Array ( ) 3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey | Ancient Origins
3,000-year-old remains of a castle at the bottom of Lake Van in Turkey.

3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey

(Read the article on one page)

Marine archaeologists made a superb find at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake – a very well-preserved castle dating back 3,000 years. It was likely built by the mysterious Urartian civilization which inhabited the surrounds of Lake Van during the Iron Age.

Although locals have long reported legends of ancient ruins under the water, divers had investigated the lake for almost a decade before finding the fortifications. Hurriyet Daily News reports that the research team discovered numerous other features of interest during this time period, including stalagmites that were at least 10 meters (33 feet) long, known as ‘underwater fairy chimneys’, pearl mullets, and a sunken Russian ship, but the ancient ruins had proved elusive until now.

‘Fairy chimneys’, a common feature in some regions of Turkey, were found underwater in Lake Van

‘Fairy chimneys’, a common feature in some regions of Turkey, were found underwater in Lake Van ( Arian Zwegers / flickr )

Underwater Castle

The recent finding of the underwater fortifications 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. 

The castle, which had been built during the Iron Age, when water levels were much lower, remains in good condition thanks to the alkaline waters of Lake Van.

“Today, we are here to announce the discovery of a castle that has remained underwater in Lake Van,” videographer Tahsin Ceylan told Hurriyet Daily News. “I believe that in addition to this castle, microbialites will make contributions to the region’s economy and tourism. It is a miracle to find this castle underwater. Archaeologists will come here to examine the castle’s history and provide information on it.”

Ceylan explained that the walls of the fortification cover an area of about one square kilometre (0.4 square miles). About 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) of the wall are visible above the lake bed, but it is not clear how deep the walls go, so detailed excavations need to be carried out on the newly-discovered castle to learn more.

Mysterious Civilization

Archaeologists believe the castle was built by the Urartians, a mysterious civilization that existed in what is now Eastern Turkey, Iran and the modern Armenian Republic, from around the 13 th century BC. Very little is known about the kingdom of Urartu and the origins of its people, but they spoke a language related to Hurrian, are well-known for their advanced metallurgy, and used an adapted form of the Assyrian cuneiform script.

A Urartian Temple in the Erebuni Fortress, Turkey.

A Urartian Temple in the Erebuni Fortress, Turkey. Photo source:  Public Domain .

Ceylan told Hurriyet Daily News that they named Lake Van the ‘upper sea’ and believed it had many mysterious secrets. The fortification shows evidence of stones cut in a style used by the Urartians.

After a period of expansion, the Kingdom or Urartu came under attack starting around the 8 th century BC. It was finally destroyed towards the end of the 6 th century BC. Many Armenians today claim that they are descendants of the Urartians.

Top image: 3,000-year-old remains of a castle at the bottom of Lake Van in Turkey. Credit: Anadolu

By April Holloway

Comments

Believe it or not, those are natural. They have been sculpted that way over a very long time by nature.

Fairy Chimneys... That's a new one, guess good ol' johnson is not hip enough. Some weird phallic obsessed civilization that was.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.
The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two sets of calendars, were invented by the ancient Egyptians. One of these was a lunar calendar, which was used mainly for the organization of religious festivals.

Ancient Places

Smuts house
The farmstead of General Jan Smuts on the outskirts of Pretoria, is reputed to be one of the most haunted private homes in the country, according to Mr Mark Rose-Christie, raconteur and social scientist, who regularly takes brave visitors on a tour of haunted sites on his mystery ghost bus.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article