Area: 6.707 km²
Population: 330.115 (1990)
Traffic Code: 13
Province of Bitlis was located at the Eastern Anatolia Region and is surrounded by Siirt from south, by Muş from west, by Ağrı from north and by Van Lake from east. It is an important city with its castles and Turkish Islam creations.
Districts : Ahlat, Güroymak, Hizan, Mutki and Tatvan.
How to Get
Highway Reaching to the surrounding cities and districts is possible via highway.
Bus Station Tel: (+90 – 434) 827 72 21 – 226 78 00 – 226 69 69 – 226 79 69 – 226 27 34
Railway The Governmental Railways connected to Europe – Istanbul reaches to the eastern countries by the Tatvan district and by the ferry over the Van Lake.
Railway Station Tel: (+90 – 434) 827 57 02
Airway Reaching to the Bitlis Province is possible from the airports in Van and Muş Provinces.
The Ferry Transport The ferry works without timetable between Van and Tatvan.
Where to Visit
Ahlat Province is founded at the shores of Van Lake and is at 60 km. distance to the city center. There are 14 vaults, 2 castles most of which are the remains of the 13th century, 5 historic graveyards from the Seljukian period, 1 historic graveyard from the Ottoman Period, 4 separate graveyards to the north of the Yuvadamı village remained from the period between BC 2000 and BC 1200 years, 2 mosques and 1 bath from the Ottoman Period. The Emirlik Bayındır Bridge (Emirate Development Bridge) in the district should be visited. The major historic presence of the district is the historic “Seljukian Graveyard” which was founded over nearly 200 acre area. Beside the coffer tombs with or without tombstones in the graveyard each displaying the property of monumental structure, the underground graveyards in the style of chamber tombs which is the burial style of the Central Asian Turkish culture is encountered in this graveyard. The Vaults, which are located among other important historic structures are the monumental tombs of the governors and the rulers of the period, which had developed with the effect of Islamic culture and are composed of small mosques constructed over the underground tomb chamber.
Ahlat also has the most beautiful beach at the perimeter of the Van Lake. The district displays the improvement capacity at the fields of shore tourism and water sports and it is possible to swim for 4 months at the beaches of the district. Also the Sütay Plateau located at the north of the district has a potential for the improvement of the plateau tourism. The hand crafted “Ahlat Bastonu” (Ahlat Walking Stick is famous through the entire country.
Bitlis Castle The Bitlis Castle is located at the steep slope, which is adjacent to the shopping mall in the city center. The castle was constructed in BC 312 by the order of Alexander the Great and one of his commanders Leis Bedlis had completed the structure. As the interior part of the castle is filled with earth, it is not possible to wander inside the castle. However, there is a wonderful panoramic view from the peak of the hill.
Tatvan Castle The castle was constructed by Zal Paşa, one of the viziers of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman at the Tuğ quarter of Tatvan.
Ahlat Shore Castle The castle was from the Urartu Period but had collapsed because of a severe earthquake happened in 1224. The castle was reconstructed in 1556 by the order of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. In the present day, only the castle is standing while the interior building are in ruins.
Adilcevaz Shore Castle The castle is constructed over the steep rocks at the shore of the Van Lake. The castle has a tower and the historic records indicate that there was the Süleyman Han Mosque, ammunition cellar, grain granaries, water cisterns, mehterhane (military musicians) tower and 70 houses inside the castle. There are only the ruins of these structures in the present day.
MOSGUES AND VAULTS
The Ulu (Great) Mosque, Gökmeydan Mosque, Kızıl (Scarlet) Mosque, Külliye of Şerefiye Mosque in the Bitlis Province is the structures worth seeing. Some of the other mosques and vaults in the province are; Dörtsandık, Ayne’l -Badrid, Şeyh Hasan, Alemdar, Kureyşi, Taş, Hatuniye, İskender Paşa, Emir Bayındır, Tuğrul Bey and Kale Altı Mosques.
Emir Bayındır Vault, Küfrevi Vault, Çifte (double) Vault, Emir Ali Vault, Usta – Şagirt Vault, Şeyh Babo (Üryan Baba) mausoleum.
Ulu Mosque (Center): Mosque constructed in 1150 by Ebu’l Muzaffer Muhammed is one of the oldest samples of Anatolian Turkish architecture. Strong stone architecture and balcony front dome within a symmetric balanced plan which is prototype among the other mosques is emphasizing an impressing development. The development of these process continues in Artukian mosques afterwards.
Ulu Vault: Ulu Vault, which is the biggest of Ahlat vaults, is at south of Meydanlık Graveyard, and near to Lake Van. It is estimated that it is constructed during XIIIth century. Rosette and “Wheel of Fortune” motifs are adorned on the loopholes on base of vault.
