Steps—considerably fewer than the 1,000 claimed in local tourist handouts—ascend to Van Kalesi, the sprawling Urartian fortress on the outskirts of town. A path branches right to Urartian tombs in the sheer south rock face; a cuneiform inscription here honors King Xerxes, whose Persian troops occupied the fortress early in the 5th century BC (look for the red metal fence on the south east side). The crumbling ramparts are still impressive, but as is often true in these parts, it's the view—sweeping across the lake and mountains—that makes the steep climb worthwhile. A taxi from the new town should cost no more than 10 TL one-way. Cheaper dolmuşes (shared taxis) depart regularly from the north end of Cumhuriyet Cadessi and are marked "Kale."
Van Kalesi, Van, Turkey