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The Architecture of Ancient Fortress Garny

Tigranakert, the capital of one of the major states of Near Asia and the Mediterranean competed with Seleucia and Antioch, the leading cities of the time. Numerous fortresses, unique religious monuments and architectural ensembles were erected.

The Anahit cult sanctuary in the settlement of Yerts (Yeghakiatz region) was so widely known that the Greek authors called the region “Anahitakan” (“The country of Anahit”).

The sanctuary was so popular not only among the Armenian, but also the Greek kings who frequented the place for worshipping.

Unfortunately the architectural monuments of the period have not been preserved. Frequent wars and time have almost destroyed them. However, archaeological excavations have enabled us to form an idea of the life of the Armenians during the wide historic period.

In 1909-1911 the archeological excavations headed by N. Marr unearthed the ruins of the antique temple of Garny. The archeological group headed by B. Arakelian (Armenian Academy of Sciences), constantly at work since 1949, revealed the fragments of the entire architectural ensemble.

In 1962 the excavations of the capital Armavir and in 1970 – excavations of the capital Artashat were started.

In Armavir and Artashat remnants of constructions, architectural fragments and valuable archeological material were discovered.

The Armenian material reveals certain parallels between Urartian and Armenian town-building principles, some architectural forms and construction technique. Of great interest is the unique fortification system of Artashat and its gradually revealed clean cut-out layout.

However, to this day it has been impossible to reproduce the layouts of these cities. Not a single structure mentioned in the ancient records and representing architectural monuments of the period has yet been revealed.

Presently the fullest notion of the actual level of antique Armenian architecture is obtained by the comparatively well-preserved ensemble of Garny fortress – the summer residence of the Armenian kings.

The importance of artistic and scientific exquisiteness of the Garny ensemble and most of the entire antique temple, has long ago gained world significance. The temple which had been intact till the XVII c., was destroyed by an earthquake in 1679.

In the beginning of the 30-es of our century attempts to reconstruct the temple were made using the draft-project of N. Bunatian. However, after initial masonry of the cella walls the endeavors ceased.

The Transcaucasian conference of archeologists and historians held in 1956 under the guidance of Academician Josef Orbeli resoluted in favour of commencing restoration work of the Garny temple.

To see the temple restored was the sacred wish of the famous Armenian academician and architect Alexander Tamanian.

Already in the end of the IV c. B.C. Armenia participated in the economic growth and cultural development of the Hellenistic world. In the second half of the IV c B.C. Armavir became the capita of the Ervands’ kingdom.

As to records the palace of the last king of Ervand dynasty (the last 20 years of the III c. B.C.) “was constructed in the fasion of other Hellenic powers… Diplomatic meetings of the king were held in Greek”.

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Writer: News
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 12:46:54 

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