The Mystery of Istanbul’s 3,000 Year Old Rocket Man Carving

The Istanbul Rocket in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum in Turkey
The Istanbul Rocket in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum in Turkey

The mystery of Istanbul’s rocket carving was found in Tushpa, Turkey in 1973, which is now known as Toprakkale this figure carved out of yellowish-brown stone is thought by many to depict some sort of ancient astronaut attached to a rocket.

Tushpa was once the capital city of the Kingdom of Urartu, a kingdom lost to time. While little is known of its origins or the people that lived there, we do know from other sources that they were renowned metal workers, spoke a language that was thought to be close to Hurrian, and wrote in Assyrian cuneiform.

Today it is stored in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and has yet to ever be put on public display.

While to our modern eyes it does look rocket shaped, it could also be something else completely. Though it is worth noting that fireworks and black powder explosives were very much known about and used long before it became popular in western countries.

17th Century Engraving of Lagâri Hasan Çelebi’s Rocket Flight

For instance, in 1633 it was reported that Lagâri Hasan Çelebi attached around 140 lbs of black powder to a 7-winged rocket and launched himself into the sea.

Upon his return, he was richly rewarded by Sultan Murad IV. His brother Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi was said to have made a similar flight with a glider the previous year.

Perhaps, the infamous Rocket Man was a carving of a similar attempt thousands of years earlier. Or perhaps, like many have speculated it’s not a rocket at all.

Does it also look similar to the electric vehicle that set a world speed record in 2016?

Venturi VBB-3, the world’s most powerful electric vehicle