1800-year-old Zerzevan Castle entrance found
DİYARBAKIR – Anadolu Agency
Archaeologists have unearthed the 1800-year-old entrance of the Castle of Zerzevan, situated in the Çınar district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
“We have found the most important point to examine the architecture of the defense of the castle,” said Aytaç Coşkun, the head of the excavation team.
The castle, located 13 kilometers from the district’s center, was a military installation of the Roman Empire. The origin of the castle, which stands tall on a 124-meter hill, dates back to the Assyrian period in 8th century BC. In the time of the Romans, the castle was converted to a military post and was used to shield against Islamic armies until 639 AD.
“The castle holds a significant position in changing the region’s history and for a tourism boom. Last year around 450,000 tourists visited it,” said Coşkun, adding this year’s numbers and estimations.
Some 100,000 visitors came in the first eight months and this figure will be around 300,000 by the end of the year, according to Coşkun.
“If the world did not suffer from the pandemic, our estimation is that the figure for this year would have been 1 million,” he said.
The excavation works that are led by the Culture and Tourism Ministry have been going on for six years, according to the officials. “We started working in 2014,” said Coşkun, while talking about the characteristics of the castle.
“The castle walls are estimated to be 1,200 meters in length and some 12-15 meters in height. There are 54 water cisterns inside. The height of the watchtowers is 21 meters. The Romans were engaged mostly in war with Sassanids. That explains the thickness of the walls to be around three meters.”
Authorities have another objective in mind for the castle.
“We want to see the castle in the UNESCO’s World Heritage’s real list,” said Coşkun.