Historians, researchers, and divers were surprised and blown away by the incredible remains of a 3,000-year-old castle recently discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s Lake Van. The ruins were found during underwater excavations by a team of divers from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.
Experts’ popular opinion claims that the ruins were once a fortress built by the ancient Urartu civilization, which existed during the iron age (9th-6th centuries B.C.). The Kingdom of Urartu thrived in the south of the Black and the Caspian seas, mountainous region of southwest Asia, an area that today covers Armenia, northwest Iran, and eastern Turkey.
During the time of Urartian dominance, the level of Lake Van was hundreds of feet lower.
When the water level rose, the great fortress was lost and forgotten. According to Science Alert:
“The level of the lake, however, has fluctuated quite dramatically over the millennia, and the researchers believe that the level was far lower at the height of the Urartian society than it is today, slowly rising over time to cover parts of the city.”
The discovered ruins stretch for more than half a mile.
The walls of the ancient castle reach to around 13 feet. The remains are also in good condition, thanks to the alkaline conditions of the lake. The solid structure is primarily made of cut stones.
Experts found a drawing of a lion on one of the stones, and this supports the theory that Urartians, whose popular motif were lions, built the castle.
An unpopular opinion is that the ancient remains came from a period within the Middle Ages instead.
The head of the diving team and an underwater photographer, Tahsin Ceylan, who has been exploring Lake Van for the last decade, thinks so. He believes that medieval builders reused materials from older structures to build the castle. He claims that the 600,000-year-old Lake Van became home to many civilizations that were especially drawn to the lake’s mysterious power. He was quoted by Science Alert:
“Many civilisations and people had settled around Lake Van. They named the lake the ‘upper sea’ and believed it had many mysterious things. With this belief in mind, we are working to reveal the lake’s secrets.”
Despite the two different theories, both divers and archaeologists agree that more research should be undertaken to know more about the ruins.
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