Metsamor

Metsamor, one of the ancient monuments of the Armenian Plateau, is situated in the enter  of the Ararat Valley, 30 kilometres west of Yerevan, not far from the spring of the River Metsamor. Excavations confirm that people settled in this valley with abundant water sources, hunting grounds and pastures seven thousand years ago. The Metsamor Castle was founded on a large volcanic hill. The studies confirm that life continued there from the 5th millennium B.C. up to the 18th century A.D. Excavations revealed three distinct cultural phases of the earthwork, cattle breeding, and development of the culture during the Bronze Age, cultural and medieval layers from the Early and developed Iron Ages. Studies confirm that Metsamor has already been a city in the Early Bronze Age (second half of the 4th millennium B.C. – first half of the 3rd millennium B.C.). It consisted of a citadel, palace building and an observatory on a small hill. The six construction horizons are characterized by round planned dwellings and adjacent outbuildings. The grain that was discovered here proves that people used to sow wheat and barley.
In the Middle and Late Bronze Age (2nd millennium B.C.) the culture of Metsamor entered into a new phase of development which was reflected in the material values of the construction horizons of the castle and funeral rites. The basalt anchors testify to the existence of a pillar-ornamented hall. The traces of the war-chariots, as well as the existence of the censer and incensory
sets show advances in military technology and the significant role of religious cult rites. However, Metsamor was a powerful town in the Early Iron Age (end of the 12th century to the 9th century B.C.) and became the capital of the kingdom in the Ararat Plateau. The citadel was protected with a Cyclopean huge wall and characterized by its palace complex. The city situated near the Lake Akna and occupying an area of about 200 hectares was also protected by its walls, parts of which have been preserved up to now. It had a necropolis near the Lake Akna, and another one in the north-eastern part of the castle. A part of the village Taronik is based on the necropolis. The city had its own sacred place named “kus-karer,” rich in water sources. The temple ensemble with its seven sanctuaries and outbuildings in the western part of the castle was of significant value from the historical, cult and cultural view. It served as a place for the people’s common rites, such as seasonal festivities: spring, revival of nature and harvest. In Metsamor anointment ceremonies were held, offerings to god were made, wine was poured, and holy bread was baked and served to god and participants of the rite. Metsamor had a powerful army and developed metal-working. Workshops and smelting furnaces were placed on the slopes of the hill, outside the Cyclopean wall of the castle. Being situated on crossroads of trade and travel in the Ararat Valley Metsamor closely collaborated with the cultural centres of
the Old East. The frog-scales made of agate with Babylonian inscriptions dating from the 16th to 15th centuries B.C. that were excavated in Metsamor, serve as good evidence of this trade. The cornelian seal with Egyptian hieroglyphs and dung-beetles are
other findings too.

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