Archaeologists have found an unknown fortress of Urartu

(ORDO NEWS) — In Eastern Anatolia, the ruins of a citadel were discovered, which, according to experts, could not be captured.

A group of archaeologists led by Professor Rafet Cavusoglu (Rafet Çavuşoğlu) conducted surveys around Lake Van. They climbed Mount Kara-Dag (Black Mountain) at a height of 3300 meters, for which they even needed the help of professional climbers.

There, archaeologists found a fortress, the construction of which was attributed to the period when this salt lake was the center of the lands of the ancient Armenian state of Urartu. On the way to the top, they came across more than a kilometer long stretch of the ancient road. Its width is about three meters.

Archaeologists have found an unknown fortress of Urartu 2
This is the highest Urartu fortress found to date

The fortress itself is about 70 meters long and about 30 meters wide. The walls were erected with the walls deepened into the rocks, which is generally typical for Urartian fortresses. A very interesting find is a water tank with a diameter of seven meters. It is carved into the rock, and then lined with a layer of stones (perhaps for filtering).

The fortress was also used after the fall of Urartu. For example, the same water cistern was obviously put in order at a later time: traces of a solution were found on its walls, which archaeologists attribute to the early Middle Ages. And, of course, a lot of ceramics – from the Iron Age to the High Middle Ages.

What is attractive about this place? First of all, absolute impregnability. First, it’s high. Secondly, there are cliffs on four sides of the fortress, only one road leads to it. It is almost impossible to conquer this place.

A little lower down the slope, archaeologists found poorly preserved sites, which Professor Cavusoglu interpreted as the remains of an Urartian settlement.

In this regard, he suggested that representatives of the ruling class of Urartu lived in the fortress, which once acted as an administrative center. And in the settlement below – those who served the rulers.

Archaeologists have found an unknown fortress of Urartu 3
A water tank carved into the rock by the Urartians has been used for centuries

Needless to say, this assumption is justified. The very formation of Urartu as a state (rather than a union of tribes) became possible when people mastered iron and learned how to build fortresses.

Before that, they suffered from regular predatory campaigns in these lands of the Assyrians. No one in Asia Minor could oppose something in the military plan of Assyria at that time. Therefore, the Urartians chose the path of defense.

All their fortresses are built on significant elevations, which, frankly, are enough in the Armenian Highlands. For example, Tushpa (the modern city of Van), the capital of Urartu during its heyday, was built on the Van rock, which is 1800 meters high.

Later, already at the time of the decline of the state, King Rusa II moved the capital to Rusakhinili, also built on a rock. And even the last Urartian fortress of Teishebaini was once located on the Karmir Blur hill (outskirts of modern Yerevan).

As you can see, the Urartians traditionally placed their fortresses on hills, but never before have archaeologists found them so high.

Most likely, it was the impregnability of the fortress and the possibility of a good overview of the surroundings of Van, along the banks of which a strategically important ancient road passed, influenced the fact that even after the decline of Urartu it was used for many centuries.

After the decline of Urartu, in the 8th century BC, the lands around Van were ceded to the Persians, but they were ruled by Armenian satraps from the Yerevandid dynasty. The area, attractive in terms of trade, flourished under Tigran the Great.

After his conquests, during which Great Armenia became the strongest state of Western Asia, the area around Lake Van was actively built up: the population grew (including due to immigrants), trade flourished, roads were built.

In general, the Armenians consider the lands around Van to be their ancestral home, therefore, already in the Middle Ages, temples were erected there, hermits settled there, people from the Ararat Valley and other places made pilgrimages there.

Although the region constantly changed hands, including into the Muslim states, the population remained mainly Armenian and, accordingly, Christian. Only at the beginning of the 20th century did the Ottoman Empire carry out what was incomprehensible and unnecessary cruelty for its predecessors – the genocide of 1915.

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