Lake Van

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Salt lake in eastern Turkey.

Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, some 5,600 feet (1,600 m) above sea level, with a surface area of 1,400 square miles (3,700 sq. km). Having no outlet, its waters evaporate and concentrate salts, including carbonates and sulphates of soda; the resulting blue-green color creates a startling, austere beauty. Lake Van is stocked with darek, a herring-like fish consumed locally.


Fisher, Sydney N. The Middle East: A History, 3d edition. New York: Knopf, 1979.

john r. clark

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Lake Van (vän), 1,453 sq mi (3,763 sq km), largest lake in Turkey, in E Turkey 65 mi (105 km) SW of Mt. Ararat. Some 75 mi (120 km) long, the lake is alkaline and has no outlet; the city of Van is near the lake's east shore. The region around the lake was the site of the ancient kingdom of Urartu (or Ararat) and is traditionally regarded as the cradle of ancient Armenia. On the island of Akdamar (or Akhtamar) is the restored Armenian Church of the Holy Cross (915–21).