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<strong>ARMENIAN</strong> <strong>HERITAGE</strong> <strong>SITES</strong><br />

<strong>TURKEY</strong>&<strong>IRAN</strong><br />

<strong>ARMENIAN</strong> <strong>HERITAGE</strong> <strong>SITES</strong><br />


ARMENIA’S<strong>HERITAGE</strong><strong>IN</strong><strong>TURKEY</strong><br />

<strong>ARMENIAN</strong><strong>HERITAGE</strong><strong>IN</strong><strong>IRAN</strong><br />

<strong>ARMENIAN</strong><strong>HERITAGE</strong><strong>AND</strong>UNESCO<br />

byVaheGabrielyan<br />

Armenians take pride in quoting famous foreigners<br />

who have called Armenia a museum under open<br />

skies. Throughout a long and turbulent history, of<br />

which at least over 3000 years have been<br />

documentedtovariousextentinhistoricaltextsand<br />

maps and even more in myths and folklore,<br />

Armenians have succeeded in building kingdoms<br />

and even empires with highly advanced social<br />

structures and infrastructure, magnificent religious<br />

andseculararchitectureandartsandcraftsthatstill<br />

fascinate, amaze and enchant. Quite a lot of that<br />

tangible heritage has been destroyed in wars and<br />

naturaldisastersandmuchofwhatremainshasbeen<br />

covered in the dust of time and is yet to be<br />

unearthed.<br />

Evenwhathassurvivedcanstillbeatestimonytothe<br />

astonishing talent and skills of a nation that has<br />

outlived many formidable hostile empires and<br />

hordes of different eras. This book is neither a<br />

textbookofArmenianhistory,norofArmenianarts,<br />

neitherisitastudyofthoserealms.Thisissimplyan<br />

attemptataguidetothatpartofArmeniancultural<br />

heritage that has already been recognized and<br />

appreciated by the rest of the family of nations.<br />

Unlike that of many other nations, Armenian<br />

heritage is not limited to the physical boundaries of<br />

the state currently representing the nation, the<br />

Republic of Armenia. At different times, Armenian<br />

kingdoms and empires of the past centuries covered<br />

anareaseveraltimesthatoftheRepublictoday,and<br />

even as their country continued to reduce in size,<br />

Armenians continued to live on their ancestral<br />

lands, despite campaigns of massacres and genocide<br />

against them. Therefore, monuments of Armenian<br />

architecture can be found in abundance in<br />

neighboring countries on historically Armenian<br />

lands and in countries where Armenian Diaspora<br />

communitieshavebeenestablished.<br />

Armenian Heritage and UNESCO: Volume 1<br />

and2–2017<br />

https://www.amazon.com/Armenian-Heritage-<br />

UNESCO-1-2/dp/9939018541<br />

In July 2016, the ancient Armenian city of Ani, now<br />

in eastern Turkey, was inscribed as a UNESCO<br />

World Heritage site. For Armenians, a people still<br />

living under the shadow of what they regard as "the<br />

firstgenocideofthe20 th century”carriedoutagainst<br />

their ancestors who lived under the Ottoman<br />

Empire, the listing ensures protection of a small but<br />

treasured piece of their heritage. But a visit to the<br />

region today shows that, outside the walls of Ani,<br />

what remains of Armenian culture in Turkey is in<br />

dangerofdisappearingentirely.<br />

The eastern part of the current territory of the<br />

RepublicofTurkeyispartoftheancestralhomeland<br />

of the Armenians. Along with the Armenian<br />

population, during and after the Armenian<br />

Genocide the Armenian cultural heritage was<br />

targetedfordestructionbytheTurkishgovernment.<br />

Of the several thousand churches and monasteries<br />

(usually estimated from two to three thousand) in<br />

the Ottoman Empire in 1914, today only a few<br />

hundred are in still standing in some form; most of<br />

these are in danger of collapse. Those that continue<br />

tofunctionaremainlyinIstanbul.<br />

Most of the properties formerly belonging to<br />

Armenians were confiscated by the Turkish<br />

government and turned into military posts,<br />

hospitals, schools and prisons. Many of these were<br />

also given to Muslim migrants or refugees who had<br />

fled from their homelands during the Balkan Wars.<br />

Thelegaljustificationfortheseizureswasthelawof<br />

Emval-i Metruke (Law of Abandoned Properties),<br />

which legalized the confiscation of Armenian<br />

propertyiftheownerdidnotreturn.<br />

https://www.rferl.org/a/armenian-heritage-in-turkey/<br />

28029302.html<br />

InthemuseumsofTehran,Isfahan,andTabriz,more<br />

than 3.000 ancient parchment manuscripts in the<br />

Armenian language are stored. Thanks to the efforts<br />

oftheIraniangovernment,3Armenianarchitectural<br />

monuments in Iran were inscribed in the UNESCO<br />

