Bitlis Eren University academic Associated Professor Mehmet Demirtaş said the ancient city was registered by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 1986.
The ancient city, part of which is underground and part of which is submerged beneath the lake, had all the traces of a city and settlement, Demirtaş said, adding it should be protected from illegal excavators and those who want to use it for commercial purposes.
Demirtaş called for the ministry and the Van Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board to take action. “The region has a history of 5,000 years. Lots of findings from the 3rd century B.C. have been unearthed there so far. There are two ancient cities in the district; one is in Şahmiran village and the other is this one on the coast of the lake. It is known as the ancient city of Tatvan. There are rock-carved niches, geometric shapes and paintings. These are the most common features of an ancient city and they were all registered in 1986.”
Demirtaş said many structures which had been unearthed during previous excavations remained underground because they were not taken under protection.
“[Potential excavation] work will completely unearth the ancient city. This place will be a focus of interest in the world. But there are those who want the area to be zoned for housing and build a holiday village or drill for water. Also, treasure hunters cause a large amount of damage to this area. A common project should be made for its protection,” he said.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News [March 25, 2015]