Van Lake - Turkey

Akdamar Island

Akdamar Island Overview
It is an island a few miles off the shore of Lake Van. It can be reached by boats from the pier of Geyvaş. Legend has it that because of the impossible love of a girl, Tamara, and a young man, the island used to be called “Oh! Tamara” and in time, the present name Akdamar was derived from this expression.

The island is well-known with the church, bearing the same name. The church, built by the Armenian King Gagik I in 915, is a well-protected Armenian church and open to visit. The church reflects the artistic style of the Bagratids period starting with Ashool, I, who was enthroned by the Abbasids.

The church was built by the architect monk Manuel and dedicated to the Sacred Cross. The hall with pillars to the east and the bell tower were elaborated in the 18th century. The church of cut stone masonry is of particular interest with its architecture and embellishments. The reliefs depict scenes from the Old Testament and the Bible. It can be reached by a short boat ride easily.