Secrets of Urartian temple to be revealed
VAN – Anadolu Agency
Archaeological excavations have been continuing for 30 years in the Ayanis castle, built by the Urartian King Rusa II on a hill overlooking Lake Van in the eastern province of Van. This year’s works will focus on revealing the architectural secrets of a 2,700 year-old mystic Haldi temple in the castle.
The castle is one of the magnificent structures of the Urartian Kingdom with its ornaments, adobe walls and relieves.
Excavations that have been carried out in the castle under the direction of Atatürk University Archaeology Department academic Professor Mehmet Işıklı have recently started. This year’s work will reveal the features of the architecture and stone dressings of the Haldi Temple.
Stating that important data about the Urartian history had been so far uncovered during the archaeological excavations, Işıklı said they hoped to find more facts this year, too.
He said that the findings made great contributions to both Anatolian history of culture and the Urartian archaeology.
“During the 30-year excavation, we identified the walls of the castle, the stadium area where religious and royal people lived, and an outer city where the people lived. We also uncovered religious and royal structures and structures, where tons of agricultural products were stored. Ayanis Castle is associated with the temple dedicated to Haldi, the chief god of the Urartian. This temple structure was taken under protection. This year we have initiated a series of works on restoration and conservation within this temple.”
Stressing that the greatest goal of archaeologists is to protect the artifacts and transfer them to future generations, Işıklı stated that every process they perform in archaeological excavations brings the secrets and solutions of a new mystery.
He explained that they discovered the Haldi Temple in 1997, and that the work on the temple continued uninterrupted since then.
“This year we are trying to solve the architectural secrets of the temple. The adobe structure above the temple was not fully excavated. This year we try to understand the upper architecture of the temple structure. We may also encounter great surprises. In our studies, we will rewrite Urartian religion, archeology or religious architecture. During the works we will carry out in the podium hall that we found in the back of the temple in the past years, we will find answers to many questions such as the architectural structure of the temple and how the temple was built. So this year will be a very exciting working season for us,” Işıklı said.
Noting that the Ayanis castle did not get enough interest in terms of tourism, Işıklı said that there was a significant increase in the number of visitors last year thanks to the information signs, walkways and conservation work made with the support of Tuşba Municipality and the governor’s office.
Archaeologist Hazal Ocak said, “When necessary, we dig the soil with tweezers and dental instruments in the castle. We try to shed light on history by working with the finest-tipped instruments. Every new discovery gives great excitement. We rejoice like a child.”