Sep 30, 2020
Six years ago, Dlshad Marf Zamua learned one man's seat is another man's ancient temple column. Zamua went to Iraqi Kurdistan to study artifacts he connected to an Urartian temple city called Ardini. This area is thought to have been a buffer region between the kingdoms of Urartu and Assyria. Zamua discovered the locals were reusing the ruins of temple column bases as seats or stairs. Talk about an antique.
The Kingdom of Urartu was located north of the Assyrian Empire between the Black and Caspian Seas in what is today Armenia and eastern Turkey. At its height, it stretched east to northern Iran and west to Syria. Urartu is an Assyrian word. The name of Urartu in their own language is Biainili. We wrote a little about the Urartians in our book NOAH because the Hebrews called their land Ararat, and yes the mountain is there too.
The Kingdom of Ararat is the Kingdom of Van to archaeologists and historians. Actually, Van is the capital, but other important towns were in the region as well. Excavations have been ongoing at Erebuni and Karmir Blur in Armenia. But Turkey is planning to open a museum at Urartu's Ayanis Castle built by Urartu's King Rusa II. They've renovated it, but the Haldi Temple which is connected to the castle is the highlight they say. They are hopeful it will draw tourists interested in their culture.
One thing that has proved interesting from over thirty years of research is the Urartu language resembles the Hurrian language. Modern researchers believe the Urartians and Hurrians had a common ancestor around 3000 BC. Christians should have a good idea of who that might be.
Also, Russian scholars value Urartu because it is the first large state discovered in Russian territory. Scholars believe this region to be the beginning of the Early Transcaucasian culture. The Bible says it is the beginning point of life after the flood, and there are several of the most ancient sites ever discovered located nearby.
The Urartians are mentioned in the Bible when God calls them to fight Babylon. "Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers." (Jeremiah 51:27)
The Assyrians wrote about them since they fought with them. During the time of Sargon II and Sennacherib, Urartu was weakened by wars and finally made peace with the Assyrians. Eventually the Medes conquered them.
There are more discoveries waiting to be found and investigated in Iraqui Kurdistan. But it was a dangerous area six years ago when Zamua visited, and it is still dangerous today. Rockets were fired by Iranian militia into Kurdish territory September 30, 2020.
If you can't get to Armenia and are not planning to visit Turkey, you can still visit the excavation sites here. It enriches a homeschool afternoon and adds a little ancient history/biblical history to boot.
Image by Waleed Zeki courtesy of Unsplash.
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