WorldHeritageList.TheseweretheSt.Thaddeusand<br />

St. Stepanos monasteries, as well as the Chapel of<br />

Dzordzor. Their significance lies in their<br />

architectural representation of the exchanges<br />

between the regional cultures including Byzantine,<br />

Orthodox, and Persian. The monasteries have<br />

withstood numerous calamities, both human and<br />

natural, throughout the centuries. St. Stepanos,<br />

arguablythemostwell-knownofthethree,standsin<br />

a canyon past the twists and bends of the Aras River<br />

ontheAzerbaijanborder.<br />

The Armenian quarter of New Julfa in Isfahan, was<br />

established in 1606 as an Armenian quarter by the<br />

edictofShahAbbasIfromtheSafaviddynasty.Over<br />

150,000 Armenians were moved there from the<br />

older Julfa (also known as Jugha or Juła)<br />

in Nakhichavan. Iranian sources state that the<br />

Armenians came to Iran fleeing the Ottoman<br />

Empire's persecution. Nevertheless, historical<br />

records indicate that the residents of Julfa were<br />

treated well by Shah Abbas in the hopes that their<br />

resettlement in Isfahan would be beneficial to Iran<br />

due to their knowledge of the silk trade. The Holy<br />

Savior Cathedral, also known the Church of the<br />

Saintly Sisters, is located here. It is commonly<br />

referredtoastheVank,whichmeans"monastery"or<br />

"convent"intheArmenianlanguage.<br />



AniisaruinedmedievalArmeniancitynowsituated<br />

in Turkey's province of Kars, next to the closed<br />

borderwithArmenia.<br />

Between 961 and 1045, it was the capital of<br />

theBagratidArmeniankingdomthatcoveredmuch<br />

of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Ani<br />

stoodonvarioustraderoutesanditsmanyreligious<br />

buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst<br />

the most technically and artistically advanced<br />

structuresintheworld. Atitsheight,Aniwasoneof<br />

the world's largest cities,with a possible population<br />

of100,000.<br />

Renowned for its splendor, Ani was sacked by the<br />

Mongols in 1236. Ani never recovered from a<br />

devastating 1319 earthquake, and was gradually<br />

abandoneduntilitwaslargelyforgottenbythe17 th c.<br />

Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and<br />

national heritage symbol for Armenians.According<br />

to Razmik Panossian, Ani is one of the most visible<br />

and ‘tangible’ symbols of past Armenian greatness<br />

andhenceasourceofpride.<br />

In 1064, a large Seljuk army under Alp<br />

ArslanattackedAni;afterasiegeof25days,they<br />

capturedthecityandslaughtereditspopulation.<br />

An account of the sack and massacres in Ani is<br />

given by the Arab historian Sibt ibn al-Jawzi,<br />

whoquotesaneyewitnesssaying:<br />

“Putting the Persian sword to work, they spared no<br />

one... One could see there the grief and calamity of<br />

everyageofhumankind.Forchildrenwereravished<br />

from the embraces of their mothers and mercilessly<br />

hurled against rocks, while the mothers drenched<br />

them with tears and blood... The city became filled<br />

from one end to the other with bodies of the slain<br />

and[thebodiesoftheslain]becamearoad.[...]The<br />

army entered the city, massacred its inhabitants,<br />

pillagedandburnedit,leavingitinruinsandtaking<br />

prisoner all those who remained alive...The dead<br />

bodies were so many that they blocked the streets;<br />

one could not go anywhere without stepping over<br />

them.Andthenumberofprisonerswasnotlessthan<br />

50,000 souls. I was determined to enter city and see<br />

the destruction with my own eyes. I tried to find a<br />

streetinwhichIwouldnothavetowalkoverthe<br />

corpses;butthatwasimpossible.”<br />

In 1072, the Seljuks sold Ani to the Shaddadids, a<br />

Muslim Kurdish dynasty. The Shaddadids generally<br />

pursued a conciliatory policy towards the city's<br />

overwhelmingly Armenian and Christian<br />

populationandactuallymarriedseveralmembersof<br />

the Bagratid nobility. Whenever the Shaddadid<br />

governance became too intolerant, however, the<br />

population would appeal to the Christian Kingdom<br />

ofGeorgiaforhelp.TheGeorgianscapturedAnifive<br />

timesbetween1124and1209.<br />

The Mongols unsuccessfully besieged Ani in 1226,<br />

but in 1236 they captured and sacked the city,<br />

massacring large numbers of its population. Under<br />

the Mongols the Zakarids continued to rule Ani, as<br />

thevassalsoftheGeorgianmonarch.<br />

Bythe14 th century,thecitywasruledbyasuccession<br />

of local Turkish dynasties, including the Jalayrids<br />

andtheKaraKoyunlu(BlackSheepclan)whomade<br />

Ani their capital. It was ruined by an earthquake in<br />

1319. Tamerlane captured Ani in the 1380s. On his<br />

