UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Meher Kapısı inscription (Urartian text) Socaciu, Dan


The Meher Kapısı is a monumental rock carved niche located four kilometres north east of Van Kalesi, the site of the Urartian capital of Tušpa. Inside the niche a cuneiform text was carved, which defines the Urartian pantheon and sets ritual instructions. The text contains a long list of deities, starting with Ḫaldi. The head of the Urartian pantheon is followed by Teišeba, the weather god, and Šiuini, a solar deity. After the triad of the most important gods worshipped across the Urartian state, the text contains a long list of names, many of which are otherwise unknown deities. For each listed god there are instructions regarding the type and number of animals to be sacrificed during a yearly ritual. The text also mentions the gods of certain cities, without giving their names, and the gods of the lake and of the valley. Urartu developed from a series of small chiefdoms spread out on the Armenian Plateau, and had its capital established by Sarduri I on the eastern shores of Lake Van during the mid 9th century BCE. From what today is the modern city of Van, the royal dynasty created by Sarduri ruled until the first half of the 6th century BCE. At one point the main antagonist of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Urartian territories stretched from Lake Sevan to the southern shore of Lake Urmia, and as far West as the sources of the Euphrates. Mostly known for their metalwork and their fortifications, Urartians had a well established religion with Ḫaldi at the head of the pantheon. Although most Urartian temples and inscriptions are dedicated to him, the Meher Kapısı inscription shows a more complex picture, with dozens of gods being worshipped across the territories of the ancient state.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution 4.0 International