A major thrust-fault earthquake of M-w = 7.0 occurred on 23 October 2011 at 10:41:21 UTC in the eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, severely affecting the nearby towns of Van and Ercis. In this study, a few strong-motion records from the epicentral area are analyzed in order to investigate the characteristics of the ground motions. Also reported are the post-earthquake field observations for various types of structures, such as buildings, bridges, historical structures, tunnels, and dams within the vicinity of the fault plane. The spatial distribution of damage indicates a noticeable hanging-wall effect. The special-type structures are observed to experience far less damage, as opposed to the building structures in the region pointing to the need for strict compliance to seismic building code and the corresponding construction requirements.