Underground Cities of the Armenian Highlands

What is happening with the weather on the planet? After all, not only warming, but also cooling is being recorded. Today, scientists are talking about a shift in magnetic poles, which will change the planet’s climate map. Where will Armenia be?

July 2021 became the hottest month in the entire history of meteorological observations around the world. June in Armenia broke all records, setting a new high of 41.2 degrees from June 23 to 25 in the Ararat Valley and Yerevan. Whether August will follow them or not, but at the end, it also delivered the maximum heat for the summer. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, where it was winter, snow fell in Brazil and Argentina. If the intensification of heat in one part of the world is compensated by cold in countries in other parts, then it makes sense to talk not about global warming, but about changing climatic zones and those factors that create them.

Over the past quarter century, many have already realized that the global climate is changing, but exactly how, where, and to what extent, is still only predicted. To understand what will happen later, you need to know what happened earlier, even in ancient times, when similar big changes occurred. Otherwise, it will not work out, and for good reason the Armenian historian of the 5th century Eghishe said that only by knowing the past can you see the future.

News from recent years just half a century ago would have been perceived as harbingers of the Apocalypse. Just the titles are worth something: “The longest river in the USA – the Mississippi – flowed in the opposite direction near the city of New Orleans (USA) due to Hurricane Ida (30.08.2021)”, “The Gulf Stream is losing strength: is disaster inevitable?”, “Texas hit by ice storm after snowstorm” (21 Feb 2021), “America, gripped by record cold, barely withstands the onslaught of the elements” (January 9, 2014), “45 temperature records in a day! -15 in Washington, -24 in Ohio, unprecedented -53 in Minnesota. Even in Antarctica it’s warmer”, “Frost in the USA. Niagara Falls and the Hudson froze” (2014). In the Eastern Hemisphere, they are also not bored: “Due to abnormal warming, reindeer may leave Taimyr forever” (29 Aug 2020), “The North Magnetic Pole ‘runs away’ to Taimyr: scientists are puzzled” (16 Jan 2019). The list can continue, but the picture is clear. But what about Armenia?

Summer in Yerevan in 2013 came late, in May it was still rainy and cool. The winter of 2013-2014 in Armenia was quite warm, although the Niagara Falls froze in Canada then. The winter of 2014-2015 in Yerevan was cold, in January up to -10, and sometimes -15 at night. The winter of 2015-2016 in Yerevan was light, there was little snow and cold. The winter of 2016-2017 in Yerevan was the coldest and longest, snow fell already at the end of October, even in March and April it was colder than usual. In January the temperature was -15, -20. Everyone’s heating was working at full capacity. The winter of 2017-2018 in Yerevan was the warmest. There was almost no snow. In January, the temperature was up to +10, sometimes even higher. No one dares to understand the pattern of alternating cold and warm winters yet. So how can we imagine what the climate will be like in the future?

In January 2007, the UN expert committee on climate published a forecast according to which, due to climate changes in the world, there may soon be 200 million refugees. Moreover, a significant part of the forced migrants may come from developed European countries. Climate changes have repeatedly changed the fate of peoples and civilizations.

In recent years, something strange has been happening with the North Magnetic Pole – it is moving along an almost straight line with increasing speed. In 2007, the pole left the territory of Canada, where it had been since the beginning of observations in 1831 and before that. Now it is heading towards Taimyr, where it may be by the middle of the 21st century. The current speed of pole movement is 64 kilometers per year. And just a quarter of a century ago it was 13 km, that is, it has increased fivefold. These displacements lead to major technical inconveniences even in the era of GPS.

What happened last time

If you analyze the forecasts of experts, you get a paradoxical picture – some predict even more warming, and others – almost a new ice age. But how can both be at the same time? In the middle of the 20th century, one of the most original explanations for the invasion of glaciers was offered by Professor Charles Hapgood of the USA. Albert Einstein was one of the first to support his conclusions. Hapgood wrote:

“The only ice age with an adequate explanation is the current glaciation in Antarctica. It is perfectly explained. It is quite obvious that it exists simply because Antarctica is at the pole, and nothing more. Thus, it is easy to explain the existence of glaciation in India and Africa in the past, although these places are in the tropics today”.