death the Kara Koyunlu regained control but<br />

transferred their capital to Yerevan. In 1441 the<br />

Armenian Catholicosate did the same. The<br />

PersianSafavidsthenruledAniuntilitbecamepart<br />

of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1579. A small<br />

town remained within its walls at least until the<br />

middle of the seventeenth century, but the site was<br />

entirelyabandonedby1735whenthelastmonksleft<br />

themonasteryintheVirgin'sFortressorKizkale.<br />


All the structures at Ani are constructed using the<br />

localvolcanicbasalt,asortoftufastone.Itiseasily<br />

carvedandcomesinavarietyofvibrantcolors,from<br />

creamy yellow, to rose-red, to jet black. The most<br />

importantsurvivingmonumentsareasfollows.<br />


Also known as Surp Asdvadzadzin (the Church of<br />

the Holy Mother of God), its construction was<br />

startedintheyear989,underKingSmbatII,andwas<br />

only finished in 1001. The design of the cathedral<br />

was the work of Trdat, the most celebrated architect<br />

of medieval Armenia. The cathedral is a domed<br />

basilica (the dome collapsed in 1319). The interior<br />

containsseveralprogressivefeatures(suchastheuse<br />

of pointed arches and clustered piers) that give to it<br />

theappearanceofGothicarchitecture(astylewhich<br />

theAnicathedralpredatesbyseveralcenturies)<br />


There is no inscription giving the date of its<br />

construction,butanedictinGeorgianisdated1218.<br />

The church was referred to as "Georgian". During<br />

this period "Georgian" did not simply mean an<br />

ethnic Georgian, it had a denominational meaning<br />

and would have designated all those in Ani who<br />

professed the Chalcedonian faith, mostly<br />

Armenians. Although the Georgian Church<br />

controlled this church, its congregation would have<br />

mostlybeenArmenians.<br />



This church, finished in 1215, is the best-preserved<br />

monumentatAni.Itwasbuiltduringtheruleofthe<br />

Zakarids and was commissioned by the wealthy<br />

Armenian merchant Tigran Honents. Its plan is of a<br />

typecalledadomedhall.Infrontofitsentranceare<br />

the ruins of a narthex and a small chapel that are<br />

from a slightly later period. The exterior of the<br />

church is spectacularly decorated. Ornate stone<br />

carvings of real and imaginary animals fill the<br />

spandrelsbetweenblindarcadesthatrunsaroundall<br />

four sides of the church. The interior contains an<br />

important and unique series of frescoes cycles that<br />

depict two main themes. In the eastern third of the<br />

church is depicted the Life of Saint Gregory the<br />

Illuminator, in the middle third of the church is<br />

depicted the Life of Christ. Such extensive fresco<br />

cyclesarerarefeaturesinArmenianarchitecture–it<br />

isbelievedthattheseoneswereexecutedbyGeorgian<br />

artists,andthecyclealsoincludesscenesfromthelife<br />

ofSt.Nino,whoconvertedtheGeorgiansto<br />

Christianity. In the narthex and its chapel survive<br />

fragmentary frescoes that are more Byzantine in<br />



This church was completed shortly after the year<br />

1035. It had a unique design: 19-sided externally, 8-<br />

apsed internally, with a huge central dome set upon<br />

a tall drum. It was built by Prince Ablgharib<br />

PahlavidtohouseafragmentoftheTrueCross.The<br />

churchwaslargelyintactuntil1955,whentheentire<br />

easternhalfcollapsedduringastorm<br />



Thissmallbuildingprobablydatesfromthelate10 th<br />

century. It was built as a private chapel for the<br />

Pahlavuni family. Their mausoleum, built in 1040<br />

andnowreducedtoitsfoundations,wasconstructed<br />

against the northern side of the church. The church<br />

hasacentralizedplan,withadomeoveradrum,and<br />

theinteriorhassixexedras.<br />

K<strong>IN</strong>GGAGIK'S<br />


Also known as the Gagikashen, this church was<br />

constructed between the years 1001 and 1005 and<br />

intended to be a recreation of the celebrated<br />

cathedral of Zvartnots at Vagharshapat. Nikolai<br />

Marr uncovered the foundations of this remarkable<br />

building in 1905 and 1906. Before that, all that was<br />

visible on the site was a huge earthen mound. The<br />

designer of the church was the architect Trdat. The<br />

church is known to have collapsed a relatively short<br />

time after its construction and houses were later<br />

constructedontopofitsruins.Trdat'sdesignclosely<br />

followsthatofZvartnotzinitssizeandinitsplan(a<br />

quatrefoil core surrounded by a circular<br />

ambulatory).<br />



The date of its construction is not known, but the<br />

earliestdatedinscriptiononitswallsisfrom1031.It<br />

was founded by the Pahlavuni family and was used<br />

