Yerevan Hotels| Contact us

English Русский

Erebuni Fortress

Erebuni Fortress, Yerevan

In 1879, Papak, an inhabitant of the Cholmakchi village, found a large stone covered with Urartian cuneiform on the Arin-Berd hill. Some years later, the Russian scientist A. Ivanovskiy purchased this finding from Papak, some years later other scientist M.V. Nikolskiy published a rough translation of cuneiform. The inscription said that king Argishti I built a granary at this place. Later other cuneiform stones were found, but the archaeological study of the hill started only fifty years later.

In 1947, after the World War II, archeologist Boris Piotrovskiy organized an expedition to the Arin-Berd hill. And after some finds, systematic archaeological excavations were commenced in 1950. These excavations opened to the world the mystery of origin of Yerevan.

Excavations discovered ruins of an ancient fortress here and the cuneiform inscriptions fixed on the walls indicated that the fortress was built in 782 BC by the order of the Urartu king Argishti I. This fortress was called as Erebuni. In addition, two temples and the palace were also found on the hill. The total area of the settlement amounted to 200 hectares, while the fortress got the area of 8 hectares.

Erebuni fortress was triangular-form and had steep slopes on two sides and on the third side there was an entrance. It performed the role of an outpost in the Ararat valley, overlooking all the surrounding roads. Huge basalt boulders became the foundation of the fortress, and the height of its clay walls was approximately 12 meters.

The fortress included the palace and the temple to the god Khaldi. They were decorated with frescoes showing the hunting, farm works, sacrifice and the procession of the gods. These findings are one of the brightest samples of culture and art in the ancient state of Urartu.

Today the works on the Arin-Berd hill are suspended, but during the study of the area scientists found many pieces of art and household. Few parts of the fortress, palace and temple of Khaldi were reconstructed and presented to the public, showing the culture and architecture of the ancient state of Urartu. The Erebuni museum opened its doors in 1968 and today displays big collection of finds from the ancient fortress. It is located at the foot of Arin-Berd hill.

In addition, at the first half of the XX century, the area around the hill was rapidly built up, and, probably, some of the mysteries of ancient settlements have disappeared under the current districts of Yerevan forever. It is also worth to mention the fact that the age of Yerevan is used to count from the moment of the construction of the fortress (782 BC), but in reality, the fortress was abandoned in the III century BC, and the first records about Yerevan refer to 609 year AD. But on the other hand, Erebuni and Yerevan have an etymological connection between each other.

Today, the word "Erebuni" is very popular in Armenia: various companies are named in honor of the fortress, plenty of goods are produced under such trademark, one of the districts of modern Yerevan and even one of two airports of the capital are called in honor of the fortress Erebuni. Anyway, Erebuni will live forever in the minds of people as the cradle of the present Yerevan.

Major Sights list: