Varto Kayalidere Historical Site

Varto Kayalidere Historical Site

Varto Kayalıdere Historical Site (Citadel Town) is 40 km away from central town. In the present day, the village is within the borders of the Varto district of Muş and is mostly known for its Urartian Castle and Rock Tomb. The castle and rock tomb, which was built during the reign of Sarduri II (764-735 BC) is one of most intact structures in that time period in Muş.

British archaeologist Charles Burney explored the castle and the rock-cut tomb in 1965. The hill on which the castle was built is a checkpoint of certain Urartian governor those regions took over. It has been said that for constructing the castle, a place with good view and control of views from where Murat River meets Varto Stream coming from Tepeköy was required. That was exactly what was needed.

The archaeologists uncovered a castle, temple, wine cellar, rock tomb and small ruins among the excavation. While they did find symbols in the remains, no written documents could be found. The temple and the rock tomb- which is estimated to belong to the founder of the castle- are both still standing; however, parts of it have been destroyed by illegal excavations because part of it rests on rocks near where the castle was founded. The rock tomb has six rooms carved into its southern side.

As the Urartians collapsed, the roadway along the Murat River, which connects east to west, was rendered unsafe. This meant that Kayalıdere and other riverside towns lost their vitality.