Ahlat on Lake Van, Turkey

We left El Aman Han Bitlis for the next destination of the lakeside town of Ahlat.

Photos of Bitlis, Van Lake and old tombstones and street of the Ahlat Town.

Photos of Bitlis, Van Lake and old tombstones, and street of the Ahlat Town.

We arrived in the town of Ahlat and had lunch in a lakesid hotel restaurant.

Buyuk Selguklu Hotel where we consumed lunch. Shore of Lake Van. Street in the village of Ahlat, we were going to the ancient graveyard of Ahlat.

Buyuk Selguklu Hotel where we consumed lunch. Shore of Lake Van. Street in the village of Ahlat, we were going to the ancient graveyard of Ahlat.

Ahlat is a historic village and district in Bitlis Province in Eastern Anatolia. It has a population of 21,122 in 2012. The main industry of the village is agriculture. Ahlat is also known for a large number of historic tombstones left by the Ahlatshah dynasty.

Tombs of Emir Bayindir was built for Bayindir ibn Rüstem, who died in 1481. It was commissioned by his wife Sah Selime Hatun and completed in 1491

Tombs of Emir Bayindir Ahlat

Tombs of Emir Bayindir Ahlat

The tomb was built as a part of a complex including a small mosque, which is completely lost now.

The tomb and its entrance.

The tomb and its entrance of the crypt.

From the Tombs of Emir Bayindir, we moved to Harabe Şehir.

Harabe Şehir (Ruined City) Ahlat: this ruins are the houses of the Neolithic era.

Harabe Şehir (Ruined City) Ahlat

Harabe Şehir (Ruined City) Ahlat

Ancient village in huge rock , there are many cave houses.

Ancient village in huge rock , there are many cave houses.

When Mongolian invaded in the 13th century, the Turks resisted it at this caves. Harabe Şehir hosts tourists in summer while storing potatoes in winter. We went into the cave houses.

The inside of the cave houses and the ruined local houses near the Harabe Şehir.

The inside of the cave houses and the ruined local houses near the Harabe Şehir.

Here is a good playground for the local children all the year around.

They were picking up some walnuts here.

They were picking up some walnuts here.

I said “good-by” to them and then we left for the famous place with many gravestones, Seljuk Cemetery Ahlat.

 Seljuk Cemetery Ahlat

Seljuk Cemetery Ahlat

Ancient city and cultural center in Eastern Anatolia, Ahlat was left to Turkish rule by local Byzantine governor in 1055. It was later used as a forward base by Alp Arslan (Second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire) forces during his successful military campaign against Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV for the Seljuk control of Eastern Anatolia in 1071.

Innumerable tombstones. This land turtle would be wiser than human beings.

Innumerable tombstones. This land turtle would be wiser than human beings.

Ahlat was later seriously destroyed once during a capture by Celaleddin Harzemsah (Last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire) in 1229 and shortly after by a major earthquake. There are at least six ancient burial grounds in Ahlat that are the reminders of a long historical past and a glorious cultural heritage.

The Seljuk Cemetery was really impressive.

The Seljuk Cemetery was really impressive.

It’s time to leave Ahlat for the next destination. “Well, let’s go to the city of Van .”

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