We spent the day visiting Hosap Castle and Cavustepe and used a combination of minibus (dolmus) and hitchhiking to see them from the city of Van. The scenery in this part of the world is spectacular.
Minibus from Van to Hosap Castle
It’s easy to find a minibus from Van to Hosap (Castle) as they seem to leave quite frequently. You can take minibuses heafed for Hakkari or Yusekova.
We took a minibus which left from opposite the Van Mall on Cumhuriyet Caddesi which was heading for Yukesova. It cost 30 TRY for the one hour journey through rugged mountains
As soon as you descend the hill towards the town of Hosap you will see the Castle towering over the town. It’s a very dramatic looking castle which dates to the 17th Century, although other castle like structures were probably built on this site before.
We got off the bus and had some tea before ascending the steep climb behind the tea shop. The castle was locked up for renovation, but a local guy had the key and let us in.
Parts of the castle have been restored including the entrance. As the key keeper opened the two metal doors he pointed out multiple bullet holes in the doors which we understood to have been because some of the door motifs look like the Star of David. Who knows?
We wandered up through a dark corridor to the courtyard and then onto the Castle walls. Part of the Castle is fenced off for renovation and another part you cannot go to take photos because the Jandarma ( military ) post is stationed strategically at the top of the hill guarding the entrance into the town.
The views looking out were very nice and we wandered around the parts of the Castle which were accessible. As we left we gave the key keeper some cash.
Hosap Castle to Cavustepe
After descending the Castle back into town we bought some bread rolls and went back to the tea shop to wash them down.
We made a quick toilet stop at the mosque opposite and then set off up the hill towards the Jandarma station. They regularly stop traffic to check IDs and we had decided to try and hitch to Cavustepe from there.
Luckily before we had got there a big pick up truck stopped and picked us up. We then got stopped at the Jandarma check point and they checked all our IDs. No problems there and off we went.
It was a great vehicle for these winding mountain roads and the driver maximised the power of his engine. The driver and his mate were engineers and drillers respectively and had travelled extensively throughout the world (Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Philippines etc). Interestingly the only English they had seemed to be ‘yes’. It gave us a chance to practice our Turkish, assisted by Google translate.
The 30km journey was quick and we thanked them as they dropped us off at the side of the road.
A treasure for an archaeologist, but harder to understand for the untrained eye. This place was once a home for Urartian kings going back to the 8th Century.
It was very pleasant to wander up the hill to the site and have a look around. We took in some of the scenery before heading down to the road.
Cavustepe to Van
We aimed to take whichever transport stopped first so we tried to hitch a ride, but the traffic was limited. After about 15 minutes a minibus stopped for us and took us back into Van.
A good day out, especially the scenery and Hosap Castle.