Akhtamar Island, Van

Found in Lake Van Akhtama Island is the second largest of the four that can be found in this body of water. Imposing grey limestone cliffs and being 3km away from shore this imposing island was home to the 10th century Armenian Holy Cross Church which was the seat of power for the Apostolic Catholicosate of Aghtama until 1895.

The islands name remains a mystery, however tales of an Armenia princess who lived on the island who was in love with a commoner who would swim to see her being guided by the light she shone for him. Her father learned of this and smashed the light while he was swimming giving him no direction. The last words from his mouth were supposedly ‘oh Tamara’ as he was drowning.

Many visitors make the travel to visit the island and see the ancient buildings which are being protected and restored to their former glory after damages.