Do you want to walk in the remnants of 2800-year-old castle that later gave birth to the capital city Yerevan? If yes, you should definitely visit Erebuni fortress!
Erebuni is one of the oldest fortresses existing to our days. It dates back to 782 BC, and is considered to be the beginning of modern Yerevan. The latter celebrates its “birthday” every year in the month of October, counting the age from the founding date of Erebuni. 2018 is thus the 2800th anniversary of Erebuni-Yerevan.
Erebuni Fortress was founded by the king of Urartu, Argishti the First, who left written testimony upon building the castle. The inscription says: “By the greatness of the God Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, built this mighty stronghold and proclaimed it Erebuni for the glory of Biainili (Urartu) and to instill fear among the king's enemies. Argishti says: The land was a desert, before the great works I accomplished upon it. By the greatness of Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, is a mighty king, king of Biainili, and ruler of Tushpa." The fortress is said to be built by the prisoners that King Argishti captured during his conquests before building Erebuni.
At the time, the fortress was of great strategic and military importance, and had a strong garrison. The walls of the fortress of Erebuni were based on the hill called Arin Berd, overlooking Azat River and serving as a viewing spot for military and security reasons.
The architectural plan of the fortress has a form of triangle, and is constructed from tuff, adobe, wood and basalt. Besides its main objective of protection, Erebuni fortress was the religious center of the Kingdom, encompassing inside its walls the holy temple dedicated to God Khaldi, the supreme god in the Urartian mythology. Up to this day, the front wall of the Erebuni castle-museum has the carved face of God Khaldi, inscripted high above the doors.
The fortress also had a colonnade hall where major events took place. The hall is particularly of great interest because it had colored paintings on it, which, restorators were able to recover due to modern technologies. The wall paintings were mainly of red color (using the Armenian traditional coloring called “Vordan Karmir”, latin equivalent of “Porphyrophora hamelii” referring to the worm from which Armenians got the coloring), blue, yellow, and brown. These paintings depicted themes such as hunting, agriculture, cattle breeding, god worshipping, sacred animals and others, which come to demonstrate the level of development of ancient civilization of Urartu.
The fortress has not yet been fully explored and undoubtedly has secrets of the city’s history. Apparently, some major part of the 2800-year-old fortress did not endure to this day and was impossible to restore.
Erebuni museum displays the findings of excavations conducted on the remnants of the fortress. The permanent exhibitions of the museum showcase artifacts from Urartu era, including but not limited to cuneiforms, weapons, belts, bracelets and other pieces of jewelry made of gold and silver, statues, bronze ware, tableware, etc.
Diggings and archaeological excavations discovered areas where grain processing and wine practices apparently had taken place. The jars and other pieces of pottery had wine traces on them, once more affirming the high level of culture and traditions of Urartian dynasty.
The museum requires a ticket of a very affordable price, with the simple entry amounting to $2, and a guided tour - $5. Come and discover one of the oldest fortresses of the world which served as a sound basis for the establishment of one of the world’s most beautiful cities - Yerevan!