How to get to Akhtamar Church by train?

The Church of the Holy Cross located on Akhtamar Island in Van Lake.

The church was built between 915 and 921 AD by Architect Bishop Manuel, under the supervision of Gagik I Ardzruni, an Armenian King who reigned over the Kingdom of Vaspurakan as a vassal under the Abbasids (see more at Wikipedia). The church is in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Akdamar Kilisesi
Photo:MishukderoOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


The Akhtamar Island is 13 km from Gevas boat pier. Gevas is at south coast of Van Lake, in the middle of Tatvan (90 km) and Van (45 km). Closest train station is Tatvan train station.

Take bus from Tatvan main bus station (next to train station) to Gevas or Van. Tell bus driver that you’d like to get off at Akhtamar Boat Pier, which is 9 km before Gevas. There are boat services to Akhtamar Island from pier (13 km).

Here’s the route map from station to Akhtamar Church:

Travel to Akhtamar Church by train

The closest train station to Akhtamar is Tatvan. It’s possible to reach to Tatvan by overnight train via Ankara.

Travel to Akhtamar Church by train
Photo:Travel to Akhtamar Church by train

Helpful information

  • You can wait until boat is full, or pay for the all seats not to wait.
  • Van (45 km from pier) has flights to Istanbul, if you prefer faster way for return.

Prepared based on personal experiences and timetables of preparation date. Please read disclaimer statement.

Prepared in 10/2018
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