It could be said that Ardvinians know almost nothing about their past. That’s literally what writer Abov remarked after his visit to Ardvin (also known as Artvin, a city in northeastern Turkey): “Ardvinians don’t know about their past.”
A diplomat N. Ravich stated the same. Even the Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia reads that “data about the ancient times of Ardvin is scarce.” Only assumptions float around, which has intrigued those interested in this corner of Western Asia even more. Historians, archaeologists, philologists, writers, and simply travelers have repeatedly attempted to reveal the past of the city, but to no avail.
Because it’s impossible to list all the existing opinions and statements regarding this question, we will only present a couple of them.
According to one hypothesis, Ardvinians moved in from Ani, the medieval capital of Armenia, the grand ruins of which now stand on the right bank of Akhuryan River in Turkey.
Another hypothesis states that the ancestors of Ardvinians escaped from Dvin, a more ancient capital of Armenia, after it had been plundered by Persians and Arabs. Many of Dvin’s former inhabitants settled on the right bank of Chorokh River where Artvin now stands. My mother told me that the name “Ardvin” derives from the words “ar” and “dvin”, which could mean “take instead of Dvin”.
Adrvinian Hakob Aznauryan, a forester at the Batumi Botanic Garden, thinks the same. Some say that he wrote an essay on Ardvin, in which he argues that after Dvin had fallen, its population migrated. Some of them settled near Chorokh River, naming their new settlement Ardvin, which derives from “ar ko dvin” (take your Dvin). Another author thinks that Ardvin means “New Dvin” because “ard” also means “new” in Armenian.
According to another hypothesis, “Ardvin” is the slightly changed name of the Ardvi settlement of the Stepanavan district in northern Armenia, and the Ardvininians moved to the area of Chorokh River in the times of Amran Plik, to whom Derenik Demirchyan’s novel “Gevorg Marzpetuni” was dedicated.
Fragment from an upcoming book “Ardvin and Ardvinians” by Artashes Baghdasaryan. The book will be published in 2018 Photo: Bridges of Ardvin