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Erebuni fortress was the military-administrative center of Urartu. The castle is located in the south-eastern part of Yerevan, on a high hill, which was originally named Arin-berd. The well-chosen strategic position of the fortress on this hill allowed to see the Ararat valley and the roads leading there.
The hill has a triangular shape and covers a total area of 2 hectares. The main entrance to the castle is located on the southern, flatter hillside.
At the entrance, there was a tile that recorded the date of construction of the city and the name of the builder. It was the discovery of that cuneiform inscription that became the basis for learning about the existence of Erebuni Castle.
The record says: “By the majesty of God Khald, Argishti, the son of Menua, built this impregnable fortress and named it the city of Erebuni, for the strength of the Biaina country and for the fear of the enemies.”
On the left side of the road was the 6-domed pillared hall, which marked the entrance to the citadel. It was decorated with bright murals. Statues of winged creatures stood on either side of the stairs leading to the hall.
Through the gate they entered the square, where the three most important buildings of the castle were located:
• The temple
• The palace
• The economic part
The temple was dedicated to the god Khald, who was considered the supreme god of the Urartians. The temple consisted of a long front room, a storage room for household utensils, a tower and a vestibule.
The walls of the temple were covered with figures of people and gods, geometrical and floral ornaments. The most characteristic image was the image of the god Khald, who was standing on a lion and holding a staff in his hand.
A water channel was found under the floor of the temple.
Argishti’s palace consisted of:
• the residential and service rooms
• the temple of Susi, dedicated to the god Iuarshe
• the outdoor courtyard, which was used for business meetings and receptions based on the rich inscriptions on the surrounding walls.
From the open space a road opened to the temple of Susi. It was a small rectangular space with a flat roof.
The god Iuarsha was absent from the Urartian pantheon of gods. Scholars are inclined to the opinion that Erebuni has been multi-ethnic since its foundation. Iuarsha was one of the Hittite-Luvian gods, who were a nation conquered by the Urartians and played an important role in the Urartian state. In order to assimilate that nation as soon as possible, the Urartians built a temple dedicated to the god of that nation in the palace part of their fortress. The temple had two altars, one inside the temple and the other outside the temple.
In the economic part, the vessels buried under the ground, which were intended for the storage of wine, wheat, oil, etc., attracted attention. The capacity of each of them was indicated on the vessels.
As in other Urartian fortresses, water supply and drainage were carefully designed and organized in Erebuni fortress. The water supply of the castle was provided by underground aqueducts, which were round stone pipes connected to each other. The outer diameter of the pipes is 40 cm, the inner diameter is 10 cm and they were reinforced with clay.
In 1968, on the occasion of the 2750th anniversary of Erebuni, the opening of the Erebuni museum took place on Arin-Berd mountain, where precious examples of Urartian heritage are presented.
The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.
Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan