Gürpınar district (Van province)
With an area of 4700 km2 the Gürpınar district of Van province is the largest district (ilçe) of Turkey. In the northwest of the district a long fertile plain stretches towards Lake Van. This valley, the so-called "Hayotsdzor" ("Valley of the the Armenians"), was for thousands of years home to agricultural communities. It is here that the Urartian citadel of Çavuştepe is located, like that of Van, on a conspicuous long rock rising right in middle of the plain. The rest of the Gürpınar district consists largely of treeless mountains and is famous for its mountain pastures, particularly those in the Norduz area, bordering on Hakkari province. Gürpınar is home to an interesting variety of historical monuments: Castles (the most important being the impressive Hoşap castle), some Armenian monasteries, and in the Norduz area - the mysterious "houses of the giants", (pre?) historic buildings of large stones.