by the archbishops of Ani (many of whom belonged<br />

tothatdynasty).Ithasaplanofatypecalledan<br />

inscribed quatrefoil with corner chambers. Only<br />

fragments remain of the church, but a narthex with<br />

spectacularstonework,builtagainstthesouthsideof<br />

the church, is still partially intact. It dates from the<br />

early 13 th century. A number of other halls, chapels,<br />

and shrines once surrounded this church: Nicholas<br />

Marr excavated their foundations in 1909, but they<br />

arenowmostlydestroyed.<br />


The mosque is named after its presumed founder,<br />

Manuchihr, the first member of the Shaddadid<br />

dynasty that ruled Ani after 1072. The oldest<br />

surviving part of the mosque is its still intact<br />

minaret. It has the Arabic word Bismillah ("In the<br />

nameofGod")inKuficletteringhighonitsnorthern<br />

face. The prayer hall, half of which survives, dates<br />

fromalaterperiod(the12 th or13 th century).In1906<br />

the mosque was partially repaired in order for it to<br />

house a public museum containing objects found<br />

duringNicholasMarr'sexcavations.<br />


At the southern end of Ani is a flat-topped hill once<br />

knownasMidjnaberd(theInnerFortress). Ithasits<br />

own defensive walls that date back to the period<br />

whentheKamsarakandynastyruledAni(7 th century<br />

AD).NicholasMarrexcavatedthecitadelhillin1908<br />

and 1909. He uncovered the extensive ruins of the<br />

palaceoftheBagratidkingsofAnithatoccupiedthe<br />

highestpartofthehill.Alsoinsidethecitadelarethe<br />

visible ruins of three churches and several<br />

unidentified buildings. One of the churches, the<br />

"churchofthepalace"istheoldestsurvivingchurch<br />

in Ani, dating from the 6th or 7th century. Marr<br />

undertook emergency repairs to this church, but<br />

most of it has now collapsed – probably during an<br />

earthquakein1966 .<br />


Alineofwallsthatencircledtheentirecitydefended<br />

Ani. The most powerful defences were along the<br />

northernsideofthecity,theonlypartofthesitenot<br />

protected by rivers or ravines. Here the city was<br />

protectedbyadoublelineofwalls,themuchtaller<br />

inner wall studded by numerous large and closely<br />

spaced semicircular towers. Contemporary<br />

chroniclers wrote that King Smbat (977–989) built<br />

these walls. Later rulers strengthened Smbat's walls<br />

bymakingthemsubstantiallyhigherandthicker,and<br />

byaddingmoretowers.Armenianinscriptionsfrom<br />

the 12 th and 13 th century show that private<br />

individualspaidforsomeofthesenewertowers.The<br />

northern walls had three gateways, known as the<br />

LionGate,theKarsGate,andtheDvinGate(also<br />

knownastheChequer-BoardGatebecauseofapanel<br />

ofredandblackstonesquaresoveritsentrance)<br />


There are many other minor monuments at Ani.<br />

These include a convent known as the Virgins'<br />

chapel; a church used by Chalcedonian Armenians;<br />

the remains of a single-arched bridge over the Arpa<br />

river; the ruins of numerous oil-presses and several<br />

bath houses; the remains of a second mosque with a<br />

collapsedminaret;apalacethatprobablydatesfrom<br />

the 13 th century; the foundations of several other<br />

palaces and smaller residences; the recently<br />

excavatedremainsofseveralstreetslinedwithshops;<br />

etc.<br />


Directly outside of Ani, there was a settlement-zone<br />

carved into the cliffs. It may have served as "urban<br />

sprawl" when Ani grew too large for its city walls.<br />

Today, goats and sheep take advantage of the caves'<br />

cool interiors. One highlight of this part of Ani is a<br />

cave church with frescos on its surviving walls and<br />

ceiling.<br />

AniislistedinUNESCO’sWorldHeritageSites.<br />












Doğubayazıt is the easternmost district of Turkey,<br />

bordering with Iran, at an elevation of 1625 m. The<br />

town is a settlement with a long history and lies<br />

15kmsouthwestofMountArarat.<br />

The area has had a rich history with monuments<br />

dating back to the time of the Kingdom of Urartu<br />

(over 2700 years ago). The Kingdom of Urartu was<br />

centered in modern-day eastern Turkey, southwest<br />

Armenia, and northwestern Iran. Urartu enjoyed<br />

considerable political power in the region in the 9 th<br />

and 8 th centuries BCE. Similar to Assyrian in<br />

language and culture, their capital was Tushpa<br />

(modern-day Van, Turkey). Before the Ottoman<br />

Empire the site was referred to by its Armenian<br />

name Daruynk. In the 4 th century the Sasanians<br />

failedtocapturetheArmenianstrongholdandroyal<br />

treasury at Daruynk. Princes of the Bagratid<br />

dynasty of Armenia resided at Daruynk and rebuilt<br />

