"May Haldi Protect You!" Top 5 Page for this destination Van by ozalp

Van Travel Guide: 163 reviews and 442 photos

Van aka Tusba

A big, terrible earthquake hit Van on my birthday in 2011. Lots of places and buildings I've visited destroyed. The area is still dangerous. After shocks are still fatal. Plus the cold is getting bitter every day. Survivors started to leave the city. Sources say 350.000 or 650.000 people have left Van. In the first week after the quake Van cats had been forgotten in their shelter without food and drink. The situation is still terrible. People try to live under tents but they cannot heat the tents. Fires already killed some of the survivors. And nothing is getting any better for them.
Please pray for Van.

This is Van, an eastern city of my country at Iranian border. Once the capitol named Tusba, but it was more than 2800 years ago. Haldi was the God of War in the land of Urartu, and I think he is still in charge.
I almost knew all the villages of Van from the news about terrorism. I went there with fear and enthusiasm. My fear was based on years of terrorism, my enthusiasm, on my curiosity about these lands. I listened to the stories of this part of my country from my family members, especially from my father. He was a teacher and had worked in almost all eastern and southeastern cities. He had told me his memories as a tale and I noticed that I started to forget them. This burnt the fire inside me.

I’ve been raised with the stories about the generosity of eastern people. My roots were here. My folks immigrated to Igdir from Artvin, then to western cities. They brought their generosity and hospitality with them. Even I lived it, it was still unbelievable. My dad told me about people accepted him to their home and invited him dinner… He always told me if I go there and mention his name, I would be accepted like him.

So, I wanted to see these generous lands with my own eyes, I got over my fear and tried to leave my prejudices behind, hit the road.
Yet, I have some prejudices with me, like “West is modern part of my country.” And Van hit me from that prejudice: There were self-confident women all around. They are in daily life. There were young couples, long haired young men (which are not acceptable in some parts of Turkey)… This shock is not something I can tell you by words; you have to live it in your bones. But you need to feel the prejudice of a local, first.

I was there, at last. And here my tips, photos and memories…

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Breakfasts, lake, history, people
  • Cons:Terrorism
  • Last visit to Van: Mar 2011
  • Intro Updated Nov 21, 2011
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ozalp

“I like my town with a little drop of poison.”

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