Province of Bitlis is 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.
A transition climate with the severe and terrestrial climate of the east and the Mediterranean climate dominates Bitlis where winters are cold and snowy, summers are hot and dry.
Places 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 collapsed because of a severe earthquake 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.
Mosques 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.
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 11th 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 16th 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 16th 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 16th 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 16th 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 remain in 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.