the fortress into its present configuration with<br />

multiplebaileysandtowerscarefullyintegratedinto<br />

the ascending rock outcrop. When King Gagik<br />

Arcruni reoccupied the fortress in 922 A.D. it<br />

became the seat of a bishop. It was subsequently<br />

conquered and reconquered by Persians,<br />

Armenians, Byzantines, and Seljuks, all of whom<br />

wouldhaveusedtheplaintorestandrecoupduring<br />

their passages across the mountains. The castle of<br />

Daruynk was repaired many times throughout this<br />

history, although it is now named after the Turkish<br />

warlord Celayırlı Şehzade Bayazıt Han who ordered<br />

oneoftherebuildings(in1374).Ultimately,thetown<br />

was renamed Beyazit itself in the 16 th century.The<br />

widelydispersedvillageofBayazit,wasoriginallyan<br />

Armenian settlement and populated by Kurds in<br />

1930andYazidisfromtheSerhatregion.Butin1930<br />

the Turkish army destroyed it in response to the<br />

AraratRebellion.Anewtownwasbuiltintheplain<br />

below the old site in the 1930s (hence the new name<br />

"Doğubayazıt",whichliterallymeans"EastBeyazıt").<br />


Ishak Pasha Palace, on the Silk Route near the<br />

Iranian frontier, is situated on a high and vast<br />

platform of strategic importance on an area of 7600<br />

squaremeters.<br />

Built over an entire century by generations of the<br />

Pashafamily,theMiddleEastern-inspiredarchesand<br />

domesofthesprawlingpalacehavesurvivedforover<br />

400 years. Sitting near the Iranian border, the<br />

architectural design of the palace is heavily<br />

influencedbyitsneighboringArmenianandIranian<br />

cultures. The palace was outfitted with a dizzying<br />

arrayoffacilitiesandamenitiesincludingabakery,a<br />

mosque, dungeons, and even a harem, all with a<br />

central heating system. It has been decorated with<br />

white and black stones and consists of 366 rooms,<br />

twocourtyards,mosque,tombsandharem.<br />

The landscape around Ishak Pasha Palace is<br />

hauntingly beautiful located in this majestic<br />

mountainous region. This area boasts of several<br />

mountains: Ararat, Little Ararat, Tendürek Dagi,<br />

Kaletepe,Agridagi,andGöllertepe.<br />

AftertheTopkapıPalace,itisthemostfamouspalace<br />

in Turkey and was depicted on the reverse of the<br />


KARS<br />

KarsProvince(Turkish:Karsili,Armenian: Կարսի<br />

նահանգ) is a province of Turkey, located in the<br />

northeasternpartofthecountry.Itsharespartofits<br />

closed border with Armenia. The provincial capital<br />

isthecityofKars.<br />

In ancient times, Kars was part of the province of<br />

AraratintheKingdomofArmenia.Thefirstknown<br />

peoplewerethefollowersofVanand(Վանանդ),for<br />

whom Kars was their main settlement and fortress.<br />

In928,KarsbecamethecapitalofBagratidArmenia.<br />

In968,thecapitalofArmeniawasmovedtoAni,but<br />

Kars remained the capital of the feudal principality<br />

of Vanand. As a result of the Russo-Turkish War of<br />

1877to1878,theprovinceofKarswasincorporated<br />

into the Russian Empire as part of the militarily<br />

administered Kars Oblast and remained so until<br />

1918.<br />

Forashorttime(928-961)Karswasthecapitalofthe<br />

Armenian Bagratid kingdom and it was during this<br />

timethattheCathedral,nowknownastheChurchof<br />

the Apostles, was built. Shortly after the Bagratid<br />

capitalwastransferredtoAni,Karsbecame(in963)<br />

aseparateindependentkingdomknownasVannadthe<br />

Armenian name for the Kars region. This<br />

kingdomwastooutlivethatofAni.<br />

After the Seljuk Turks captured Ani, the last<br />

Armenian king of Kars ceded his city to the<br />

Byzantine Empire in 1064, getting in return the city<br />

of Amasya and lands in northern Cilicia. The<br />

Byzantines were no more successful in defending<br />

KarsthantheywerewithAni,andsoonlostittothe<br />

Turks (in 1071). In 1236 the Mongols occupied the<br />

region. As with other places, they probably gave a<br />

great deal of autonomy to the majority Armenian<br />

population: an Armenian prince is known to have<br />

beengoverningKarsin1284.<br />

ThegradualRussianconquestoftheCaucasusinthe<br />

18 th century, led to an influx of Muslim migrants,<br />

especially Circassians. Kars became a strategic and<br />

heavily fortified border town protecting the Turkish<br />

Empire's eastern frontier and the road to Erzurum.<br />

The Russians occupied Kars in 1828, in 1855 and<br />

againin1877.<br />

AsubstantialpartoftheMuslimpopulationleftafter<br />

1877, choosing not to live under Russian rule. The<br />

Armenians gradually moved into a new district of<br />

European-style buildings built on a grid plan to the<br />

south of the old medieval city, and most of the old<br />

