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Archaeological sites within its boundaries include Altintepe, Toprakkale, Patnos and Haykaberd.
Mount Ararat is located approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) north of its former capital.The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but went into gradual decline and was eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC.The geopolitical region would re-emerge as Armenia shortly after.In 1828, the British Assyriologist Henry Creswicke Rawlinson had attempted to copy the inscription on the Kelishin stele, but failed because of the ice on the stele's front side. Rosch made a similar attempt a few years later, but he and his party were attacked and killed.In the late 1840s Sir Austen Henry Layard examined and described the Urartian rock-cut tombs of Van Castle, including the Argishti chamber.
From the 1870s, local residents began to plunder the Toprakkale ruins, selling its artefacts to European collections.