The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been
discovered at the bottom of Turkey's largest lake.
excavations were led by Van Yüzüncü Y?l 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.
The discovery was made by a team of researchers, including Tahsin Ceylan, an underwater photographer and videographer,
diver Cumali Birol, and Mustafa Akku?, an academic from Van Yüzüncü Y?l 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
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
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.