”AGARAK” HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL RESERVE

“AGARAK” HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL RESERVE 2019-08-19T11:49:46+00:00

“Agarak” Historical and Cultural Reserve is located in the administrative districts of Agarak and Voskehat rural communities of Aragatsotn Marz, on both sides of the Yerevan-Ashtarak-Gyumri highway, on the rocky promontory (cape) of volcanic tufa on the right bank of the Amberd River. One of the main features of the Monument /state index 2.4.1/ is that the whole area and surroundings of the settlement are completely surrounded by huge complexes of rocky (with caverns cut inside) and stone structures, most of which are interconnected with the Early Bronze Age settlement of Agarak.

There are caverns cut in the rocks, stairs leading to those caverns, and other structures. Due to all these shapes, as well as circular, horseshoe, cellular cuts, streams interconnecting thоse cuts, three-top or table-like places for sacrifice, the natural landscape has become a giant monument.
A such an example of a ritual landscape having ​​200 hectares area was not documented in the Armenian Highlands until the excavations at Agarak. According to unanimous opinion of archaeologists studying these monuments, the rocks covered with such conformations are ritual-worshipping structures. Some of them are considered to be Hittite, and a considerable part looks like Phrygian for specialists, in particular being associated with the Great Mother of Gods, the Ruler of the Mountains, Forests and Animals, and the fertility sponsoring Goddess Kibela.

Taking into account the unique role and significance of the Agarak ancient settlement-monument in the study of socio-cultural issues of the earliest period of Armenia, the Government of Armenia, with its decision N 1305 of December 29, 2001, granted “Agarak” ancient settlement a status of a museum-reserve. And, according to decision 1204-N of November 24, 2016, the area of ​​the “Agarak” Historical and Cultural Reserve was designated 118.2 hectares, and was transferred to the category of specially protected land and given to the “Service of Protection of Historical-Cultural Museums and Historical Environment” SNCO of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia on the gratuitous and unlimited base.

Historical

Overview

The large number of excavated pottery, burned clay-made statuettes, remains of round and horseshoe hearths, pedestals allow to attribute these times of ​​habitation of Agarak to the Middle Ages of Shengavit or Qura-Arax archeological culture dating back to BC 29-27 centuries. The presence of an Urartian cave masoleum, an Urartian-stamped huge pots buried there and pottery on the southern side of the platform allows us to say that the Agarak archaeological site was inhabited in the BC 8-6th centuries as well. After the collapse of the Van Kingdom, Agarak was a large urban-type settlement.

Big number of winepresses found in the rocky caverns located at the excavation sites testifies that viticulture and winemaking played a special role in the life of the farmers of Agarak. Being one of the most important hubs of the trade route from Ayrarat to Shirak and Ani, the economic and commercial life of this settlement flourishes especially from the BC 4th-3rd centuries to AC 2nd-4th centuries.

This is evidenced by a silver drachma of Alexander the Great and а silver dinar of Augustus Octavianos found in layers of colored pottery typical of the urban culture of the Hellenistic and Late Antiquity, as well as by a few silver seal rings found in burials (cut in rock) of the late Hellenistic period.
The last stage of the settlement of the Agarak archaeological site is presented with materials typical for the 17-18th centuries (pottery, hearth basises, copper coins issued by the Khanate of Yerevan).