The Turkish city of Van is sometimes described as "The Pearl of the East". It is located on the shore of Lake Van, the largest lake in the country, against a dramatically beautiful mountainous backdrop. The city is a center of Kurdish culture and, as any expatriate living in Van will tell you, this means some of the best food in the country. While the exquisite Turkish cuisine is one of the first pleasant discoveries that anyone visiting Turkey will make early on, the city of Van is especially renowned for its excellent local kebabs and breakfasts. The center itself is typical of Turkey, with plenty of restaurants, street vendors and slightly hectic traffic. It is outside the city, however, that expats living in Van will find the real treasures. The thousand year old Armenian church, perched above Lake Van, is one of the most picturesque buildings in the country, while Van Fortress, the castle rock and the surrounding landscape give expatriates in Van a cornucopia of beauty and culture to explore.
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The city is situated in the very east of Turkey and its beautiful surroundings are something of a logistical challenge for local authorities, who currently rely on a lake ferry crossing and the city's Ferit Melen Airport. The latter is probably the best bet for expatriates moving to Van, with flights to major transport hubs like Ankara, the Turkish capital, and Istanbul. There is plenty for InterNations members to enjoy on arrival, from the great food to the city's hot, sunny climate and, if you can spot one, the distinctive Van cats. There is also the prospect of getting in touch with other expats living in Van through the InterNations website – you can contact the local international community through our forums and private messages. This is a useful way of picking up tips on what to do on arrival, as well as perhaps helping expats moving to Van to organize an early meet up and get in touch with the city's international community.
There is an old Armenian proverb: "Van in this world, paradise in the next." The city is indeed a luxurious place to be based in, and life as an expat working in Van should prove comfortable, warm and culturally exciting. The city's Van Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi gives the city an academic edge, while its "kahvaltı salonu", or breakfast halls, are a popular social meeting point. In terms of settling in as an expatriate working in Van, the InterNations online Expat Magazine is a great resource well worth a read. We've got plenty of advice and information and, having sorted out basic issues like finance, insurance and so forth, expats in Van can expect to quickly become comfortable in this beautifully situated, welcoming and sun-bathed city.