Van: il Paradiso Perduto degli Armeni
The region of Lake Van played a key role in the history and culture of the Armenians: Van in this world, Paradise in the next. So the Armenians used to speak about this region characterized by a relatively mild climate, where for millennia they have lived and built cities, villages, fortresses, monasteries and hermitages. From the ninth to the sixth centuries BC the region of Van has been the heart of the Urartian civilization. Thereafter and until the 1915 genocide this region, often called Vaspurakan in the Armenian sources, has been a major center of historical Armenia. Many monuments of the ancient Armenian history and culture still survive around the shores of the lake. In no other region of historical Armenia the contrast between past and present is equally strong and painful.