This impressive fortress is built on a narrow hill overlooking the plateau. It was built by the Urartians around 800 BC after the Hittite state collapsed. Now the Urartians were kings, and they established their capital right here in Van. (At a later point we will visit other Urartian ruins at Cavastepe near Hosap Castle. ) This citadel is 1800 metres long, 120 meters wide and 80 meters above the lake. The Urartians carved 1001 steps in the rock to lead up to their fortress. These perches with huge vistas were just the sort of place the Urartians favoured for their strongholds. It was also the site of their temple, of which only some arched niches in the stone remain.