30 kilometers from Armenia in the territory of the village of Aghdzk lies the family tomb of Arshakunis, the last royal dynasty of the Armenian Kingdom. Acceding to the throne in the 1st century, this dynasty reigned over the country for almost 4 centuries.
Arshakunis didn’t achieve the power and might of their predecessors. However, it was during their reign that Christianity was adopted as a state religion of Armenia in 301 AD, thus making the country the first state to officially adopt Christianity. Apart from that, under Arshakunis, Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet.
The Arshakuni family tomb was built in the 4th century. It was designed to replace, should the need arise, the traditional burial site of Armenian monarchs located on the upper banks of the Euphrates River.
In the days of this royal dynasty, the Byzantine Empire was the greatest threat to the Armenians. However, the main royal tomb was plundered by Persian King Shapur II in 359. The king didn’t loot it completely: instead, he tried to move the relics of the Armenian kings to Persia in order to emphasize the transient nature of the Christian country. But fortunately, Armenian commander Vasak Mamikonyan set up a military campaign to Persia to retrieve the relics of Arshakunis, which would be later buried in the new tomb in Aghdzk.
Թիմը գնում է գյուղ. այսօր` Աղձք | Straight to Aghtsk
Arshakid Kings Mausoleum and Basilica, Aghtsk / Мавзолей и Базилика Аршакида Кинга, Агтск