3,000-year-old Castle Found under Turkish Lake

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November 21, 2017

Archaeologists searching for something legendary have found something more concrete, a 3,000-year-old castle.

Lake Van castleThe castle is deep under the surface of Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey and second-largest lake in the Middle East. The lake is thought to have been formed out of a volcanic eruption of nearby Mount Nemrut.

The archaeologists, from Van Yüzüncü Yil University, started exploring several years ago. Recently, they found a castle, with walls 10 feet high and stretching nearly half a mile around. The castle was built, the archaeologists say, by the Urartu culture, also known as

Lake Van

the Kingdom of Van, which had a capital called Tushpa near the lake and ruled the area for nearly three centuries, ending in the 6th Century B.C.

The water level is a few hundred feet higher now than it was at that time; the largely alkaline waters have helped preserve the castle walls.

On land, another team of archaeologists continue to excavate another Urartu relic, the remains of Urartu Castle, which date 2,700 years ago and were discovered 25 years ago. The area was the heart of the ancient Armenian civilization.

Lake Van map

The underwater team, led by Tahsin Ceylan, had earlier found a two-mile-square field of underwater stalagmites and, a relic from much earlier times, a Russian ship thought to have sunk in the 20th Century. They said that they will continue their study in the wake of the castle discovery.

The legendary element of the search is that the lake is allegedly home to a monster. Stories dating back to origin legends tell of a creature living in the lake. A newspaper story in 1889 reported that an unknown creature had dragged a man into the lake. The man was not identified, and a subsequent search found no evidence of a creature. Sightings were reported since then and picked up in the 1990s, culminating with a 1997 video purporting showing the creature. The preponderance of the stories have resulted in the building of a statue in the nearby city of Van.

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