Akdamar Island, is
55km. from Van and a twenty minute motor ride from the jetty on Van - Tatvan
highway. It is known for its original church. Akdamar Church was commissioned to
architect priest Manuel by King Gakik I of the Vaspurakan dynasty during the
years 915 - 921 B.C.
The church has a
four leaved clover plan with a domed center, and it is built from red colored
cut tufa stone.
At the exterior of
the structures there are stone reliefs depicting religious themes from the Bible
and Tevrat as well as earthly themes, such as life at palace, hunting scenes and
human and animal figures. The manner these themes are worked show an influence
of 9th and 10 th century Abbasi Art, which was itself in
turn greatly influenced by the Central Asian Turkish Art.
The interiors of
the church walls are decorated with frescoes showing religios themes, which are
practically disappearing today. These wall paintings have a special significance
as the most comprehensive and oldest examples found in this region.