Watching the night starry sky… Romance… Yes, and on the territory of one of the oldest observatories in the world, which is about 7500 years old.
Over the past quarter century, scientists have increasingly recognized that the ancient inhabitants of Armenia were among the first in the world to observe the starry sky. Opinions that one of the oldest centers of the origin of astronomical knowledge were the Neolithic settlements of Armenia and Asia Minor have been expressed for a long time. So, the ancient Greeks wrote that the maps of the constellations that existed in Greece and Egypt had their predecessors. The American astronomer William Tyler Olcott noted in his writings that the people who invented the ancient figures of the constellations lived in the Euphrates valley, as well as in the area near Mount Ararat.
“Karahunj” or “Zorats Karer” is an ancient megalithic complex located in the Syunik region of Armenia, not far from the city of Sisian. This is a huge megalithic complex, consisting of more than 200 vertically standing stones, reaching a height of up to 3 meters and weighing more than 50 tons. Most of the stones have through holes, the diameter of which is 5-7 centimeters. “Zorats Karer” is translated from Armenian as “stones of warriors”, “mighty stones”, and the name “Karahunj” – “singing stones”.
Ancient observatory or burial? The opinions of scientists around Karahunj are still divided. Assumptions were voiced that in the 3-2 millennium BC this place had a cult significance. Some historians admit that the stones are the ruins of a burial mound with stone walls and a roof, surrounded by menhirs. And the ruins located in the center of the building are an ancient Armenian temple of pagan times, where they worshiped the gods and made sacrifices to them. The proportions of the ruined building correspond exactly to the proportions of the famous pagan temple of Garni. And yet, the version that Karahunj is the oldest observatory is considered popular.
Numerous excavations have been carried out on the territory of the complex. As a result, artifacts were found that testify to several cultural layers. In total, about 175 items were found here, including ceramics, a necklace, weapons, and luxury items.
And increasingly, parallels are being drawn between Karahunj and Stonehenge. The world famous English monument, according to some versions, was erected somewhere between 3000 and 2000 BC. Until the late 19th century, accepted theories associated Stonehenge with Saxon and Danish cultures. However, Karahunj was installed much earlier.
An ancient civilization, a mystical story… Do you want to join and take a look at it with your own eyes?
Book your tour to Armenia, and perhaps together we will be able to unravel another ancient mystery.
photo: Vigen Hakhverdyan, Andranik Keshishyan