Recently, the capital of Armenia, the city of Yerevan, celebrated its 2800th anniversary. The figure is impressive. But at the same time, Yerevan is a very young capital. It became the capital in 1918, becoming the 12th capital of Armenia, not counting the capitals of Tsopka (Sofena), Commagene, Cilicia, Lesser Armenia and other Armenian states.
Yerevan was founded in 782 BC. Urartian king Argishti I, who built the fortress city of Erebuni.
Yerevan began to acquire its modern look at the beginning of the last century, thanks to the architect Alexander Tamanyan. And today Yerevan is a beautiful, cozy modern city, where many tourists come every year.
Before Yerevan, the following cities were the capitals of Greater Armenia:
Van or, as it was also called Yervandavan or Tushpa, is the most ancient capital. The city is located on the shores of Lake Van. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, excavated by many famous archaeologists. When it was built and flourished, there was no state as such. At that time, separate tribes of Nairi merged into a single state. In all likelihood, around 844 BC, when the power belonged to King Sarduri I, Van was proclaimed the capital of Urartu. Before the Armenian genocide of 1915, it was one of the most important cities in Western Armenia.
It is the first capital of Great Armenia. It was founded during the reign of the Yervanduni dynasty and proclaimed the capital in 331 BC. During the invasion of the Mongols in the XIII century. the inhabitants of the city abandoned it. The territory, the city was inhabited during the time of the state of Urartu. King Argishti I founded the Argishtikhinili fortress on this site. Modern Armavir is located in the Ararat valley at the foot of Mount Aragats.
The second capital of Armenia was the city of Yervandashat. In 220 B.C. King Ervand IV founded a city in the province of Yeraskhadzor at the confluence of two rivers – Araks and Akhuryan. The fortress was built of huge basalt stones, which were connected to each other only by stone seams. The city was completely destroyed in 364 after the invasion of the troops of the Persian king Shapur II.
The third capital of Armenia is the city of Artashat. The city was founded by King Artashes I around 180 BC. Artashes became the first king of Great Armenia after its liberation from the Seleucids. The name of the city is translated as “the joy of Artashes”. An interesting fact is that Artashat continued to be the capital of Greater Armenia even after the founding of Tigranakert and the relocation of the capital there. For a long time, Armenia had two capitals that competed with each other for this status. At present, Artashat is the regional center.
During the reign of King Tigran the Great, when Armenia was at its largest and stretched from sea to sea, in order to rule such a huge Great Armenia, Tigran decided to move the capital from Artashat, which was on the outskirts of the country, in favor of Tigranakert. The 4th capital was built in 77 BC in the region of Agdznik. Subsequently, Tigranakert became a large Arab military center, which was renamed Diyarbekir. Throughout history, several more different cities were formed, called Tigranakert.
The city of Vagharshapat became the fifth capital of Greater Armenia. People have lived in this area since the Stone Age. And in the IV century. d.c.e. a small village of Vardkesavan was founded here, which during the reign of Tigran the Great turned into a small city. At the beginning of the second century AD, King Vagharsh moved his residence here. After Armenia adopted Christianity, the city became the religious center of Armenia and still remains so. In 1945, the city was renamed Etchmiadzin, but at the moment the first name has been returned to it.
Dvin became the last capital of Greater Armenia. -. It was proclaimed the capital in 335 AD during the reign of Khosrow II. Dvin was one of the largest cities of its time. Located near the city of Artashat. There were settlements on this site as early as the 5th century BC. Dvin was badly damaged during a strong earthquake in 893. The army of the commander Prosh destroyed the city in 1227, and in 1236 the city was captured by the Tatars. After that, on the site of the once large city there were small villages.
After a long absence of independence and numerous wars with various conquerors, Armenia regained its independence. And King Ashot Bagratuni proclaimed the capital of the state the city of Bagaran, located on the right bank of the Akhuryan River. Bagaran was founded simultaneously with the second capital of Greater Armenia – Yervandashat. Later it was destroyed by the troops of Tamerlane. Later, Bagaran lost its significance at the beginning of the 20th century. there was an ordinary village with a population of 800 inhabitants. The miraculously saved residents moved to the left bank of the Araks River and founded the current village of Bagaran.
The city of Shirakavan became the new capital of Armenia and remained so for about 40 years during the reign of Smbat the First and his son Ashot II Yerkat (Iron) In 1920, the inhabitants of Shirakavan were resettled, as a result of which some of them settled in the village of Yerazgavors, Akhuryan region.
The ninth capital of Armenia is the city of Kars. The first mention of it dates back to the 9th century, but it may have existed earlier and served as the capital of the Nakharar house of Vanand since ancient times. In 1053 Kars was conquered. Although the Kingdom of Kars retained its independence for a short period of time. After that, Kars changed hands many more times. During the period of the Ottoman invasions, life in the city fell into decay, crafts and trade almost did not develop. In 1828 Kars was conquered by the Russians, but in 1921 it was handed over to Turkey. Kars is currently located in Turkey.
The tenth capital of Armenia is the city of Ani. In the X century. the city of Ani was the largest trading center. What is mentioned in many written sources. The state of the Bagratuni dynasty was even often called the Ani kingdom. In a few years, the city expanded greatly and a new gate had to be built. Ani is also known as the city of a thousand and one churches. Today the ruins of the city are located in Turkey.