Aghtsk - Arshakuni Burial Crypt

The burial crypt, built from stone, once had a second floor, of which only the cruciform underground section (2.65 x 3.75 x 2.6 m) has survived. It has a vaulted ceiling and paved floors.

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Aghtsk - Arshakuni Burial Crypt

According to the 5th c. historian Faustus of Byzantium, following the 359 conquest of southern and western territories of Greater Armenia Persian king Shapur II the Great ordered to destroy the tombs of the Arshakuni kings in Ani castle of Upper Armenia’s Daranaghyats district. 

The move pursued the goal of transferring the bodies of Armenian pagan and Christian kings to Persia.

The Persians believed that the remains of Armenian monarchs would bring their glory, Armenia’s fate and courage to their country. However, sparapet Vasak Mamikonian defeated the Persians in Ayrarat battle, took back the remains and reburied them in Aghtsk village, Aragatsotn.  

The burial crypt, built from stone, once had a second floor, of which only the cruciform underground section (2.65 x 3.75 x 2.6 m) has survived. It has a vaulted ceiling and paved floors.

The interior boasts horseshoe arches. The outer walls on either side of the western entry and the exterior of the rectangular niches feature carvings depicting biblical scenes (Daniel in the Lion's Den), a motif of rams, stylized birds, crosses in a circle and other images.

The 1970s excavations uncovered the ruins of a 4th century three-nave basilica adjoining the crypt on the north.  It is almost a square hall with two pairs of rectangular pylons (converted into T-shaped and cruciform  in the 5th-6th cc.). On the south of the horseshoe shaped apse there is a rectangular room.
Text is provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia.


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    Working period/season Year around

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    Working days Monday - Sunday

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    How to reach Aghtsk is close to Ashtarak, on the Giumri highway. It is about 30 km from Yerevan.

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