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Bitlis is praised for its abundance of waters in many written documents from ancient times. Bitlis, which is one of the few cities where the natural and historical environment can be preserved and where the architectural traditions of the region continue, has a special place among Anatolian cities in this respect. Bitlis still looks like a medieval city with its historical buildings, castle and old houses. There are 24 arched bridges made of cut stone on four streams passing through the city, which was established at the base of a narrow valley. The magnificent Bitlis Castle, which dominates the city, rises on a steep slope. Bitlis city is rich in historical buildings.Bitlis, located in one of the most mountainous and rugged parts of the Eastern Anatolia Region, is in the west of Lake Van. According to the rumors regarding Bitlis’s name, Macedonian King Alexander the Great ordered Lis, one of his commanders, to build a castle here, which he could not even buy, while passing through this region during the Asian Expedition. Alexander the Great, who struggled hard to capture the castle on his return, was very angry with his commander Lis, when he could not succeed and lost many of his soldiers. Later, the commander, who came and handed over the keys of the castle to Alexander the Great, reminded the king that he had ordered him to build a castle that even he could not buy, and was forgiven. Alexander the Great, who wanted to honor his commander, named the castle “Bad Lis”. This name has changed into “Bitlis” form over time. However, the history of Bitlis is much older. It is known that the Assyrians called this region “Bit Liz” meaning “Land of Liz”. The main livelihood of the people of Bitlis is animal husbandry. Meat combination areas and dairy products factories have been established in various parts of the province for processing animal products. The feed factory in Tatvan also meets the feed needs of animal keepers. Another important product of Bitlis province is honey. Fishing is done in the sweet waters of Nazik and Aygır lakes with the mouths of the streams that pour into Lake Van, whose water is soda.


History BC. There are traces of Urartu, Assyria, Med, Pers, Kingdom of Mekadonya, Roman and Byzantine Periods in Bitlis dating back to 2000. Bitlis, which became a place of importance during the Anatolian invasions that started in the 11th century and hosted Alpaslan and his armies in Ahlat, also played a very important role in the opening of the Turks to Anatolia in 1514. It became a district of Muş in 1929 and a province in 1936.

Places to Visit in Bitlis

Historic Places To See In Bitlis

Ahlat Seljuk Cemetery

Ahlat district of Bitlis hosts Ahlat Seljuk Cemetery as one of the most historical cities.Historical Seljuk tombs are the Square Cemetery in the city.

Bitlis Castle

Established after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the city, this castle symbolizes that the city is now under the rule of Alexander.Located close to the city center from east to west, the castle is at the main point where two rivers in Bitlis meet.The castle, where many restoration works have been carried out until today, maintains its original appearance.

Bitlis Ethnography Museum

As a city that has hosted both Seljuk and Ottoman governments, Bitlis has many historical buildings and ruins.

Adilcevaz Kef Castle

As a result of the excavations of the expert teams in the region, it is thought that the Adilcevaz Kef Castle remained from the Urartu period.There are opinions that it was built in the 2000s BC.

Bayindir Mosque and Cupola / Ahlat

Bayındır Mosque, next to the Bayındır cupola, was built by Bayındır Ibni Rüstem in 882 according to the Islamic calendar according to the inscription on it.

İskender Pasha Mosque / Ahlat

Iskender Pasha Mosque in the old Ahlat castle was built in 992 according to the Hijri Calendar according to the inscription on it.The architect of the mosque is thought to be Mimar Sinan. This mosque in Bitlis, which has a very conservative structure, was made bigger by Suleiman the Magnificent.

Kadi Mahmut Mosque / Ahlat

Kadı Mahmut Mosque, located opposite the İskender Pasha mosque, was built in 922 according to the Hijri Calendar.It was built by Kadı Mahmut, one of the locals of Bitlis.

Ahlat Beach Castle

The story of Ahlat Castle belongs to the period of Suleiman the Magnificent, unlike Alexander.Sultan Suleiman, who stopped by Ahlat district after his victory in the Iran campaign, orders that a castle be built to commemorate the achievements of his ancestors there.This castle, which does not take up much space, has a very solid structure.

Tatvan (Tah-Tı Van) Castle

It was built in Tatvan Castle during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.It was built by Zal Pasha, one of the viziers of Kanuni, in today’s Tuğ District of Tatvan between 1550-1560.

Hatuniye Mosque

Located in Hatuniye district, it is thought that the mosque was built in the 2nd century by Huma Hatun, the daughter of Evhadullah Sultan from the Abbasids.The domes and arches of the Hatuniye Mosque, which has been restored many times, have been demolished and turned into an earthen roof.

Ayn El Barit (Cold Pınar) Mosque

Ayn El Barit Mosque, located in the east of Bitlis, was built by Molla Gazi Abdurrahman, one of the leading locals of the region, in Hijri 1075.

Great Mosque / Adilcevaz

It is next to the old castle ruins on the west coast of the stunning Lake Van.Researchers think that the mosque was built in the 14th or 15th centuries.

Hasan Sultan Cupola

The cupola, which is in the Süleyman District, was built by Hasan Aka Bin Mehmet in 1274 in Hijri.It was built in the name of Hasan Akka, the sultan of the period.

İhlasiye Madrasa

It was built in 1216 during the Seljuk period.The madrasa, which has served the information in its inscription for many years, was restored in 1589 by the 5th Şerefhan of Bitlis Inn.It is one of the educational and cultural centers that everyone who is interested in Seljuk Architecture and culture should see.

Sultaniye Mosque and the Mausoleum of Sheikh Garip

There is a tomb on the first floor of the mosque, which has two floors in the form of a mosque and a tomb. The second floor is used as a mosque.The mosque part of the building is made of cut stone. There are rectangular windows on the facades connected by arches.

Three Bacilar Tomb

Three Bacılar Tomb, which is thought to have been built for the daughters of Serefhan, is made of smooth cut stone.The tomb is covered with a pointed barrel vault extending from the inside in the north-south direction.

Yusufiye Madrasa

Yusufiye madrasah, which is a very large and multi-purpose structure, was built in an L shape.A semi-cylindrical small mihrab niche is placed in the middle of the south side of the madrasa.The structure is covered with a flat drop. It is seen as one of the most regular madrasahs of Bitlis.

El-Aman Khan

El Aman Khan consists of five main sections with a very large courtyard.Unlike other similar inn buildings, there are no remains around it. Therefore, no inscriptions or definite information are available.This building, which is a very large inn, is one of the largest caravanserais in Anatolia.

Husrev Pasha Bath

In Hüsrev Pasha Bath, which is one of the double baths, parts of women and men are side by side.Located in the center of Bitlis, the bath was built in 979 by the Beylerbeyi Hüsrevpaşa.Built of cut stone, the bath is covered with a dome sitting on an octagonal drum.

İkizler Village Monastery

The monastery is located in İkizler Village and the walls of the church are covered with soil drops over bricks.Partly spills and destructions are observed in the building, which is arranged as sections on both sides of the entrance.It is quite remarkable as one of the rare monasteries in the city, although there is a collapse in the soil cover and other elements due to the difficult weather conditions in the winter and the destruction caused by the treasure hunters.

Natural Beauties to Visit in Bitlis

Van Lake

Lake Van is a volcanic barrier lake formed by the closure of the depression area after the explosion of the Nemrut volcanic mountain, located within the borders of Bitlis province.Lake Van is an aquatic ecosystem different from both freshwater and marine ecosystems. Its water is salty and sparkling.Since the salinity is high in the lake, it does not freeze in winter and the water level may decrease or increase depending on the climatic conditions.

Nazik Lake

It is located in the district of Ahlat in Lake Nazik, which is 25 km away from Lake Van.

Arin Lake

Adilcevaz is famous for its Arin Lake, as well as its walnut jam and historical buildings.Lake Arin, which is very close to Lake Van, is a natural wonder.

Aygır Lake

Aygır Lake, famous for its magnificent natural landscapes and clear waters, is also located in Adilcevaz district.Aygır Lake, one of the most famous lakes of Bitlis, is a very suitable area for camping and nature walks.

Mount Nemrut and Lake Nemrut

Nemrut Mountain and Nemrut Lake, located in the famous Tatvan district of Bitlis, are in the same region.Nemrut Lake is a crater lake formed as a result of the explosion of Mount Nemrut.Nemrut Lake is the second crater lake in the world and the largest in our country. Therefore, it is a great natural wonder.

 Bitlis Hot Springs

The healing waters in Bitlis, which is famous for its thermal springs as well as its historical monuments, will cure many diseases.Some of these hot springs also offer mud baths.Some of these hot springs are as follows ;Güroymak (Çukur) SpaIlıcak (Germav) Hot SpringNemrut Mountain ThermalAlemdar Thermal SpringBridge Under the Thermal SpringGrass Desert SpaArab Bridge SpaYılan Dirilten SpaHot Water SpaBudaklı Thermal Spring

Bitlis Festivals

Hıdırellez8 August Liberation of BitlisTatvan Eastern Anatolia FairNemrut Volcano Plateau FestivalAhlat Culture FestivalAdilcevaz Walnut Festival and Atatürk’s Congratulations to Bitlis.

Famous Tastes of Bitlis

Cabbage Muski SoupTomato SileBitlis MeatballsCorti VaccineStuffed StuffedBüryanKengerli RiceOnion MeatballsLiver TapingStuffed HasTeter

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