Scholars of Armenian history have repeatedly addressed the mysterious staircase corridors cut out in rocks. They have offered many theories on their purpose and also the time when they had been made.
Such a monument can be found in the Yelpin rock located 150 kilometers south of Yerevan in Vayots Dzor province. Even though the rock stands only about 50 meters high, one would need to be quite a skilled climber to reach its top. Even the staircase carved out in the rock from bottom to top won’t be very helpful.
The lower section of the staircase begins in a shallow grotto with polished walls called “mekyhan” (a pagan temple). The name of the grotto is etymologically connected with the ancient cult of the deity Mher (Mithra). In fact, many scholars think that this connection could help them uncover the mystery of the staircase.
According to the Armenian epic “Daredevils of Sasun”, following the will of his parents, Mher settled in the Raven’s Stone (Agravakar). He won’t leave the rock until justice is established on earth. Twice a year, he peeks out of the rock to see whether or not the world has changed.
The connection of Mher with the rock has an affinity with ancient legends, in which the heroes originated from rocks. Many think that the scenes of the imprisonment of Mher in the Raven’s Stone are in fact the lost fragments of Mithraic mysteries.
The raven – a messenger of upcoming changes, a symbol of the end of one cycle and the beginning of the other – suggests the connection of Mher with the Mithraic mysteries. The supporters of this version think that the stairs of the Yelpin rock emblematize the gradual approach of justice’s reign on earth.