Ruins of a 3000-year-old Armenian castle found in Lake Van – Turkey

Ruins of a 3000-year-old Armenian castle found in Lake Van – Turkey

The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake. The underwater excavations were led by Van Yüzüncü Yıl University and the governorship of Turkey’s eastern Bitlis Province.

The castle is said to belong to the Iron Age Armenian civilization also known as the Kingdom of Van, Urartu, Ararat and Armenia. The lake itself is believed to have been formed by a crater caused by a volcanic eruption of Mount Nemrut near the province of Van. The current water level of the reservoir is about 150 meters higher than it was during the Iron Age.

Divers exploring Lake Van discovered the incredibly well-preserved wall of a castle, thought to have been built by the Urartu civilization. Experts had been studying the body of water for a decade before it revealed the fortress lost deep below its surface.

The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake. Divers exploring Lake Van discovered the incredibly well-preserved wall of a castle, thought to have been built by the Urartu civilization
Underwater Fairy Chimneys in Van lake.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers, including Tahsin Ceylan, an underwater photographer and videographer, diver Cumali Birol, and Mustafa Akkuş, an academic from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.

Legends among the area’s population spoke of ancient ruins hidden in the water, and the Van team decided to investigate. Over the course of ten years, they captured images of pearl mullets, microbialites, corals and even a sunken Russian ship, but their prize remained elusive.

Their search has now paid off, uncovering castle stonework that has been protected from the ravages of time by the lake’s highly alkaline waters. It is thought the stone structure was built by the Urartians, as the rocks used were favoured by civilization.

The castle, as well as a number of villages and settlements in the area, were built at a time when water levels were much lower than they are today.

Speaking to Hurriyet Daily News, Mr. Ceylan said: ‘Many civilizations and people had settled around Lake Van.

‘They named the lake the “upper sea” and believed it hid many mysterious things.

‘With this belief in mind, we are working to reveal the lake’s secrets.

‘It is a miracle to find this castle underwater.’

The Kingdom of Urartu was an ancient country in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea.  Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran.

Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century BC, Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the Middle East in the 9th and 8th centuries BC.

The Urartians were succeeded in the area in the 6th century BC by the Armenians. Urartu is an Assyrian name and the people called Urartians called their country Biainili. Their capital Tushpa was located at what is now known as Lake Van.

Most remains of Urartian settlements are found between four lakes: Çildir and Van in Turkey, Urmia in Iran, and Sevan in Armenia, with a sparser extension westward to the Euphrates River.

Map of historic Armenian with Lake Van at its center.

 

2 thoughts on “Ruins of a 3000-year-old Armenian castle found in Lake Van – Turkey”

  1. Lake Van is not a crater lake.
    Nemrut Crater Lake is about 13km west of Lake Van. Could this be where the discovery was made?

  2. I thought this is a serious archaeological article but is a merely propaganda for uncritical minds. Isn’t it. Urartus were Caucasian and nothing to do the Hay ethnic composition. Armenians of the time (3000 years ago) are not related to the Hay ethnic complexity of the Medieval and modern times. Nonetheless, a good fairy chimney picture in Lake Van, which I hope is not a Photoshop artwork.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *