Ronan James Head

Keeping watch over the plains near Lake Van in eastern Turkey, the ancient fortress of Tushpa, or the Rock of Van, was once the central citadel of the early first-millennium B.C. kingdom of Urartu. The Urartians, famed for their skills as horse breeders and metalworkers, came into perpetual conflict with the Assyrian Empire of northern Mesopotamia. Around the early sixth century B.C., Urartu was conquered by the Cimmerians, who penetrated from east of the Black Sea deep into western Anatolia—putting an end to Urartian civilization.