The 2,700-year-old ‘Keşiş Lake’, the engineering wonder of the Urartians, opened to ecotourism



The 2,700-year-old 'Keşiş Lake', the engineering wonder of the Urartians, opened to ecotourism

Located at an altitude of 2,500 on the skirts of Erek Mountain in Van, Urartu King II. Keşiş Lake (Ancient Turna Lake), built by Rusa and one of the oldest ponds in the world, was opened to ecotourism with the completion of the “definitive sensitive area to be protected” registration.

Keşiş Lake (Ancient Turna Lake), one of the oldest ponds in the world from the Urartu period in Van, was opened to ecotourism with the completion of the “definitive sensitive area to be protected” registration. Located in the valley behind the Erek Mountain, 30 kilometers from the city center of Van, the 4 square kilometer Keşiş Lake and its surroundings are one of the indispensable places for mountain and plateau tourism.
Urartian King II. The 2,700-year-old Keşiş Lake, built by Rusa to irrigate agricultural lands, is also known as a highly developed engineering product. King of Urartu II, who reigned in 685-645 BC. The lake, which is believed to have been formed by Rusa by closing the river valley at the foot of Mount Erek, attracts people with its unique view where green, blue and colorful flowers meet. ‘TITUS TUNNEL’, AN ENGINEERING WONDERFUL BY THOUSAND PRISONERS
Keşiş Lake and its surroundings, which fascinate its visitors with its colorful flowers blooming and clean air, attract attention with the mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking and canoeing opportunities it offers to nature lovers.
20 million cubic meters of water can be stored in the lake, which is 2 thousand 550 meters above sea level and whose area is 4-7 square kilometers depending on precipitation. Keşiş Lake, which is visited by hundreds of local and foreign tourists every year, has been flooded with visitors again after a long time.
Nature lovers who went to Keşiş Lake as part of a tour organized by a tourism company in Van, spent time in touch with nature and enjoyed the unique view.
The tour operator, Hakim Acar, said that as the weather warmed up, they received a great demand to organize a trip to the region, and then they came to the region with a team of 125 people. Stating that Lake Keşiş is a natural wonder between Van and Gürpınar, Acar said, “This is the third tour we have organized to the region. We walked with nature lovers and had fun with activities. After Covid-19, people’s holiday and travel habits changed. “He wanted nature tours a lot. We bring people to areas where they can spend time with nature in accordance with the rules,” he said.
Kenan Koçeren, one of the nature lovers, said, “The Monk Lake is one of the rarest areas of our country. The unique nature of the lake fascinates visitors. It is a plateau that everyone should come and see. This place is very suitable for nature sports.”
Citizens who participated in the tour invited everyone to the natural wonder Keşiş Lake and said that they needed to get rid of the pandemic psychology by getting away from technology and city life for a moment.
Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ) Faculty of Science Lecturer Prof. Dr. Fevzi Özgökçe wanted the region with ancient characteristics to be introduced to the world. prof. Dr. Özgökçe stated that as Van YYU, its activities continue to determine new tourism and new route areas in order to revive ecotourism in the region. prof. Dr. Özgökçe said, “Turna Lake, an ancient lake called ‘Keşiş Lake’ by the local people, has been used as a dam for 2,700 years in the Urartu period. As of last month, it was evaluated within the framework of the ‘Sensitive Area to be Strictly Protected’ by the decision of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. We want the whole world to recognize this area, which is 30 kilometers away from the city center, with its natural beauties, bird sanctuary and ancient feature.”
Expressing that they have had very important activities in promoting the region so far, Özgökçe said, “We have reached the stage of using biodiversity together with conservation activities at the point of determining biodiversity. Turkey is a country with continental richness. We will be the rich guardians of the biodiversity that exists in every corner of our paradise homeland. Until now, biodiversity was not being exploited. Ecotourists discovered our region. In this way, we see Turna Lake as a suitable place for them to come and visit. It is an area where visitors can take beautiful photos of bridal flowers and have a great time with their families and loved ones.”


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