Ancient irrigation water canal, Kingdom of Van

The Kingdom of Van, also known as Urartu, was a powerful civilization that existed in the 9th century BC. One of the most impressive achievements of this kingdom was the construction of a grand irrigation canal, known today as the Menua Canal, after the king of the Kingdom of Van who ordered its construction. The canal is a testament to the advanced engineering capabilities of that civilization and their profound understanding of hydraulic principles.

Stretching over a remarkable distance of 72 kilometers, the Menua Canal is a marvel of ancient irrigation engineering. It was designed with a width of 4.5 meters and a depth of 1.5 meters, dimensions that allowed the canal to transport substantial quantities of water from higher grounds to the fields and settlements located at lower elevations.

The canal was constructed with such precision and durability that it is still functional today, more than 2800 years after its construction. It continues to supply water to the area around Lake Van, a testament to the foresight and meticulousness of the ancient engineers.

The rulers of the Kingdom of Van could gaze upon the lake from the middle of Van Rock, a towering formation that was the backdrop for their royal apartments. Their view included the sight of the Menua Canal, the lifeblood of their kingdom, curving across the landscape and pouring its unused waters into the lake. This cascading stream that flows into Lake Van is a living relic of the Kingdom of Van, a reminder of a once-thriving civilization that harnessed the power of water to sustain its people.

This ancient irrigation facility not only speaks volumes about the Kingdom of Van’s technological proficiency but also underscores the long-standing symbiosis between civilizations and their surrounding ecosystems. It serves as a testament to human ingenuity, a testament that still resonates as it continues to fulfill its original purpose, centuries after its creation.

by Vigen Avetisyan

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