Van and the Urartuans

Lake Van is a large inland body of water of about 1400 square miles at an elevation of 5737 feet. The lake is fed by a number of rivers and is highly alkaline. It is said that folks sometimes wash their clothes in the lake. Our hotel is located on the lake side and the view is beautiful.

In Assyrian records this area was called Urartu. In the Bible it is called Ararat. The English term Ararat is a transliteration of the Hebrew term. The four references where the term appears are Gen. 8:4, 2 Kings 19:37 = Isa. 37:38, and Jer. 51:27. The King James version uses the term Armenia in 2 Kings 19:37 and Isaiah 37:38 because that is what the territory was later called. The Septuagint uses Armenia only in Isaiah 37:38.

The photo below shows the castle or rock of Van.

The Castle or Rock in Van, Turkey, once the Urartuan capital called Tushpa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tushpa, the ancient city of the Urartians, was built on this rock, which provides a commanding view over the lake, and at the base of the rock. At the beginning of the 20th century the city of Van was built over the ancient ruins, but was destroyed by the Russians in 1916. The area now is nothing more than a grassy knoll. On the side of the rock and at the top there are inscriptions, the tombs of eighth and ninth century B.C. Urartian kings, and ruins of a temple. A short distance from Van is another site called Toprakkale which marks the Urartian fortress of Rusahinili.

Here is a photo of some Urartuan pottery from the Museum at Ankara.

Urartuan Pottery in Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilization. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tomorrow night we will be staying at Batman. Really!

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