About 4km west of the centre, Van Castle dominates the view of the city. Visit at sunset for great views across the lake. From the summit the foundations of Eski Van – the old city destroyed in WWI – reveal themselves on the southern side of the rock.
Catch a 'Kale' dolmuş (₺2.50) from İskele Caddesi to the castle's northwestern corner for the official entrance and ticket office.
From October to April the castle closes at 5pm.
From the ticket office, a path leads past a cafe area, then across a stone bridge to a stairway leading up the rock, past a ruined mosque and arched-roof building, which used to be a Koranic school, up to the summit.
To reach the ruins of Eski Van, veer to the right from the cafe area and take the path through the willow forest. A few surviving buildings include the restored Hüsrev Paşa Külliyesi (1567), the nearby Kaya Çelebi Cami (1662), with a striped minaret, the brick minaret of the Seljuk Ulu Cami, and the Kızıl Cami (Red Mosque). There are also remnants of an ancient hamam, a ruined palace and a water reservoir. The southern side of the rock outcrop also holds huge cuneiform inscriptions as well as numerous khachkars (Armenian crosses) that can only be seen from Eski Van below. In the willow forest itself is Sardur Burcu (Sardur Tower; 840–830 BC). This large black stone rectangle sports cuneiform inscriptions in Assyrian praising the Urartian King Sardur I.