Hüseyin Timur Vault: It is the one on the west of the two vaults, naming İki Kubbe District. “Emir Hüseyin Timur ibn Bugatay Aka died in 1279” is mentioned in the script on its entrance, and “Hüsameddin Hüseyin Aka Kızı Esentekin Hatun died in 1280” is mentioned in the script on east window.
Bugatay Aka Vault: The vault constructed for Bugatay Aka and Şirin Hatun died in 1281, is at the east of Hüseyin Timur Vault.While covered with a conical hat externally, the vault is closed by a dome internally.
Hasan Padişah Vault: This vault in Taht-ı Süleyman District is the second important and big monument after Ulu Vault. It is made up of Ahlat stone, and repaired widely. Vault is covered by a dome internally, and a conical hat externally.
Erzen Hatun Vault: According to the script written on corolla door, vault was constructed for Emir Ali’s daughter Erzen Hatun between 1396 and 1397,and is one of the most ornamented one among the Ahlat Vaults. Besides geometrical and vegetal adornments, borders of hexagonal series are interesting.
Emir Bayındır Vault: The vault at the west of the İki Kubbe District, at the end of Meydanlık Graveyard is one of the most interesting Ahlat vaults according to art history. In the script which surrounds the vault from its upper part, the life and characteristics of Melik Bayındır Bey, who died in 1481 is written.
Kesiş Vault: The vault in İki Kubbe District is the simplest piece of art of Ahlat. It is also known as Keşiş or Tek Vault. According to the general characteristics of its structure, it is supposed to be a XIVth century product.
The most important theological schools of the province are the İhlasiye Theological School, Nuhiye Theological School, Şerefiye Theological School and Yusufiye Theological School.
INNS AND CARAVANSERAIES
Hatuniye (Hazo) Inn The inn is located adjacent to the same named bridge. It was told that the building was constructed by Hamu Hatun (Lady Hamu) who was the daughter of Sultan Evhadullah Han of Abbasi civilization in XI. Century.
Papşin (Hüsrev Paşa) Inn The inn is located on the Bitlis – Tatvan highway. There are rumors that the structure was constructed by Beylerbeyi Hüsrev Paşa in XVI. Century.
Başhan Inn The inn is located on the Bitlis – Tatvan highway. There are rumors that the structure was constructed by Beylerbeyi Hüsrev Paşa in XVI. Century.
El – Aman Caravanserai The El – Aman Caravanserai is one of the greatest caravansaries of Anatolia and is composed of shops, a mosque and a bath together with a Külliye. El – Aman Caravanserai was constructed by Hüsrev Paşa in XVI. Century.
The other major inns and caravanseraies inside the border of the province are as follows: Şerefiye, Arasa, Yusufiye, Duhan and Kokoz Zal Paşa caravanseraies.
The only bath structures that could withstand throughout the age are the Han (Khan) Baths belonging to Şerefhan nation in the city center of Bitlis Province and the Paşa Bath which was constructed by Hüsrev Paşa in XVI. Century. However Han Sarayı (palace of the Khan) Bath inside the castle and the Saray (Palace) Bath in the Zeydan quarter lay in ruins . The ruins of baths inside the El Aman Caravansary and Ahlat and Adilcevaz Castles have historical importance.
Van Lake Half of the Van Lake is inside the borders of the Bitlis Province. Waters of the Van Lake contain salt and soda. The districts of Ahlat, Adilcevaz and Tatvan are established at the shoreline of Van Gölü. There are lots of beaches, accommodation facilities and restaurants at the shore.
Nemrut Mountain and crater lakes Nemrut Mountain was located inside the borders of Tatvan District, to the north of the province. The mountain is 2935 meters high and display volcanic characteristics. Nemrut Mountain is a natural wonder and is being visited by numerous local and foreign tourists, especially in the summer season every year. The Nemrut Lake is located inside the crater area of Nemrut Mountain and is the first greatest crater lake of our country and is the second greatest crater lake of the world. The mountain is 27 km. away from Bitlis and is 13 km. away from Tatvan and could be easily reached by Tatvan – Çekmece Village and Ahlat – Serinbayır village roads by private car.
As Bitlis city center and the surrounding area are located on the fault line, there are numerous thermal hot springs inside the borders of the province. Some of these thermal springs are; Güroymak (Çukur) Thermal Spring, Ilıcak (Germav) Thermal Spring, Nemrut Mountain Thermal Spring, Alemdar, Köprü Altı, Çim Çölmüğü, Arap Köprüsü (Arabian bridge), Yılan Dirilten (Snake Resurrection), Acı Su (Bitter Water) etc.