Such changes have happened more than once in the past. According to researchers, the last time this happened was 12,000 years ago. The magnitude of the pole shift was about 3,000 kilometers.

And apparently, it was fast. Scientists in Siberia have repeatedly found “freshly frozen” mammoths in the permafrost zone, sometimes even with flowers in their mouths, as, for example, with the mammoth from Berezovka (Yakutsk).

Due to such changes, many places with moderate and warm climates in the Eastern Hemisphere found themselves in cold zones, while in other regions the process went the opposite way, glaciers in Europe and North America began to retreat. This means that warming and cooling on the planet occurred simultaneously, which largely resembles today’s climate changes, as well as forecasts for the future.

If pole shifts occurred in the past, they can happen again. Some scientists believe that the next inversion of Earth’s magnetic poles will occur around 2030. And behind them, as in the past, geographical poles may follow. However, so far there is no understanding in science of the mechanism of shifting magnetic poles, let alone geographical ones. But the most interesting thing is that the scenario when the Eastern Hemisphere returns to the climate that was before the previous change is quite likely. Although it was so long ago that only vague memories of it remain in the form of legends.

What happened 12,000 years ago in the Armenian highlands?

The region, which historians call the Fertile Crescent, consists of the southeastern part of the Armenian highlands and parts of neighboring countries. It is considered the homeland of agriculture, writing, and the birthplace of civilization in general, a symbol of which today is Portasar (Turkish: Gobekli Tepe). Historians have already determined two important facts. 12,000 years ago, there was a serious change in the climate here, due to which a significant part of the population migrated to the Middle East and Egypt. That is, winters have become longer and much colder.

The representatives of the Gobekli Tepe culture around 9500 BC covered all the structures with earth and left to the southwest in order to survive, develop their agriculture and culture.

In Portasar, in the 8-7th millennium BC, the most ancient structures were already covered with earth. Who and why it was done is unknown. There is also a version that this could have happened as a result of a natural disaster in the form of water flows with stones and earth. The fair-skinned Indo-Europeans who came to Egypt became the ruling class of the country there, much like it is now in India.

But not everyone left the homeland of their ancestors. And if the winter became longer and lasted for half a year, then, without having neither heating nor enough fuel, how could the remaining ones survive? And our ancestors found an amazing solution to this problem. Rather, the gods suggested it to them and thus saved them from death. It turned out that long and harsh winters are easiest to survive underground, where heat is easier to retain. Moreover, this is mentioned in ancient written sources. Today everyone already knows about Derinkuyu, Nevşehir, Kaymaklı and other ancient underground cities of Cappadocia (Anatolia, Turkey), where tens of thousands of people could live with food and domestic animals. They had many floors, a branched ventilation network, and water sources. Some historians attribute them to the classical period, but others believe that they belong to deep antiquity and may be many thousands of years old. Derinkuyu was discovered in 1963, and in Nevşehir, 29 km from it, the largest underground city in the world was discovered in 2015.

However, long before this, in the 1880s, the “Underground Ani” was found – under the ruins of the ancient Armenian city of Ani, water canals, monk cells, rooms and huge corridors, intricate tunnels, traps and so on were discovered. There is information about underground structures under other Armenian cities. That is, they were built in many places, if not everywhere. What happens if the former climate of the Armenian highlands returns? Just about what is happening now: increased summer heat and mild winters. If the dangers of droughts are prevented in advance, then the country can seriously benefit from this. But it is impossible to predict all the details in advance, they will be really learned by our grandchildren. As for the hundreds of millions of refugees in the world due to climate change, some of these forced migrants from developed countries could well be Armenians living there. It is not difficult to guess that they will simply return to their historical homeland, which has long been predicted.

by Armen Petrosyan

Translation by Vigen Avetisyan

Read Also: Древнейшие подземные города на территории Исторической Армении – “Viasat History”

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