Wendeline Ducharme

Wendeline Ducharme

Published: 20 Sep 2023

Source: Artofwayfaring.com

Tushpa, also known as Van, is an ancient city nestled in the eastern region of modern-day Turkey. The city holds a significant place in history, with numerous archaeological sites and landmarks that provide a fascinating insight into the past. From its strategic location on the shores of Lake Van to its rich cultural heritage, Tushpa has captivated archaeologists, history enthusiasts, and travelers alike.

In this article, we will explore 20 astounding facts about Tushpa that shed light on its historical importance and cultural significance. From the legendary Van Castle to the breathtaking Armenian Church of Akdamar, Tushpa offers a treasure trove of landmarks that reveal the city’s history and heritage.

Table of Contents

The Ancient City

Tushpa, also known as Van Fortress, was the ancient capital of the Urartian Kingdom, located in present-day eastern Turkey. It holds a rich history and is renowned for its remarkable archaeological remains.

Strategic Location

Tushpa was strategically positioned on a hill overlooking Lake Van, offering a natural defense and control over the surrounding region. Its location played a crucial role in the city’s prominence and influence.

Foundation by King Sarduri I

Tushpa was founded by King Sarduri I in the 9th century BC. It served as the political and administrative center of the Urartian Kingdom, playing a vital role in the region’s governance.

Well-Preserved Architecture

The architectural remains at Tushpa showcase the advanced engineering skills of the Urartians. The city includes impressive fortifications, temples, palaces, and water systems, providing invaluable insights into the ancient civilization.

Worship of the Weather God

The Urartians worshipped a pantheon of gods, with particular reverence given to the weather god, Haldi. Temples dedicated to Haldi were an integral part of Tushpa’s religious landscape.

Glorious Palace of Argishti I

The palace of King Argishti I, one of the most illustrious structures in Tushpa, served as the royal residence and administrative center. Its grandeur and architectural complexity indicate the wealth and power of the Urartian rulers.

Evidence of Skilled Craftsmanship

The intricate stone carvings found within Tushpa demonstrate the exceptional craftsmanship of the Urartians. These skilled artisans created beautiful reliefs, inscriptions, and sculptures that adorned the city’s temples and palaces.

Lake Van’s Floating Island

One of the fascinating natural phenomena near Tushpa is a floating island on Lake Van. This unique landmass, known as “Ahtamar Island,” offers breathtaking views and is home to the historic Church of Akdamar.

Epic Lake Van Views

Tushpa’s location near Lake Van allows visitors to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the lake and its picturesque surroundings. The captivating beauty of the area adds to the allure of exploring this ancient city.

Tushpa: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Recognizing its cultural and historical significance, Tushpa was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in This prestigious recognition highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating this ancient gem.

Archaeological Excavations

Numerous archaeological excavations have taken place in Tushpa, unearthing a treasure trove of artifacts and providing a deeper understanding of Urartian history. These ongoing excavations continue to reveal new insights into this ancient civilization.

Mysterious Underground Tunnels

Tushpa is believed to have an intricate network of underground tunnels, some of which connected the city’s fortifications. The purpose of these tunnels remains a subject of debate among experts.

Trade and Commerce Hub

Tushpa’s strategic location made it a thriving trade and commerce hub during its prime. It served as a vital link between different regions, facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultures.

Important Center for Iron Production

The Urartians were known for their iron production capabilities, and Tushpa played a significant role in this industry. The city’s iron furnaces and workshops were crucial in supplying weapons, tools, and other iron-based products.

Majestic Temple Complexes

Tushpa was adorned with impressive temple complexes dedicated to various deities. These sacred structures showcased architectural brilliance and served as religious and ceremonial centers for the Urartians.

Legacy of the Urartian Alphabet

The Urartians left a lasting legacy through their unique cuneiform script known as the Urartian alphabet. Inscriptions found in Tushpa have provided valuable insights into their language and culture.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Tushpa is a testament to the diverse cultural heritage of the Urartians. The city’s ruins offer a glimpse into their way of life, beliefs, artistic expressions, and societal organization.

Connection to Armenian History

The Urartian Kingdom, with Tushpa as its capital, holds historical significance within the context of Armenian history. It serves as a link between ancient Armenian civilization and the present-day Armenian people.

Visitors’ Center and Museum

Tushpa welcomes visitors with a well-equipped visitors’ center and a museum that houses a collection of artifacts discovered during the archaeological excavations. The museum provides invaluable context and insight into the history of the region.

Exploring Tushpa Today

Today, visitors can explore the captivating ruins of Tushpa, taking a step back in time to immerse themselves in the ancient wonders of the Urartian Kingdom. The site offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Experience the Magnificence of Tushpa

If you are fascinated by ancient civilizations and crave a journey into the past, Tushpa is the ideal destination. Immerse yourself in the rich history, architectural wonders, and cultural heritage of this astounding Urartian city. Discover the secrets that lay within Tushpa’s ruins, and let the echoes of its glorious past transport you to a bygone era.

Plan your visit to Tushpa today and witness firsthand the magnificence of this ancient marvel.


Tushpa, also known as Van, is an ancient city with a rich history. Its importance as a cultural and historical landmark cannot be overstated. From its legendary foundation to its significant role in the Urartian civilization, Tushpa continues to captivate visitors with its awe-inspiring architecture and captivating legends.

Whether you are an avid history enthusiast or simply curious about the world’s ancient wonders, Tushpa is a destination that should be on your bucket list. The stunning views of Lake Van, the majestic ruins of the Van Fortress, and the numinous atmosphere of the Rock of Van all contribute to Tushpa’s allure.

When you visit Tushpa, prepare to be transported back in time as you explore its ancient streets and marvel at the remnants of a lost civilization. The rich tapestry of Tushpa’s history is a testament to the enduring legacy of the people who once called this city home.


Q: What is the significance of Tushpa?

A: Tushpa holds immense historical and cultural significance as the capital city of the Urartian Kingdom. It served as a hub for political, economic, and religious activities, leaving behind a wealth of archaeological treasures and ruins for modern-day visitors to explore.

Q: How old is Tushpa?

A: Tushpa dates back to the 9th century BC. It was founded by King Sarduri I and remained an important center of power until the fall of the Urartian Kingdom in the 6th century BC.

Q: What can I see in Tushpa?

A: Tushpa is home to several remarkable landmarks, including the Van Fortress, the Rock of Van, and the Tushpa Archaeological Site. These attractions offer a glimpse into the ancient civilization that once thrived in the region.

Q: Is Tushpa easily accessible?

A: Yes, Tushpa is easily accessible via various means of transportation. It can be reached by air, with the nearest airport located in Van. Additionally, it is accessible by land, with well-connected roads leading to the city.

Q: Is there an entrance fee to visit Tushpa?

A: Yes, there may be an entrance fee to visit certain sites within Tushpa, such as the Van Fortress and the Rock of Van. The fees are typically nominal and contribute to the preservation and maintenance of these historical sites.

Q: Are there guided tours available in Tushpa?

A: Yes, guided tours are available in Tushpa. They can enhance your experience by offering in-depth knowledge about the history, culture, and significance of the various landmarks within the city.