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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


Piotrovskii, B. B. Vanskoe tsarstvo. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Van-Yoncatepe settlement area (has been dated to the beginning of the first millennium before our time) is located 15 km southeast of Tushpa (Tuspa), the capital of Urart (also known as the rock cliffs of Van Castle), and 9 km southeast of the modern city of Van.
HIGH on a hillside, above the derelict remains of Tushpa is a plaque commemorating the Persian king Xerxes who passed that way en route to his failed invasion of Greece in 480 BC.