Atlantis has shown up as myth is books, movies, and songs for fans and enthusiasts on the hunt for the missing island. People have supposedly found proof of it in Greece, South America, or the South Pacific. But everytime ancient remains are found, the question is asked - did we find the lost city?
One of the areas in this search is Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey. The lake has an area of 3555 square km and has been prodded around by divers for a decade. Oddly enough, they were there on the hunt for a legendary sea monster of the lake (similar to the Loch Ness) before they found a mythic discovery.
Divers found the remains of an incredibly ancient castle in the deep waters of Lake Van. And we're talking very old — it's a 3,000-year-old castle underwater! This is the greatest discovery after years of rumors surrounding the structure.
The people of Urartu built the castle thousands of years ago during the Iron Age. It was a kingdom that grew between the ninth and sixth centuries B.C. smack-dab in the middle of Lake Van. Of course, the builders didn't have access to scuba gear during the Iron Age, so how did they construct the castle?
Well, according to researchers, the civilizations around the lake set up villages when its water level was low. Of course, those that lived in the settlements had to leave when the water increased in size. As it stands, the current level of Lake Van sits at 150 meters.
The Urartians held a considerable amount of power in the region, with a capital under the name of Tushpa. They were eventually taken over by the Armenians. Fun fact: the Urartians didn't actually call their country that name - it was Biainili to them.
Outside of the Urartu's man-made structures are a field of natural wonders two square miles long. The stalagmites, also known as "underwater fairy chimneys," are just one of many discoveries that can be found next to the sunken castle. Thousand-year-old gravestones from the Seljuk era were laid around the lakebed as well.
The research and diving team also found interesting remains on the exterior of the fortress. Among them was a lion-shaped stone within the small pieces. The stones still need a close look from experts in order to find out why the Urartians might have left them that way.
Ceylan said that locals called the lake "the upper sea" and held mysterious things. That was what gave him and his team enough belief to work in finding out what can be found in the depths of Lake Van. They were glad to find their "miracle" in the underwater castle.
The time when and how the castle was flooded is unknown to archeologists. There have been times where the water has receded enough where outlines of the fortress are visible to locals. The now-you-see-it, now-you-don't nature of it gave it this legendary mystique over centuries.
This might be yet another historical example of the city of Atlantis used by past philosophers. The first time it was mentioned was a fictional city by Plato in 360 B.C. According to myth, it was destroyed overnight by an earthquake and tsunami.
The Van Yüzüncü Yıl University team expects to help push the underwater site as an attraction spot for tourists. They understand that it's more than just a myth handed down by fantasy books. Those visiting Lake Van will go for a deep dive and get a dose of reality when they see the tale of a sunken fortress.