|Region||Central East Anatolia|
|• Electoral district||Van|
|• Governor||Mehmet Emin Bilmez|
|• Total||19,069 km2 (7,363 sq mi)|
|• Density||60/km2 (160/sq mi)|
Van Province (Turkish: Van ili, Kurdish: Parezgêha Wanê, Armenian: Վանի մարզ) is a province in the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, between Lake Van and the Iranian border. It is 19,069 km2 in area and had a population of 1,035,418 at the end of 2010. Its adjacent provinces are Bitlis to the west, Siirt to the southwest, Şırnak and Hakkâri to the south, and Ağrı to the north. The capital of the province is the city of Van. The province is considered part of Western Armenia by Armenians and was part of ancient province of Vaspurakan. The region is considered to be the cradle of Armenian civilization. Before the Armenian genocide, Van Province was part of six Armenian vilayets. A majority of the province's modern day population is Kurdish. The current Governor is Mehmet Emin Bilmez.
In the first Turkish census in 1927, Kurdish was the most-spoken first language in Van Province (which included Hakkari Province until 1945) at 76.6% while Turkish remained the second most-spoken first language at 23.1%. Other languages enumerated included Hebrew at 0.2% and Arabic at 0.1%. In the same census, Muslims comprised 99.8% of the population and the remaining 0.2% being Jews.
In the subsequent census in 1935, Kurdish stood at 72.4% and Turkish at 27.2%. Other smaller languages included Circassian at 0.2%, Hebrew at 0.1%, Arabic at 0.1%.
Muslims remained the largest denomination at 99.8%, Jews stood at 0.1% and Christians at 0.1%. In 1945, Kurdish stood at 59.9% and Turkish at 39.6%, while 99.9% of the population was Muslim. In 1955, Kurdish and Turkish remained the two most spoken languages at 66.4% and 33.1%, respectively.
This area was the heartland of Armenians, who lived in these areas from the time of Hayk in the 3rd millennium BCE right up to the late 19th century when the Ottoman Empire seized all the land from the natives. In the 9th century BC the Van area was the center of the Urartian kingdom. The area was a major Armenian population center. The region came under the control of the Armenian Orontids in the 7th century BC and later Persians in the mid-6th century BC. By the early 2nd century BC it was part of the Kingdom of Armenia. It became an important center during the reign of the Armenian king, Tigranes II, who founded the city of Tigranakert in the 1st century BC.
Seljuks and Ottomans
With the Seljuq victory at the Battle of Malazgirt in 1071, just north of Lake Van, it became a part of the Seljuq Empire and later the Ottoman Empire during their century long wars with their neighboring Iranian Safavid arch rivals, in which Sultan Selim I managed to conquer the area over the latter. The area continued to be contested and was passed on between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavids (and their subsequent successors, the Afsharids and Qajars) for many centuries until the Battle of Chaldiran which set the borders till this day. During the 19th century it was reorganized as Van Vilayet.
Republic of Turkey
In 1927 the office of the Inspector General was created, which governed with martial law. The province was included in the first Inspectorate General (Umumi Müfettişlik, UM) over which the Inspector General ruled. The UM span over the provinces of Hakkâri, Siirt, Van, Mardin, Bitlis, Sanlıurfa, Elaziğ and Diyarbakır. The Inspectorate General were dissolved in 1952 during the Government of the Democrat Party.
According to the 2012 Metropolitan Municipalities Law (Law No. 6360), all Turkish provinces with a population more than 750 000, will have a metropolitan municipality and the districts within the metropolitan municipalities will be second level municipalities. The law also creates new districts within the provinces in addition to present districts.
In Van province occurred several earthquakes. In 1881 an earthquake occurred and caused the death of 95 people. In 1941, Van suffered a destructive 5.9 Mw earthquake. Two more earthquakes occurred in 2011 in which 644 people died and 2608 people were injured. In a 7.2 Mw earthquake on 23 October 2011, more than 500 people were killed. On 9 November 2011, a 5.6 Mw magnitude earthquake killed also several people and caused buildings to collapse.
Van Province is divided into 14 districts.
Haykaberd or Çavuştepe
The Armenian Monastery of Narek (10th century)
Varagavank Armenian monastery (11th century)
The Armenian Monastery of Saint Bartholomew (13th century)
Tomb of Halime Hatun in Gevaş (14th century)
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