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Rambler's Top100

: Itineraries | : admin | 15.03.2007, 04:24

Not far from Byurakan there is a village AGHDZQ, where there is a unique construction of IV century - a tomb of the Armenian kings.
Before visiting the monument let's recall events of the beginning of the first millennium, occurring in Armenia in the last years of an independent Armenian empire. Soon Armenia was divided between great powers of the world of those times - Byzantium and Persia. Persians moved ahead deep into the country, spreading horror and ruin everywhere. Here they besieged fortress Ani and took out countless treasures. They even dug out the tombs of the Armenian kings in Tigranakert and took away with them their bones, they thought that together with the remnants of the Armenian kings their glory and their bravery went to their country. But having learned about it, the Armenian army attacked Persians and rescued the remnants of the Armenian kings. They were brought to village ALDZIK (nowadays AGHDZQ) and were reburied there. A tomb is constructed for this purpose. This construction is dated from 359 - 360.
At the first sight the building of a necropolis does not appeal. Instead of the majestic mausoleum, the small premise covered with a flat low roof was constructed here. Steep steps lead to semi dungeon. Passing by the heavy stone columns covered with a stone beam, through a low aperture of an entrance, you find yourself in the tomb amazing with beauty of internal appointments of the premise (the tomb is illuminated only with the light penetrating through a door aperture). On massive stone columns of an entrance half effaced bas-reliefs of hunting scenes were kept. Inside the necropolis there is a small semicircular altar, the stone sarcophagi located on the right and to the left of it as though in the wings of the cross. To the left of an entrance due to the legend, the remnants of pagan kings from dynasty of Arshakids were buried and on the right, where a bas-relief with a cross juts out - the kings who had already accepted Christianity. Sarcophagi are empty. But time preserved bas-reliefs of IV century on them. On the right Christian sarcophagus a soldier was pictured, striking a wild boar with a spear. And dogs hang on the badgered animal - one seized the head, another- the leg. In the central part of a sarcophagus there is a grapevine, which is plaited in ring and in it like in a nest, the bird is singing. The animals pasture below. The scene of the fights between the person and a wild boar symbolizes war between Armenia and Persia as the wild boar was represented on the seal of the Persian king. In bas-reliefs of the tomb prevailed the symbolics which is close to the ground, to the flowers and fruits. All is permeated with antique cheerfulness. Even the cross is made in the circle filled with leaves, clusters, birds, pecking something or trying to discover a forage. And the cross itself as if blossomed - waves with grapes, serves as branches for birds,sprouted by flexible clusters with bunches of ripe berries.

The history left many riddles to us. Where did the remnants of kings disappear? Where were the treasures of Ani taken out? There is no direct or indirect evidence about it either in Armenian, or in the Persian sources.
It is more important, that time preserved this rare monument with a sculpture of IV century.
The Christian temple constructed in IV century was closely adjoined to a tomb. Its ruins are kept up to now. The remnants of lateral walls, an altar, and columns are intact. Beside black and red stones, capitals were spread out.
Both the temple and the tomb have been constructed at the edge of gorge at the bottom of which the river Amberd runs. From both sides of gorge there are high, almost steep rocks. All along the river, on the steep slopes of gorges there are numerous caves located in unapproachable rocks. Due to the legend, here in one of numerous caves, the treasures of Ani are hidden. Most likely, these caves were not simply natural caves, but specially adapted for the defensive purposes, fortresses originally, dug in the rocks.
At some entrances the stone "doors" made of the big stone boulders were kept. Entering the cave and, passing through narrow and low passageway (so narrow, that there is possible to move ahead only having bent, and in some places even on all fours), it is possible to get in a spacious hall. In the hall there is another narrow passageway leading to the other underground hall and so on. Probably, all caves situated all along the rocks, were connected among themselves by underground passageways. Unfortunately, these underground labyrinths are poorly studied. Except for half-legendary parables, no actual materials are found. But it is obvious, that underground city, basically, is of military - defensive value. During invasion of enemies it was possible to hide in the cave constructions, thus not feeling the shortage of water as some underground passages (e.g. at the fortress of Amberd), go down the very river. All the churches and fortresses around were likely to have been linked with each other by underground passages.

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