The ancient castle of Kef in Historical Armenia of the period of the Kingdom of Van (Urartu)

All these are fragments of our Armenian culture and history, which today are being distorted and destroyed with the help of cannibal Turks on the one hand and Russian fascists on the other. All this is supported by huge financial injections of some Western structures for the sake of the mainstream, which is leading the world to hell.

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Sitting on a slope overlooking Mount Süphan in Türkiye’s Bitlis, excavations at the ancient Kef Castle promise to shed light on the Urartian period

Built by the Urartians, the ancient Kef Castle in Türkiye’s southeastern city of Bitlis has many mysteries to reveal as excavations start after a 50-year hiatus.

The castle, one of four built during the reign of Urartian King Rusa II (685-645 B.C.), is located at an altitude of 2,300 meters (7,545 feet). The information that will be obtained during the excavations in Kef Castle is expected to shed light on its vast history.

With the permission and contributions of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the research has started under excavation director Ismail Coşkun, who is also a faculty member at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ). The excavation team of 20 people consists of linguists, anthropologists, art historians, chemists, and geophysicists.

Coşkun noted that excavations are ongoing across a large area of ​​60,000 square meters (645,000 square feet).

Stating that the excavations carry great importance as King Rusa II’s reign is known as the most prosperous period of the Urartians, the excavation head said: “Our excavations continue in 2022 with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the support of YYÜ. Last year, we excavated for a short period, it is our second excavation session. After 50 years of hiatus, we started excavating again in the area. There is a palace that we think has more than a hundred rooms.”

“In this palace section, it is among our priorities to restore the giant elephant feet. The excavation covers a large area and it is a bit difficult for us to get to the area due to its height, we arrive early and start our excavations here,” he explained.

Stating that they carried out excavations on a hill near Mount Süphan and Adilcevaz, Coşkun said: “Mount Süphan was important for the Urartians as they regarded it as a sublime power, God.”

The Urartu, also known as the Kingdom of Urartu, settled in many parts of Anatolia and controlled territories thanks to their military power and constructed many fortresses, engaged in arts, and produced a range of metal works.

“This castle was built by Rusa II, who reigned between 685 and 645 BC. During his time four big iconic cities of the period were constructed. Kef Castle is one of the remaining parts of these cities. This city is strategically located as it can control trade routes and it can oversee the area,” he said.

Commenting on the iconic elephant sculpture located in the castle, Coşkun said: “Last year, we were able to restore only one of the elephant feet as it was winter, and weather conditions negatively affected u. This year, we are planning a study to gradually rejuvenate other elephant feet and reveal the value ​​of Adilcevaz district both in terms of tourism and culture.”

Highlighting the damage caused to Kef Castle by treasure hunters, he noted that looters try to dig up treasure from too many spots and are destroying the site.

“The inside of the huge elephant feet have been searched for treasure. Yet it just serves as a decorative column. It should be noted that there are not many valuable things for treasure hunters in this area. There is no point in coming and destroying these places in vain. We are trying to take various plans and measures to prevent this destruction,” he added.

Orhan Varol, a linguistics professor at YYÜ, also stated that some inscriptions about the Urartu period were found in the excavation area.

“The purpose of our presence here is to study some documents with Urartian inscriptions if we find them. This is an important area. Because this is the period when Urartu was the richest. There may be an Urartian writing archive in this region. In the place where we found elephant feet, some inscriptions were unearthed. The best preserved of these is currently in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations,” Varol said.

“The most frequent mention is the ‘ashes house’ in the inscriptions. Similar structures are also mentioned in the Urartian inscriptions as ‘urushhusi.’ This is mentioned as the treasure house. Here ‘hus’ can be regarded as the word related to home, that is, it is somewhat related to Indian and European languages. Urartu was not a very pure language, it interacted with other languages. After the interaction with Indian and European culture, we see that the word had made its place in the Urartu vocabulary,” Vural added.

Erdal Polat from the Archaeology Department at YYÜ said: “As it is known, the Kingdom of Urartu was a powerful kingdom that dominated the Eastern Anatolia Region of Türkiye. After Rusa II was enthroned, some reconstruction work was carried out and Kef Castle was one of the areas where reconstruction activities were concentrated.”

Explaining the plan going forward, Polat said, “After clearing the surrounding soil, we will be able to lift the basalt elephant feet. In addition to these, there are some figured stones on the Adilcevaz Conservation Board on which there are deities. One of these figured stones is in our excavation area. We will try to illuminate this mystery with the excavations we will carry out.”


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