Earthquake Protection Measures In The Architecture Of The Kingdom Of Van

Fortress walls discovered in the castle of Fayestep built in 750 BC by Van King Sarduri II showed that during the construction of the fortress, special measures have been taken against earthquakes.

Archaeological excavations and restoration works are ongoing on the site of the Chavustep fortress and tombs in the north built in the brightest periods of the Van Kingdom. The excavations carried out by a group of 22 people led by Professor Dr. Rafet Çavuşoğlu were concentrated mainly in the northern part of the fortress where walls, reservoirs, ditches, and sewer systems are located.

The fortifications which served as a repository for food, drink, and large jugs (karases) indicate the serious measures used for earthquake protection in the Van Kingdom many centuries ago. It is clear that the septal stones in basalt segments were used to protect against possible earthquakes.

Professor Çavuşoğlu stated that most of the exterior walls were made of travertine stones and still stand firm. He also added:

“The best feature of the builders of the Van Kingdom period is that they built the buildings mainly on the rocky terrain where buildings were resistant to earthquakes.

Damage to the structure located near the fort was repaired. To do this, they used an innovative method of construction to strengthen the walls. And to ensure that the city would not suffer from possible earthquakes, they added a double layer of protection.

During the excavations, it was also revealed that the Kingdom of Van is one of the first civilizations to grow rice. Residents of the Van Kingdom were aware of the tradition of metal smelting as well. And most importantly, the mastery of metal mining and smelting has been very advanced. We can see this both in architecture and in other areas of art.”

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