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Haykaberd (Հայկաբերդ)
Gürpınar, Van, Turkey
Urartian fort in Çavuştepe.jpg
The ruins of Çavuştepe.
ÇavuştepeHaykaberd (Հայկաբերդ)Aspeşînê is located in Turkey
ÇavuştepeHaykaberd (Հայկաբերդ)Aspeşînê
Haykaberd (Հայկաբերդ)
Coordinates 38°21′09″N 43°27′34″E / 38.352443°N 43.459393°E / 38.352443; 43.459393
Type Fortified City
Site history
Built 1st millennium BC
Built by Hayk
Materials Stone
Demolished Partially

Çavuştepe (Armenian: Հայկաբերդ Haykaberd; meaning "Fortress of Hayk"; Kurdish: Aspeşînê; also Sardurihinilli), is a fortified site in the Gürpınar district (Hayots Dzor [Հայոց Ձոր; meaning "Gorge of the Armenians"] region of historic Armenia) of Van Province in Turkey's Eastern Anatolia region. It is located approximately 25 kilometers southeast of Van along the road leading to the city of Hakkâri. Armenian folklore tells that the fortress was founded in the 1st millennium BC by Hayk, the Armenian progenitor, in close proximity to the site where he slew the invading Babylonian King Bel or possibly Nimrod. It was later used by the Urartian kings as a castle during the 8th century BC and to some extent by the medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.


The site of Haykaberd.
Throneroom of Haykaberd.

The fortified site of Haykaberd is a linear plan upon a ridge overlooking the Gürpınar Plain. It is composed of fortification walls as well as the remains of the Urartian royal palace of Sarduri-Hinlini, built between 764 and 735 BC during the reign of King Sarduri II (764-735 BC). There are upper and lower sections of the fortress in which the Temple of Khaldi, citadel walls, king's tower, workshops (7th century BC), storehouses, cisterns, kitchen, palace with a throne room, "royal" toilet, harem and colonnaded halls were located. A moat surrounded sections of the fortress.

Traces of a later medieval occupation exist at the fortress. The site was excavated in the 1960s.


Hayk and King Bel[edit]

In Movses Khorenatsi's account, Hayk son of Torgom had a child named Armanak while he was living in Babylon. After the arrogant Titanid Bel made himself king over all, Hayk emigrated to the region near Mount Ararat with an extended household of at least 300 and settled there, founding a village he named Haykashen. On the way, he had left a detachment in another settlement with his grandson Kadmos. Bel sent one of his sons to entreat him to return, but was refused. Bel decided to march against him with a massive force, but Hayk was warned ahead of time by Kadmos of his pending approach. He assembled his own army along the shore of Lake Van and told them that they must defeat and kill Bel, or die trying to do so, rather than become his slaves. In his writings Movses states that:

The Battle of Giants and Defeat of Bel[edit]

Hayk defeats Bel with an arrow.

Hayk and his men soon discovered Bel's army positioned in a mountain pass (Moses of Chorene located the site as Dastakert), with the king in the vanguard.

At Dyutsaznamart (Armenian: Դյուցազնամարտ, "Battle of Giants"), near Julamerk southeast of Lake Van, on August 11, 2492 BC [2] (according to the Armenian traditional chronology) or 2107 BC (according to "The Chronological table" of Mikael Chamchian), Hayk slew Bel with a nearly impossible shot using a long bow, sending the king's forces into disarray.

The hill where Bel with his warriors fell, Hayk named Gerezmank meaning "tombs".[3] He embalmed the corpse of Bel and ordered it to be taken to Hark where it was to be buried in a high place in the view of the wives and sons of the king.

Soon after, Hayk established the fortress of Haykaberd at the battle site and the town of Haykashen in the Armenian province of Taron (modern-day Turkey). He named the region of the battle Hayk, and the site of the battle Hayots Dzor [4]


  1. ^ (Khorenatsi, History\\ I.10-12)
  2. ^ dated by Mikayel Chamchian; Razmik Panossian, The Armenians: From Kings And Priests to Merchants And Commissars, Columbia University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0-231-13926-7, p. 106.
  3. ^ Gerezmank: the nom. pl, Gerezmans being acc. pl., "tombs"
  4. ^ History 1.11; a district to the southeast of Lake Van, see Hubschmann, AON, p.343

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