Lake Van (Van Gölü) is the largest lake in Turkey and the second largest in the Middle East. The lake is located in the region of eastern Anatolia. It is a saline and soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes (having no outlet). The original outlet from the basin was blocked by an ancient volcanic eruption during the Pleistocene, when lava flows from Nemrut volcano blocked westward outflow towards the Mus Plain. Now dormant, Nemrut Dagi is close to the western shore of the lake while another dormant stratovolcano, Süphan Dagi dominates the northern side of the lake. Lake Van covers an area of 3713 km² ,I s more than 119 km across at its widest point and is 1640 metres above sea level.
150 km from Van (city) is Nemrut Mountain (not to be confused with Nemrut Dagi in Adiyaman) rising above Tatvan on the south westen edge of Lake Van. The highest peak of the mountain stands at 3050 meters and is one of the largest complete calderas in the world. The volcanic cone was believed to have originally been higher. It was at 4450 meter before its eruption. The last time it was active was in 1440 BC. There are five lakes within the crater, and the largest two, which we will visit, are wonderfully different. The Cold Lake (13 sq.kms) has an average depth of 100 meters, where its deepest point is at 155 m. The Hot Lake has a visible amount of steam rising from its thermal springs. The heat may reach up to 60 degrees centigrade:
Mount Suphan, a magnificent dormant volcano rises from the northwest shore of Lake Van. It is clearly visible from any point around Lake Van. The mountain experiences considerable snow fall throughout the winter reaching a depth of three to four meters, much of which remains until late spring.
The southern and eastern slopes of Suphan are easily accessible and are the best routes for climbing the mountain as they provide spectacular views of Lake Van to the south. The climb from the south begins at the village of Harmantepe which is also near the camp site.
At 4058 metres (13,314 ft), Suphan is the second highest peak in Turkey. Suphan is a stratovolcano (also referred to as a composite volcano). It is tall, conical and built up with many layers (strata) of hardened lava, pumice, tephra and ash. At the summit of the mountain is a depression with a lake- frozen in winter but ice cold throughout the summer. The climb can be completed in one day from the base camp but does involve an early morning start with the initial part of the climb being conducted in the dark with the aid of lamps.