Stones are like people in some sense. Some of them stand shoulder to shoulder in masonry, their main feature being the absence of any individual features. Other stones are unique and even exceptional. One could long argue which is more important, but most will probably want to see something new and unique.
Stone with the inscription of King Argisthi I of Urartu
This basalt stone is pretty much the birth certificate of Yerevan, the present-day capital of Armenia. The cuneiform inscription of a King of the Kingdom of Van Argishti I mentions the date of the city’s establishment, 782 BC. Now, this stone is kept in the museum-reserve Erebuni in Yerevan.
“Zorats Karer” literally means “stones of soldiers”. Zorats Karer – more commonly referred to as Karahunj – is one of the oldest megalithic structures discovered, dating back to the 6th-4th millennia BC. While its purpose was unknown initially, it is now established that it had been used as an observatory.
Karahunj consists of two-meter-tall menhirs, some of which feature holes in them. This ancient complex is located 3 km northeast of the town of Sisian, Syunik Province.
Stone from above
On June 5, 1975, this huge stone broke down from the cliff above Geghard Monastery and rolled down into its courtyard, miraculously not harming anyone or anything. The stone was left where it landed. The date of the stone’s fall is carved out on the stone itself.
The phallic cult has been spread in Armenia in ca. 3rd-2nd millennia BC. Classical exemplars of stones-phalluses dating back to those years can today be seen in Metsamor 35 km southwest of Yerevan.
The ensemble of the stone phallic symbols is completed by a vishapakar (literally “dragon-stone”), a stone stele with carved-out images of fish and dragons. Vishapakars are among the most renowned artifacts of the Armenian culture.
The giant boulder resembling a pedestal lies on the road to Noravank. Chairs and a table used to stand on the flat surface of the boulder, and the visitors of the monastery used to climb up the ladder to have a nice picnic on the boulder. The boulder lies in the canyon of the Arpa River in 3km from the village of Amagu.
According to a tradition, Portakar (literally “belly button stone”) helped infertile women to get pregnant. During rituals, women lied on the stone face down, accentuating the contact of their belly buttons with the stone, hence its name. Portakar lies 12 km southeast of the town of Sisian.
A stone with the carved-out image of the starry sky is a part of an ancient observatory located in the fortress of Metsamor 35 km southwest of Armenia. This stone is dated to the 19th century BC.