Van in Armenia




The Urartäer Fortress Van on the Tilkitepe  

The settlement hill Tilkitepe (chestnut hill) near the town of Van shows that the area was already populated around 5000 BC. The history of Van as a town goes back almost 3000 years. Under the name Tuschpa Van was the capital of the kingdom of Urartu since the 9th century BC. The city formed around the Urartian fortress near today's Van Kalesi. After wars against Assyrians, Cimmerians and Scythians, the kingdom perished in the 6th century BC. According to Armenian tradition, the fortress of Van was built by Queen Semiramis (Shamiram). It was considered impregnable.


Entrance to the fortress  

Van became part of the Persian Empire. In 331 BC Alexander the Great conquered the city. After his death Van was part of the Seleucid Empire. In the 2nd century B.C. Van became part of Armenian kingdoms.


Urartian inscription below the fortress  

Armenia later became a bone of contention between Rome and the Parthians and their successors Byzantium and the Sassanids.
Byzantium had control over Van when it was conquered by the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century AD. With their retreat Armenian principalities like the Artsruni dynasty or the empire Vaspurakan established themselves again. Vaspurakan had no fixed capital, the king moved from city to city. Van was also one of these cities. In 1021 Vaspurakan was annexed by Byzantium.


Lower attachment  

In the 11th century the Seljuk invaded Anatolia and took control of Van.
In 1240 the Mongols conquered the area around Van.
In the 14th century Van was part of the Karakoyunlu and later the Timurid Empire. In the 15th century Van was again caught in a conflict between the Ottoman and Safavid empires and was conquered by the Safavids in 1502.


Lake Van  



On 25 August 1548 the Ottomans finally conquered the city. In 1894 there were massacres of the Christian civilian population under the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II.
The massacres of Diyarbakir in 1895 also spread to Van. Thus the non-Muslim population was strongly decimated for the first time.



Railway ferry on Lake Van  



In the second year of the First World War in 1915, Armenian fedayeen in the Van uprising therefore supported the armed forces of the Russian Empire, which came from the Caucasus and with their help took Van on May 20, 1915. On 7 April 1915, the city was completely surrounded by 10,000 Armenian rebels. The Muslim population tried to escape from Van. The inhabitants of the villages around Vans, Derebey, Hakis, Zorova, Hıdır, Göllü, Şeyhane and Şeyhkara fled to the central village of Zeve. Zeve was stormed shortly afterwards by Armenian rebels, 2,000 Muslims died.

The Ottoman army succeeded in retaking the city in August 1915, but lost it again to the Russians in September of the same year. In the course of the October Revolution, Russia withdrew from Asia Minor and Van and other cities came under Ottoman rule again. However, the Ottoman Empire lost World War I and the Treaty of Sèvres provided for the cession of large parts of the eastern territory of the empire to an independent Armenia. The Turkish national movement under Kemal Pasha, later Kemal Atatürk, opposed this treaty. Their troops recaptured Van from the Armenians in 1920 during the Turkish War of Liberation. As a result, the Armenian population was murdered and expelled, which explains, among other things, the drastic decimation of the population from 1889 to 1927. The current course of the border between the Republic of Turkey and Armenia was laid down in international law in the Treaties of Alexandropol/Gümrü in 1920 and Kars in 1921. However, the Kars Treaty is still not recognised by the Armenian side.





The HZ Ömer Camii


The town of Van was badly damaged during the fighting of 1915 and was rebuilt a few kilometres east of the Vans Fortress. In 1950 Van was damaged by an earthquake. On 23 October 2011, the city was again hit by a violent earthquake that cost the lives of around 1000 people in the region.

Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others