Yervandashat – Araks – Armenia

Yervandashat—Երվանդաշատ—was once a populous city situated at the confluence of the Western Arpachay River and the Araks, serving as the second capital of ancient Armenia after Armavir. It was founded in 229 BCE by King Yervand III, the last representative of the Yervanduni dynasty.

According to the Armenian historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi, the city was established to serve as the new capital of Armenia, replacing the city of Armavir. The latter had been abandoned by its inhabitants due to a change in the course of the Araks River that left it without a water supply.

Yervandashat remained the capital until 160 BCE, when the royal residence was relocated to the city of Artashat.

In the early 4th century, the King of Greater Armenia, Trdat III, transferred the city to the Kamsarakan family, making it the center of the Arsharunik region. The city was ultimately destroyed in 364 CE during the invasion of Shapur II, and its population—comprising about 50,000 Armenian and other families—was deported to Persia.

Limited archaeological research conducted in the 1980s uncovered not only the remains of the city’s fortifications but also traces of ancient gardens and palaces that had been described by an ancient Armenian historian. Signs of walls, streets, and city buildings from this former Armenian capital also still exist. Today, the name of Yervandashat lives on in a modern Armenian village located just a kilometer from the ancient city, on the eastern side of the confluence of the Akhuryan River into the Araks.

The border with Turkey runs along the Araks, leaving the ruins of the Armenian capital on the Turkish side of the river. Unfortunately, these ruins are inaccessible from Armenian territory and have not been properly explored by archaeologists.

On the opposite bank, once connected to the city by a stone bridge, stands the robust fortress of Yervandakert, built contemporaneously with the city. The remains of this fortress have survived to the present day. Tombstones that have been found suggest that Yervandakert was inhabited as early as the 15th century and was known as Marmet, according to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron in 86 volumes (St. Petersburg, 1890-1907).

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