Lake Van Monster

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Lake Van Monster
Grouping Cryptid
Sub grouping Lake monster
First reported 1889
Country Turkey
Region Lake Van, Van
Habitat Water

The Lake Van Monster, Turkish: Van Gölü Canavarı) is a lake monster that allegedly lives in Lake Van in eastern Turkey.


The Armenian chroniclers Movses Khorenatsi and Anania Shirakatsi wrote about vishaps living in Lake Van. According to the legend, the god Vahagn, the vishapakagh ("reaper of vishaps"), would plunge into Lake Van to drag out any vishap that had grown large enough to devour the world. James Russell considers that this legend is an Armenian adoption of Urartian myths concerning the combat of the god Teisheba with the water monster Ullikummi. Russell writes that into the modern period, the Armenians of the Van basin would refer to the sudden storms that arise on the lake as vishap kami (wind).[1]

Researches showed the creature was first mentioned in the Saadet newspaper on April 29th, 1889.[2] Following these reports the Turkish government sent an official scientific survey group to the lake who failed to spot the creature.

Lake Van

In 1997 a local man called Ünal Kozak claimed to have captured the creature on video which was sent for analysis. Author Mustafa Y. Nutku has since written a book about the monster, together with Kozak.[3]

Kozak's video is under constant criticism,[citation needed] with questions like why it never pans left, possibly because of a boat that may have carried the creature. Or why the monster only goes straight, instead of curving through the water. Even criticism as to why the breathing is not in and out, but a continuous release, much like the effects of an air hose.

A 4-meter high statue based on reported sightings has been erected to its honor in Van, Turkey.

Skeptics point out that the region would benefit from tourist revenue and a hoax might attract visitors.[4]

Popular culture[edit]

The former Prime Minister of Turkey and poet Bülent Ecevit wrote a poem titled Van Gölü Canavarı (Lake Van Monster in Turkish language).[5]

The Lake Van Monster appears in The Secret Saturdays episode "The Unblinking Eye." This version resembles a Mosasaurus-like creature.

Animal X Classic Series (an Australian television show) episode #3 features the Van Lake Monster.

Josh Gates and his team search for the Van Lake monster on Destination Truth. Season 3, episode 305 Alien Mummies/Van Lake Monster.

The monster has also been mentioned at the Turkish - Turkic Mythology Dictionary (in Turkish Türk Söylence Sözlüğü) written by Deniz Karakurt.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Russell, "Van and the Persistence of Memory", p45-48, in "Armenian Van/Vaspurakan", ed. Richard G. Hovannisian, 2000.
  2. ^ "‘Van Gölü Canavarı', 121 yıl önce manşet olmuş" (in Turkish). 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Mustafa Y. Nutku; Ünal Kozak (1996). Van Gölü canavarı. Y.Y.Ü. Matbaası. ISBN 978-975-94853-0-6. 
  4. ^ RJ (June 12, 1997). "Sea monster or monster hoax?". CNN Interactive - World News. Retrieved 2006-05-01. 
  5. ^ Van (Turkey). Valilik; Bitlis Kültür Merkezi; Bitlis Valiliği İl Kültür ve Turizm Müdürlüğü; Bitlis (Turkey). Valilik, İstanbul Üniversitesi Avrasya Arkeolojisi Enstitüsü, Atatürk Üniversitesi, Van Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi, Çevre ve Kültür Değerlerini Koruma ve Tanıtma Vakfı (2007). II. Van Gölü havzası sempozyumu. Van Valiliği. ISBN 978-975-585-853-1. 
  6. ^ Deniz Karakurt (1 August 2011). Türk Söylence Sözlüğü: Turkish - Turkic Mythology Dictionary / Glossary. Deniz Karakurt. p. 89. GGKEY:Q0NEK7U796K.