Çarpanak, one of the biggest islands on Lake Van, is an excellent spot to spend a lovely day in untouched nature. Çarpanak Island is exceptionally beautiful in the spring and has become a major tourist attraction for Lake Van.
Visitors can rent small fishing boats in Van's Çitören neighborhood to make the one hour and 40 minute journey cross the lake to the island primarily home to flocks of seagulls.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), fisherman Fevzi Yıldırım said domestic and international tourists flock to Çarpanak Island every spring to lose themselves in the island's raw nature. He also said the spot attracts nature lovers as well as photographers and artists looking for inspiration.
"Visitors are mesmerized by the island's nature as well as the architecture of Çarpanak Church. People spend the whole day there taking pictures and videos, and when they're done, we - the fishermen - take them back to the mainland."
Local Halit Abalı offered reassurance that they are doing everything in their power to protect Çarpanak's ecosystem. Since he is a fisherman as well, Abalı said they keep an eye on the island throughout the day, every day.
"When we see a stranger close to the island, we always ask them to identify themselves to determine whether they are hunters or not. We also make sure visitors keep the island clean and leave it as they found it," Abalı said.
Also known as Ktuts or Ktouts, Çarpanak Island was once inhabited by Armenians and is still home to the Armenian monastery Ktutsis. Though currently closed, visitors can still explore its ruins. Though the monastery was once a huge complex with a library, chapels and guest houses, the church remains the only structure is still standing today.