Van, Lake (vän) [key], 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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.