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an ancient city on the eastern shore of Lake Van and the capital of the Kingdom of Urartu, which existed from the ninth to the early sixth century B.C. The Tushpa citadel was situated on a high cliff, and the city was located at its foot, on the site of the present-day Turkish city of Van.
Under King Menuas (late ninth century B.C.), a canal was constructed to bring water to the city from mountain springs. The Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (fifth century AD.) described the cliff and canal and recounted the legend of the building of Van by Queen Sammuramat (Semiramis). In 1827 the German archaeologist F. Schulz described the ruins of the fortress walls and the rooms carved into the cliff (probably royal tombs) and copied down cuneiform inscriptions. In 1916, I. A. Orbeli discovered a stele containing chronicles of King Sardur II (mid-eighth century B.C.).
Tushpa is mentioned frequently in Assyrian sources. In 735 B.C. the Assyrians destroyed the city but were unable to take the fortress. In the seventh century B.C. the king’s residence was moved to Toprakkale, still within the boundaries of Tushpa. The citadel was destroyed by the Medes in the early sixth century B.C., but residents continued living there under the Achaemenids.