Divers explored Lake Van, and accidentally stumbled upon some suspiciously well-preserved ruins. Little did they know they found a 3,000-year-old ancient castle.
Believed to have been built by the ancient Urartu civilization, the ancient ruin is actually a part of the wall, that is believed to have protected a castle. The fortress was finally revealed this year after decades of research and centuries of speculation.
The population living around the lake’s area always spoke of ancient castles, ruins, and cities buried at the bottom of the sea. There were even legends telling of sunken Russian ships filled with coffers of gold, but so far, nothing of the sort has been found. But one of the legends apparently proved true this year, when a team of researchers and divers descended to great depths in Lake Van.
The team was comprised of diver Cumali Birol, underwater photographer and videographer Tahsin Ceylan, and Mustafa Akkuş, an academic from Turkey’s Van Yüzüncü Yıl University. Various experts before this team had been studying the lake for a decade, but nothing was found until now.
Lake Van is Turkey’s largest lake, and it sits well within the area of the ancient Kingdom of Urartu. The ‘kingdom’ is nowadays divided between Turkey, northwestern Iran and Armenia, with each country sharing a part of its heritage. Urartu was first mentioned by the Assyrians as early as 13th century BC, and according to the historical data, the kingdom wielded hefty political power in the area of the Middle East up until the 9th to 8th centuries BC. Finally, the Urartu empire lost its power and was inherited by the Armenians around the 6th century BC.
Lake Van, however, was always rumored to hide Urartian fortresses in its depths, and finally, the legends proved true. Scientists speculate that the castle was built at a time when the water levels of the lake were much lower, therefore, building a fortress on the shores of a bountiful lake made sense. But in a couple of millennia, Lake Van swallowed not just the ancient castle, but villages and other settlements in the area as well.
In an interview with Hurriyet Daily News, Mr. Ceylan, the photographer, said: “Many civilisations 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,” he added. And indeed, it is! We can only imagine what secrets their research will ultimately reveal.