city walls were demolished. There was a large influx<br />

ofArmeniansfromotherpartsofRussiancontrolled<br />

Armenia, as well as Armenians fleeing the<br />

oppressionandmassacresoftheOttomanEmpire.<br />

By 1918 the Turkish army was cutting a swathe of<br />

destruction across the newly declared Republic of<br />

Armenia,capturingKarsinApril1918andreaching<br />

BakuontheCaspianSea.<br />

In November 1920 the Bolsheviks annexed the little<br />

that was left of the Armenian republic. With<br />

Armenia now under Soviet "protection" the Turks<br />

ceased their advance and even withdrew from some<br />

captured territory, including Alexandropol. The<br />

Bolsheviks wanted good relations with Turkey, and<br />

in 1921 they signed the "Treaty of Kars" ceding the<br />


VAN–ANCIENTK<strong>IN</strong>GDOM<br />


Urartu is a geographical region commonly used as<br />

theexonymfortheIronAgekingdomalsoknownby<br />

the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom<br />

of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic<br />

Armenian Highlands (present-day eastern<br />

Anatolia).Thekingdomrosetopowerinthemid-9 th<br />

century BC, but went into gradual decline and was<br />

eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the<br />

early 6 th century BC. The geopolitical region would<br />

re-emerge as Armenia shortly after. The peoples of<br />

Urartu are the earliest identifiable ancestors of the<br />

Armenians. Urartu at its zenith had a profound<br />

culturalinfluenceonitsneighborsreachingasfaras<br />

AsiaandEurope.<br />

ThenameUrartu(Armenian: Ուրարտու;Assyrian:<br />

טָרָרֲא Hebrew: māt Urarṭu; Babylonian: Urashtu;<br />

Ararat) comes from Assyrian sources. Urartu is<br />

cognatewiththeBiblicalArarat,AkkadianUrashtu,<br />

and Armenian Ayrarat. The name Kingdom of Van<br />

(Urartian:Biai,Biainili; Վանի թագավորություն)<br />

isderivedfromtheUrartiantoponymBiainili,which<br />

was probably pronounced as Vanele, and called Van<br />

(Վան) in Old Armenian, hence the names<br />

"KingdomofVan"or"VannicKingdom".<br />

TheKingdomofVanwasdestroyedin590BCandby<br />

the late 6 th century, the Satrapy of Armenia had<br />

replaced it. Little is known of what happened to the<br />

region between the fall of the Kingdom of Van and<br />

the appearance of the Satrapy of Armenia.<br />

According to historian Touraj Daryaee, during the<br />

Armenian rebellion against the Persian king Darius<br />

I in 521 BC, some of the personal and topographic<br />

names attested in connection with Armenia or<br />

Armenians were of Urartian origin, suggesting that<br />

UrartianelementspersistedwithinArmeniaafterits<br />

fall.IntheBehistunInscription(c.522BC),aswellas<br />

theXVInscription(c.486–465BC),refertoArmenia<br />

and Armenians as synonyms of Urartu and<br />

Urartians. The toponym Urartu did not disappear,<br />

however, as the name of the province of Ayrarat in<br />

the center of the Kingdom of Armenia is believed to<br />

beitscontinuum.<br />

AccordingtoHerodotus,theAlarodians(Alarodioi),<br />

presumably a variation of the name Urartian/<br />

Araratian, were part of the 18 th Satrapy of the<br />

AchaemenidEmpireandformedaspecialcontingent<br />

in the grand army of Xerxes I. According to this<br />

theory, the Urartians of the 18 th Satrapy were<br />

subsequentlyabsorbedintotheArmeniannation.<br />

In a study published in 2017, the complete<br />

mitochondrial genomes of 4 ancient skeletons from<br />

Urartu were analyzed alongside other ancient<br />

populations found in modern-day Armenia and<br />

Artsakh spanning 7,800 years. The study shows that<br />

modern-dayArmeniansarethepeoplewhohavethe<br />

leastgeneticdistancefromthoseancientskeletons.<br />

The written language that the kingdom's political<br />

elite used is retroactively referred to as Urartian,<br />

which is attested in numerous cuneiform<br />

inscriptions throughout Armenia and eastern<br />

Turkey. It is unknown what language was spoken by<br />

the peoples of Urartu at the time of the existence of<br />

the Kingdom of Van, but there is evidence of<br />

linguistic contact between the proto-Armenian<br />

language and the Urartian language at an early date<br />

(sometime between the 3rd—2nd millennium BC),<br />




Nemrut or Nemrud (Turkish: Nemrut Dağı;<br />

Kurdish: Çiyayê Nemrûdê‎; Armenian: Նեմրութ<br />

լեռ) is a 2,134 m-high mountain in southeastern<br />

Turkey, notable for the summit where a number of<br />

large statues are erected around what is assumed to<br />

bearoyaltombfromthe1 st c.BC.<br />

Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes<br />

Philorhomaios Philhellen (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίοχος<br />

