In terms of archaeology, the site of Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide memorial complex located in Yerevan, is rather remarkable. During the construction of the memorial complex in the 1960s, workers discovered Bronze Age clay vessels there.
Further investigations revealed that the territory of Tsitsernakaberd had housed an Iron Age fortress named Tsitsernaki Berd (“swallow’s fortress”). According to archaeologist Hayk Hakobyan, throughout the memorial complex lie rocks that have been left out of sight over decades. Those rocks in reality are the fragments of the ancient fortress’ walls.
“In the area closer to the Hrazdan stadium, we found rooms of the royal type. Because we need finances for further research, we closed those rooms off for the time being,” said Hakobyan. Additionally, archaeologists discovered stone statues in the form of birds and horses. At the moment, they are kept in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan.
Hakobyan argues that this territory should be converted into a museum-reserve, and the archaeological excavations should be carried on. Over the years, all found artifacts have been documented in photos, but some of them still aren’t even digitalized.
A scientific employee of the History Museum of Armenian Anzhela Teryan shared the legend of the “swallow’s fortress.”
“According to a legend, a hill on the right bank of Hrazdan River housed the Astghikaberd Fortress (“fortress of Astghik”)” named in honor of deity of love Astghik. The highest tower of the fortress was inhabited by swallows that were used by Astghik to send invitations to her chosen ones. This hill was thus named Tsitsernakaberd, the name that we know today.”
Legends and archaeological material help us to more carefully examine the surroundings of Tsitsernakaberd and dive into the fortress’ history.