The British newspaper “The Telegraph” presented 16 of the oldest cities in Europe which have been continuously populated. The list includes the capital of Armenia Yerevan, which is mentioned in the publication as a city founded 30 years before Rome and a city captured by Assyrian rulers, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Turks, and the Red Army in 1920.
“The Telegraph” also writes that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of cultural institutions in the capital of Armenia has increased. Slowly, tourism has been developing as well.
The list of the oldest cities in Europe also includes Zadar in Croatia, Mtskheta and Kutaisi in Georgia, Cádiz in Spain, Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, Lisbon in Portugal, Larnaca in Cyprus, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, as well as Argos, Chalkida, Thebes, Trikala, Patras, Chania, and Athens in Greece.
The year of the foundation of Yerevan is considered to be 782 BC when the ruler of the Van Kingdom (Urartu) Argishti I established at its site the fortified city of Erebuni. It is known that for the foundation of the city in 782 BC, King Argishti brought 6,600 prisoners from the provinces of Khati and Tsupani (western regions of the Armenian Highlands).
According to the cuneiform chronicle found in Van, King Argishti I built the city of Erebuni in the fifth year of his reign.
Erebuni was located on the southern outskirts of modern Yerevan, although there is no data indicating the existence of a significant settlement at the location of the city from the 4th century BC up until the 3rd century AD.
The inscription on a stone slab found in 1950 on the Arin Berd hill allowed scholars to identify the area with Erebuni. The inscription reads: “By the greatness of deity Khaldi, Argishti, the son of Menua, built this powerful fortress and named it Erebuni to show the might of the country of Biainili and to intimidate the enemy country. The land was deserted, and I did mighty things here…”
A century later, the administrative and political center of the region moved to the Teishebaini fortress established by King Rusa II on the southwestern outskirts of modern Yerevan. However, Teishebaini was apparently defeated in the years of the fall of the Van kingdom (590 BC) by the Scythians.
Erebuni, however, continued its existence in the Persian era. This is testified, for example, by Milesian coins minted around 478 BC. Apparently, then, the name of the fortress has already been pronounced as Erevuni.
Armenian legends link the foundation of Yerevan to Noah, deriving the name of the city from the exclamation “Yerevats!” (“It appeared!”) allegedly made by Noah when the peak of Little Ararat appeared from under the water. This is considered an example of so-called folk etymology.
A 17th-century traveler Jean Chardin writes: “Erivan, according to the Armenians, is the oldest settlement in the world because they claim that Noah and his whole family settled here before the Flood. And after the Flood, he descended from the Mountain on which the Ark remained.”
THE TRAVELER ACROSS MILLENNIA – YEREVAN