Lake, givin Van its name and in the west of the city, is largest lake in Turkey with its witdth of 3713 km2 . East half of the lake is in Van, and west half of the lake is in Bitlis. The water of the lake which is 1650 meters above the sea level is better, salty and carbonated. There are four islands in the lake; Van (Ahtamar) , Adır, Carpanak and Kuş. Historical structures in these islands are interesting.
Church of Akdamar (Holy Cross)
Church of Akdamar is located in Akdamar, largest island in Lake Van. It is reached by boats departing from Gevaş. Church of Akdamar was built by Armenian Vaspurakan King Gagik I with the palace between 915 and 921. The architect of the church was Monk Manuel. Complex was expanded by adding several buildings. It served until the First World War.
Central space of the free cross shaped church was covered with high rimmed dome. Cross arms were covered with barrel vaults. Most of the frescoes decorating the interiror space are damaged. The structure is famous with various reliefs decorating the exteriror façade. Thee reliefs are one of the finest examples of Armenian stonework.