk into History

An experience to remember

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About Urartu Culture Route

The Urartu Culture Route comprises three sections of walking and bicycle route around Lake Van, the heart of the Urartu Civilisation, in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia district. The route is a work in progress; parts are signposted and waymarked to international standards. GPS data and walking instructions are available for all the routes. We aim to link the routes into one long route encircling Lake Van.

These routes use footpaths and dirt roads between tiny villages, along the lakesides and into the hills. You will meet local shepherds with their herds and dogs, farmers gathering fruit or vegetables and the occasional fisherman. Accommodation is available in some villages, or we can transfer you back to comfortable hotels in Van or Tatvan at the end of each day. Van’s food is rightly famous – especially the traditional breakfasts, with a variety of cheeses, egg dishes, honey, cream and fresh bread.
To plan your adventure, explore our website and contact us for advice.

Menua Canal Route

The Menua Canal route lets you walk or bike around the foothills of dramatic Erek Mountain and along the famous Urartian waterway, the Menua Canal, to Van lakeside. Explore

Ayanis Coastal Route

This route follows a river, past marshes, along the coast of Lake Van. It’s dominated by the snow-capped volcano of Suphan Mountain and the Urartu temple site at Ayanis. Explore

Nemrut Caldera Route

Nemrut volcanic caldera, with a huge, deep cold lake and hot springs soars above Lake Van; this route climbs the volcano, circles the rim and descends to medieval Ahlat. Explore

Urartian History

Urartu is the name given to an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, centred to the southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea. Today, the frontiers of this area are set between Armenia, Turkey’s east and Iran’s northwest. Learn More

The world’s largest soda lake

Lake Van is a huge soda lake, 3712 square km in extent, trapped in a mountainous basin by a volcanic eruption and ringed by rolling uplands, extinct volcanoes and fertile valleys. The deepest point is 450m, and of course there are local legends of a lake monster. Learn More