3,000-year-old Zerzevan Castle makes it to UNESCO list

Ancient building in southeastern Diyarbakir province of Turkey was once used by Romans as military settlement

Aziz Aslan  | 17.04.2020 - Update : 17.04.2020
3,000-year-old Zerzevan Castle makes it to UNESCO list


An ancient castle located in the southeastern Diyarbakir province of Turkey entered the Tentative List of UNESCO with its thousands of years old history.

Zerzevan Castle, with its unique architecture and style, is regarded as one of the "best-preserved" Roman garrisons of the world, according to UNESCO.

The hinterland of the castle once formed the extreme borders of the empire in the east and witnessed struggles of top-tier powers of the era in their pursuit to dominate the region in terms of economy, politics, and military.

The wall ruins scale up to 15 meters (49 feet) in height and 1,200 (3,940 ft) in width in the complex which used to contain watchtowers, church, administrative building, depots for weapons and grain, shelters, graves, and rock tombs.

As excavations continue in the historical site, one of the most significant findings was the Mithraeum -- temple used by the followers of an ancient Roman mystery religion. Scores of people have begun to flock to the historical area after unearthing the Mithraeum.

Prof. Dr. Aytac Coskun, head of digging activities in the castle, said the inclusion of the castle to the UNESCO list was a source of motivation for further efforts.

"Excavation and restoration works are to continue after getting over the coronavirus epidemic," Coskun said, adding the castle attracted more than 350,000 visitors in 2019.

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this story from Ankara

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