ὁ Θεὸς Δίκαιος Ἐπιφανὴς Φιλορωμαῖος Φιλέλλην,<br />

meaning"Antiochos,thejust,eminentgod,friendof<br />

Romans and friend of Greeks", c. 86 BC – 31 BC,<br />

ruled70BC–31BC)wasKingoftheGreco-Iranian<br />

KingdomofCommageneandthemostfamousking<br />

of that kingdom. In 1987, Mount Nemrut was<br />

declaredaWorldHeritageSitebyUNESCO .<br />

When the Seleucid Empire was defeated by the<br />

Romansin190BCattheBattleofMagnesiaitbegan<br />

to fall apart and new kingdoms were established on<br />

itsterritorybylocalauthorities.Commagene,oneof<br />

the Seleucid successor states, occupied a land<br />

between the Taurus mountains and the Euphrates.<br />

ThestateofCommagenehadawiderangeof<br />

cultureswhichleftitsleaderfrom62BC–38BC<br />

Antiochus I Theos to carry on a peculiar dynastic<br />

religious program, which included not only Greek<br />

and Iranian deities but Antiochus and his family as<br />

well. This religious program was very possibly an<br />

attempt by Antiochus to unify his multiethnic<br />

kingdom and secure his dynasty's authority.<br />

Antiochussupportedthecultasapropagatorof<br />

happinessandsalvation.<br />


In Nemrut Dagi, opposite the statues of Gods there<br />

arealongrowofpedestals,onwhichstoodthesteles<br />

oftheGreekancestorsofAntiochos.Atarightangle<br />

tothisrowstoodanotherrowofsteles,depictinghis<br />

Orontid and Achaemenid ancestors. From these<br />

steles the ones of Darius and Xerxes are well<br />

preserved.Antiochosexpendedgreatefforttoensure<br />

that everyone was aware that he was related to the<br />

dynasty of the King of Kings, Darius I, by the<br />

marriage of princess Rhodogune to his ancestor<br />

Orontes. The father of Rhodogune was the Persian<br />

king, Artaxerxes. In 401 BC Artaxerxes defeated his<br />

youngerbrother,whotriedtodeposehim.Becauseof<br />

the help Artaxerxes received from Orontes—his<br />

military commander and satrap of Armenia—he<br />

gavehisdaughterinmarriagetohim.<br />

The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native<br />

nameEruandidorYervanduni(Armenian: Երվանդ<br />

ունի), was a hereditary Armeniandynasty and the<br />

rulersofthesuccessorstatetotheIronAgekingdom<br />

of Urartu (Ararat). The Orontids established their<br />

supremacy over Armenia around the time of<br />

the Scythian and Median invasion in the 6 th century<br />

BC.MembersoftheOrontiddynastyruledArmenia<br />

intermittently during the period spanning the 6 th<br />

centuryBCtoatleastthe2 nd century BC, first as<br />

client kings or satraps of<br />

the Median and Achaemenid empires who<br />

established an independent kingdom after the<br />

collapseoftheAchaemenidempire,andlateraskings<br />

of Sophene and Commagene who eventually<br />


APHRODISIAS–CARIA,<strong>TURKEY</strong><br />

AphrodisiasislocatedinsouthwesternTurkey,inthe<br />

fertile valley formed by the Morsynus River, in the<br />

ancient region of Caria and was founded as a citystate<br />

in the early 2 nd century BC. Because the city<br />

sharedacloseinterestinthegoddessAphroditewith<br />

Sulla, Julius Caesar and the emperor Augustus,<br />

Aphrodisias came to have a close relationship with<br />

Rome. It obtained a privileged ‘tax-free’ political<br />

status from the Roman senate, and developed a<br />

strong artistic, sculptural tradition during the<br />

ImperialPeriod.<br />

The sanctuary at Aphrodisias had a distinctive cult<br />

statueofAphroditewhichdefinedthecity’sidentity.<br />

TheAphroditeofAphrodisiascombinedaspectsofa<br />

local Anatolian, archaic fertility goddess with those<br />

oftheHellenicAphrodite,goddessofloveand<br />

beauty.<br />

The proximity of the marble quarries to the city<br />

was a major reason that Aphrodisias became an<br />

outstanding high-quality production centre for<br />

marble sculpture. Sculptors from the city were<br />

famousthroughouttheRomanEmpire.Theywere<br />

well-known for virtuoso portrait sculpture and<br />

Hellenistic-style statues of gods and Dionysian<br />

figures. In late antiquity (4 th -6 th centuries AD),<br />

Aphrodisian sculptors were in great demand for<br />

marble portrait busts and statues of emperors,<br />

governors and philosophers in the major centers<br />

oftheempire–forexample,atSardis,<br />

Stratonikeia, Laodikeia, Constantinople and<br />

Rome. In this period they were the best carvers of<br />

marblestatuesoftheirday.<br />



Nero supports the slumping figure of Armenia<br />

between his wide-striding legs, holding her by her<br />

