Urartian king's burial chamber opened for first time

January 03, 2011, Monday/ 12:55:00

Burial chambers of Urartian King Argishti and his family in the western wing of the ancient castle in the eastern province of Van was opened for the first time.

The Anatolia news agency took photographs and video of the burial chambers which were closed to visitors.

Centered around the Lake Van in the eastern Turkey, the Urartian Kingdom ruled from the mid 9th century BC till its defeat by Media in the early 6th century BC. The most splendid monuments of the Urartian Kingdom take place in Van since the city was the capital of the kingdom.

Built on a rocky peak, the castle, one of the most significant samples of the Urartian architecture, was brought to daylight during excavations headed by lecturer Altan Cilingiroglu of the Ege University. The castle draws hundreds of Turkish and foreign visitors each year.

Argishti I was the sixth known king of the ancient kingdom, reigning from 786 BC to 764 BC. As the son and the successor of Menua, he continued the series of conquests initiated by his predecessors. Victorious against Assyria, he conquered the northern part of Syria and made Urartu the most powerful state in the post-Hittite Near East.

His burial chamber in the west wing of the Van Castle is composed of five separate sections. There are Urartian inscriptions on the walls.

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