The ancient city of Van, also known as (Tosp or Tushpa), holds a rich and complex historical narrative. It is situated in Historical Armenia, on the eastern shore of Lake Van. Van’s location has made it a significant site throughout history due to its strategic importance for various civilizations.
Here is the historical chronology of the ancient city of Van:
8-7 centuries BC: The city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Van (Urartu), also known as the Ararat Kingdom. This powerful kingdom had an advanced civilization and controlled much of eastern Anatolia.
6-4 centuries BC: The city became a part of the Armenian satrapy, a province under the Persian Achaemenid Empire.
4-3 centuries BC: The city was incorporated into the Kingdom of Ayrarat, a major political and cultural center of ancient Armenia.
2nd century BC – 5th century AD: The city was a part of Greater Armenia, a significant kingdom in the ancient world.
5-7 centuries: The city was a part of the Armenian Marzpanate (Marzipans), a political and administrative division of Armenia under the rule of a marzpan (governor).
7-9 centuries: The city became a part of the Armenian Emirate.
9th-11th centuries: The city served as the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan.
12-13 centuries: The city was incorporated into the state of Shah-Armen, a medieval Armenian principality.
14-16 centuries: The city was captured by the empire of the Mongols and Turkmen, experiencing various rulers and cultural influences.
16-19 centuries: The city became a part of the Ermənistan Vilayet (Armenia) of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1876, Armenians made up 80% of the city’s population. By 1915, this had decreased to 60%, and the city of Van was subsequently destroyed during the Armenian Genocide. Approximately 150,000 Armenians left the city and its surrounding area, and today their descendants number between 700,000-800,000.
The Armenian people left a significant cultural heritage in the city of Van and its surrounding villages, including 537 churches and 192 schools. There were 450 Armenian villages in the Van region, demonstrating the significant Armenian influence in this region.
This narrative provides a glimpse into the city of Van’s history and the numerous civilizations that have controlled it over the centuries. Each period has left its mark, contributing to the city’s rich cultural, political, and social history.