Karahunj Observatory

Natural Wonders

Known as the "Armenian Stonehenge," Zorats Karer is a prehistoric archaeological site near the town of Sisian.

204 km

Zorats Karer, the "Armenian Stonehenge"

In Armenia, there are several historical monuments that display actual evidence of the history of the Armenian nation and culture. One of them is the megalithic complex "Zorats-Karer" (another name is Karaunj). This is a prehistoric complex located in Armenia, not far from the city of Sisian. This famous megalithic structure consists of hundreds of vertically arranged two-meter stones or menhirs that are stretched from the south to the north. Armenians call this the "Armenian Stonehenge".

Until now, the age of this ancient monument is unknown. The opinions of scientists on this issue have differed. Some say that Karaunj was built not later than the 3rd millennium BC, and they also believe that the building was erected in the 4th millennium BC, while others came to the conclusion that the age of the complex is about 7500 years. But regardless of the age, Zorats-Karer impresses with its appearance: on the plateau among the high mountains, 300 vertical megaliths rise. The stones are arranged in the form of two rings. Located in the centre of the ring contains 40 stones that form an ellipse. There are several assumptions over the cult or astronomical purpose of the monument.

The name of the structure is translated as "warrior stones," although its designation was not military at all. In total, four expeditions were undertaken to study these mysterious stones. As a result of the study, scientists came to the conclusion that Karaunj is at least not younger than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. They first concluded that Zorats-Karer is an ancient observatory because the holes in the stones allow us to make fairly accurate calculations and correspond to the position of the stars in the sky. Secondly they concluded that it was the temple of the sun god Ara. The foregoing premises about the cult significance of the monument is that it served as a burial and sanctuary, since a stone box and a burial place were found in the mound.