Yeghegis settlement

Yeghegis (Yeghegik) is one of the oldest settlements in Vayots Dzor region, once part of Armenia's Syunik province. It was the seat of the crown princes of Syunik in the 9th-11th cc.


Jewish Cemetery

Awake and shout for joy, You who dwell in the dust! (Isaiah 26:19)

No historical evidence for the existence of the Jewish community in the medieval city of Yeghegis is known, nor of contemporaneous Jewish communities in Armenia. About 40 tombstones survive in the Jewish cemetery in Yeghegis and about other 30 were found nearby. 10 tombstones bear inscriptions in Hebrew or Aramaic.

The inscriptions contain age-old Jewish funerary language, biblical verses pregnant with traditional religious meaning, and expressions originating in Talmudic literature. Some of the names of the deceased were current among the Jews of Iran, witnessing to the possible Iranian origin of the Jewish community of Yeghegis.

The dates on the tombstones are calculated according to the “documents reckoning”, an old calendar calculating from 331 B.C. that was used by Oriental Jewish communities. Many were undated.

The oldest tombstone is dated 1266 and the latest 1337, showing the cemetery was in use for at least 80 years. Just as the origins of the Jews of Yeghegis are mysterious so also the circumstances that caused this community's disappearance.

The cemetery was investigated by an Armenian-Israeli team in 2000-2003, headed by Prof. Michael E. Stone and Dr. David Amit. The evaluation of the cemetery was initiated by Bishop Ter Abraham Mkrtchyan, Primate of Diocese of Syunik of the Armenian Apostolic Church and with the support and patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia.

The site was opened to the public on 17 Iyyar 5769 -- 11 May 2009. May 11 was declared a pilgrimage and official visitations day.

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    How to reach From the M10 highway that connects Martuni at Sevan Lake to the north and Yeghegnadzor in Vayots Dzor region to the south, when you arrive at village Shatin, turn east for approximately 7.5km.

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