Nemrut Gölü Bird Area, Sodalıgöl Bird Area and Van Gölü Bird Area are in Bitlis.
Van Closed Basin
Provinces: Tatvan, Güroymak
Surface Area : 4500
Altitude : 2247 m
Bird Species: It gains important bird areas status with kadife ördek (max. 20 pairs) and kaya kartalı (1 pair).
Main Characteristics: sweet water lake, mountain
Surface Area : 1500
Altitude : 1650 m
Bird Species: Boz ördek (10 pairs), Macar ördeği (30 pairs) are dikkuyruk (30 pairs) most important ones reproducing within the region.
Main Characteristics: salt lake
Hunting and Fishing The number of terrestrial hunting animals is abundant in the province. The most convenient hunting grounds of the province are Tatvan – Reşadiye surroundings and Bitlis – Sarıkonak surroundings. For fishing, Van Lake, Nazik Lake and Aygır Lake are the major locations.
Trekking For trekking purposes, the Nemrut Mountain and the Süphan Mountain are at the first place inside our country.
Ski Center There is a ski center at the Bitlis city center.
Bitlis Ski Center
Bitlis is in the far east of the country, in Eastern Anatolia around 20km south-west of Lake Van, and the skiing area is inside the city.
Arrival: The city is 1100km from Ankara, 1504km from Istanbul, 1465km from Izmir and around 200km south of Erzurum. The nearest airports are at Mus (85km) and Van (160km). Bitlis can be reached from anywhere in the country by bus.
Geography: The resort has temperate terrestrial climate and the season runs between December and April. The area of Bitlis gets snow continuously in the winter, which had a depth of 1-2m. The areas for skiing are Dideban (1821m) and Sapgor mountains east of the city, and Altinkalbur at the west.
Facilities: In addition to the ski lodge inside the resort, there is much more accommodation and other services in the city. The resort at Altinkalbur has a T-bar facility 726m long, and the standard of ski runs is between moderate and difficult.
The climate of the Bitlis Province displays terrestrial characteristics but is actually has a transition climate with the severe and terrestrial climate of the east and the Mediterranean climate. Winter seasons in the province are cold, summers are hot and dry.
Bitlis name had been derived from the name “Bedlis” which was the name of the commander who has constructed the castle in the province by the order the Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia. The history of Bitlis extends to the date of BC 2000 and the city contains the traces of Urartu, Asur, Med, Persian, Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine periods.
Where to Eat
The most famous local meal of the Bitlis Province is Büryan kebab. This kebab is cooked with the meat of the goat and is only available in months of June, July and August. If you can spare time from sleep, you can eat the local meal “avşor” at 5.00 o’clock in the morning in these months.
What to Buy
The Province of Bitlis provides a rich variety of souvenir options to their visitors. The pileless carpets and carpets painted colorful with root paints, earth potteries and the walking sticks of Ahlat which are famous throughout country are only a small section of these souvenirs. Also Hizan hazelnut, Adilcevaz walnut, Mutki kara hive honey and cube cheese are the major food souvenirs.
Don’t Leave Without
– Visiting Nemrut Mountain and Nemrut Crater Lake,
– Visiting Ahlat Vaults and Seljukian Graveyard,
– Visiting Bitlis Castle, İhlasiye Theological School, Şerefiye Mosque and Vaults,
– Tasting Bitlis Büryan kebab and avşor,
– Buying woven pileless small carpets painted with root paint, Ahlat walking stick, Hizan hazelnut, Adilcevaz walnut, Mutki kara hive honey and cube cheese
Registered Immobile Cultural and Natural Heritages in Bitlis
Archeological Sites: 5
Urban Sites: –
Natural Sites: 1
Historical Sites: 1
Archeological+Historical+Urban Sites: 1 Natural+Urban+Archeological Sites: 1
Urban and Archeological Sites: 1
Cultural (at Single Construction Scale) and Natural
Provincial Cultural Directorate
Tel: (434) 226 53 00
Fax: (434) 226 53 03
Ahlat Museum Address: Ahlat – Bitlis Tel: (434) 411 30 89
Governorship : (+90-434) 226 50 00
Municipality : (+90-434) 226 59 00
Hospital : (+90-434) 226 67 00
Police : (+90-434) 226 55 00
Gendarme : (+90-434) 226 56 08
Provincial Directorate : (+90-434) 226 53 04
Tourism Information Office : (+90-434) 827 63 01
Provincial Culture Directorate : (+90-434) 226 53 00
Bitlis Governorship http://www.bitlis.gov.tr
OHAL Governorship http://www.ohal.gov.tr/