Van Castle Van Castle, an ancient fortress built by the Urartian kingdom during the 9th to 7th century BC, is a remarkable stone fortification located on a steep-sided bluff overlooking Tushpa, the old Urartian capital. It is one of several fortifications constructed by the Urartians in the regions where modern-day Armenia, Turkey, and Iran meet. Over time, different groups, such as the Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Ottomans, and Russians, controlled the fortress. Constructed using a mixture of materials, the walls of Van Castle consist of bricks for higher sections and basalt for lower parts. The fortress is also known for its rock-carved "royal stable," measuring 20m in length, 9m in width, and 2.5m in height, which is a testament to the Urartian gods and their animal sacrifices. A significant inscription from the 5th century BC, by Xerxes the Great, is located on a smoothed section of rock face some 20 meters above ground near the fortress. King Darius originally carved out the niche but left it blank. The inscription spans three columns of 27 lines written in Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite and remains in near-perfect condition. The Old City of Van and the Fortress of Van were added to the UNESCO Tentative List in 2016.