The Ancient Armenian City of Daroink

Carrying the imprints of countless civilizations and bearing witness to centuries of turmoil, the ancient Armenian city of Daroink (known also as Bayazet) stands as an emblem of Armenia’s rich and complex history. Today, this post takes you on a journey through the rise, fall, and rebirth of Daroink, shedding light on its historical significance and the turbulent events that have shaped its identity.

As far back as the 8th century BC, the rulers of the Ararat Kingdom laid the foundations of the Daroink fortress. Over the following centuries, Daroink changed hands numerous times, serving as a critical asset for the Armenian satrapy, the Ayrarat Armenian kingdom, and Greater Armenia.

During the 1st century, the kings of Greater Armenia chose the site of the Ararat citadel to erect a formidable fortress that housed the state treasury for four centuries. Despite numerous attempts by Persian troops to seize the treasury, the fortress remained impervious to their attacks.

In 350, the Armenian king Arshak II built a city in Daroink, seeking to consolidate his power and weaken the revolt of the Nakharars. This city, named Arshakavan, was declared the new capital of Greater Armenia, inciting further rebellion from the Nakharars and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Over the next centuries, Daroink fell prey to countless invasions and regime changes, suffering destruction and subsequent restoration several times. The fortress transitioned from being the residence of the Armenian Nakharars to one of the fortresses of the Armenian Emirate, and later, the Armenian Kingdom of Ani.

In 1020, Daroink was seized by the Byzantine troops, and half a century later, handed over to the Turks. Despite temporary captures by the Russians in the 19th century, the city ultimately fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire, resulting in numerous massacres of the Armenian population.

In the 20th century, the city was again recaptured by Russian troops and became part of the autonomous Turkish Armenia in 1915. However, the Turkish occupation in 1918 marked the extermination of the last remnants of the Armenian population there.

In 1915, Bayazet and its district were home to 26,251 Armenians, who today would have around 150,000 descendants. It housed 57 Armenian villages, 49 Armenian Apostolic Churches, 21 Armenian monasteries, and 25 Armenian schools.

Today, Daroink remains a testament to the tumultuous history of the Armenian people. It is a reminder of the resilience, fortitude, and enduring spirit of Armenia and its people, who have faced and overcome countless challenges throughout history. Despite the turmoil, this ancient city holds fast to its roots, standing as a proud symbol of Armenia’s timeless cultural heritage.

Vigen Avetisyan

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