Erebuni

The town of Erebuni and its citadel were founded in 782 BCE by King Argishti I. The town lay around the foot of Arin Berd hill, where the fortress stood. The stronghold was built 65 meters above the town and covered an area of 3 hectares.

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Plan

The citadel was strategically placed on top of Arin Berd, protected by thick ramparts which included triple-layered walls near the main gate.

From its point you can admire the highest peaks of the Armenian highland, Mts. Ararat, Aragats and Ara, the entire Ararat Valley plus Teishebaini (Karmir Blur) with its surrounding settlements and Erebuni town with the main roads leading to the citadel. 

The ramparts, once 10-12 meters high, along with other parts of the citadel were built from a variety of materials, including basalt, tufa, wood and adobe.

The citadel consisted of three main parts: the palace, worship structures and service quarters (11-12). 

Argishti I constructed a grand palace here, the largest structure in the citadel, with a number of spacious halls and two courtyards rung by inner rooms, a Temple to Susi, Temple to Khaldi with a colonnaded hall and tower-shaped structure, service quarters, granaries and wine cellars.  Other structures ring the central plaza.

The inner walls of the Palace and Temple to Khaldi were richly decorated with murals and other wall paintings, displaying religious and secular scenes.

Artifacts found in the citadel include 23 cuneiform inscriptions carved on basalt blocks of stone and pillar bases which are displayed in the museum; however some inscriptions can still be found in their original places.  One such inscription says:

 

“With the greatness of Khaldi, Argishti, 

 Menua's  Son, built this wonderful palace.”

The cuneiform points to Erebuni's position as both a major military base and a royal residence. Town dwellings spread from the citadel at the bottom of the hill and have not been fully examined—most of the mud-brick houses have not survived while some lie under the modern neighborhoods of Nor Aresh and Vardashen.

Erebuni did not die; it evolved and continued in succeeding ages until it became the capital of the current Republic of Armenia.  Even its name is preserved, evolving from Erebuni to Erevuni then Erivan and finally to its modern name, Yerevan.


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