Daroynk – Arhsakavan Near the Foot of Mount Ararat

Daroynk – Arhsakavan Near the Foot of Mount AraratDaroynk (Դարոյնք) or Arshakavan (Արշակավան) is a city-citadel at the southern foot of Mount Ararat at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. It was built in the 1st-4th centuries under the kings of the Arshakuni (Arsacid) dynasty.

During the existence of the Kingdom of Van and presumably in the 8th century BC, the ancient fortress of Daroynk served as a sort of an observation point for the protection of the Silk Road (the crossing of trade routes from Asia Minor to Iran and from Transcaucasia to Mesopotamia) as well as a place for storing the treasury and a shelter of the royal family.

In the middle of the 4th century, the Sasanian Empire unsuccessfully tried to assault the fortress in order to seize the king’s treasury.

About the same time, the Armenian king Arshak II decided to request for the support of a certain part of the population in his struggle against the rebellious Nakharars (a hereditary title of the highest order given to houses of the ancient and medieval Armenian nobility), for which he expanded the fortress and founded the city of Arshakavan to later make it the capital of the kingdom.

According to Movses Khorenatsi, the fortress provided refugees and alike with shelter. In 359, during the invasion of the Persian troops of Shahinshah Shapur II into the southern provinces of Armenia, the city was wiped from the face of the earth.

In the future, the fortress of Daroynk was rebuilt by the Bagratids (Բագրատունի – Bagratuni). It has been their residence until the middle of the 5th century.

At the beginning of the 10th century, the fortress-city was occupied by the troops of Amir Yusuf Ibn-Abil-Saj, but was soon reclaimed by Ishkhan (an Armenian princely title) Gagik Artsruni from the Artsruni (Արծրունի) dynasty.

In 1020, the fortress and the city were captured by the Byzantines, and in the 1070s, it was conquered by the Seljuks. In the 1380s, the city was occupied for a short time by Tamerlane’s troops.

At the beginning of the 15th century, the fortress was renamed Bayazit in honor of Sultan Bayazet the First. In 1555, as a result of the Amasiya peace treaty that ended the 1514-55 Turkish-Persian War and divided Armenia and Georgia between the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Iran, the city retreated to the Ottoman Empire and started to be actively populated by Kurdish tribes, mostly Persian. In the 18th century, instead of the old fortress of Daroynk, new fortifications were built.

In the Ottoman period, the city-fortress Daroynk-Arshakavan was renamed Bayazit and then Doğubayazıt.

by: Alexander Bakulin


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