upper arms. She collapses, sitting back on her left<br />

heel, her right leg stretched out in front, the foot<br />

bracedagainst,itwouldhaveseemed,thesideofthe<br />

columnframingthepanel<br />

Nerowearsashortcloakfastenedwitharound<br />

broochandabaldriccarryinganemptyscabbard.<br />

Armenia wears short, plain boots with ribbon-like<br />

ties shown on the left boot, a cloak fastened on the<br />

rightshoulder,andsoft'Phrygian'capwithsoft,freestanding<br />

peak, modelled carefully in the round. She<br />

has long, wavy hair, untied and reaching over her<br />

shoulders. Her body is naked and well realized in a<br />

compact design. The quiver and bow, normal for<br />

Armenia iconography, are shown in lower relief on<br />

thebackground,leaningagainstthesideofthepanel.<br />

Iconographically, the evocation is clearly of Achilles<br />

and Penthesilea: the striding hero with cloak and<br />

baldricsupportingtheeastern/Amazonqueen.<br />

The statue symbolizes the support of the Roman<br />

Emperor Nero to the King Tiridates the III of<br />

Armenia. In 63 AD after many defeats with the<br />

Parthians, King Tigranes resigned and the throne<br />

passed on to the Prince of Tiridates, the founder of<br />

the Arsacides dynasty of Armenia. His coronation<br />

took place in Rome by Nero himself. Returning to<br />

Armenia and having considerable help from the<br />

Romans,herebuiltthedestroyedcapitalofArmenia<br />


ClaudiusandBritannia<br />



Church of St Stepanos


<strong>ARMENIAN</strong> MONASTIC ENSEMBLES<br />

OF<strong>IRAN</strong><br />

TheWestAzerbaijanProvinceinnorthwestIranhas<br />

a fairly sizable Christian Armenian population, so<br />

the number of churches in this area is no surprise.<br />

The three monastic ensembles, St. Thaddeus (the<br />

oldest dating back to the 7 th century), St. Stepanos,<br />

and the Chapel of Dzordzor, were listed with<br />

UNESCO in 2008. Their significance lies in their<br />

architectural representation of the exchanges<br />

between the regional cultures including Byzantine,<br />

Orthodox, and Persian. The monasteries have<br />

withstood numerous calamities, both human and<br />

natural, throughout the centuries. St. Stepanos,<br />

arguablythemostwell-knownofthethree,standsin<br />

acanyonpastthetwistsandbendsoftheArasRiver<br />

on the Azerbaijan border. These churches are still<br />

placesofpilgrimagefortheArmeniancommunity.<br />

MONASTERY OF SA<strong>IN</strong>T THADDEUS<br />


Legendhasitthatachurchdedicatedtohimwasfirst<br />

builtonthepresentsiteinAD68.Itwasextensively<br />

rebuiltafteranearthquakedamageditin1319.Some<br />

ofthepartssurroundingthealtardatefromthe7 th c.<br />

Muchofthepresentstructuredatesfrom1811,when<br />

theQajarprinceAbbasMirzaaidedrenovationsand<br />

repairs.<br />

According to Armenian Church tradition, the<br />

Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew traveled<br />

through Armenia in AD 45 to preach the word of<br />

God,wheremanypeoplewereconvertedand<br />

numerous secret Christian communities were<br />

established.<br />

Armenians hold that Qara Kelisa is the world's first<br />

church and was constructed in 68 BC by one of the<br />

apostles of Jesus, Saint Thaddeus, who traveled to<br />

Armenia, then part of the Persian Empire, to preach<br />

theteachingsofChrist.<br />

The church consists of two parts: a black structure<br />

(the original structure was black, and Qara means<br />

black in Turkish), and a white structure, the main<br />

church, which was added to the original building’s<br />

westernwingin1810.<br />


A small, historic Armenian church building in a<br />

mountainvalleywestofJolfa,neartheArasRiverin<br />

East Azerbaijan province, built in the 16 th century<br />

andrebuiltin1836.<br />


Saint Stepanos Monastery is the second important<br />

Armenian monastery in Iran after St Thaddeus<br />

Monastery. The monastery was built in 9 th century<br />

AD,butitwasseriouslydamagedbyearthquake. So,<br />

it was refurbished in Safavid period. This monastery<br />

is respected by all Christians and almost all other<br />

religions. However, it actually belongs to Gregory<br />

Christians (Followers of Gregory the Illuminator)<br />

inhabitinginArmenia.<br />

The church's architectural style is a mixture of<br />

Urartan, Parthian, Greek, and Roman styles that<br />

came to be known as Armenian subsequent to the<br />

construction of the fantastic structures of<br />

Echmiadzin, Thaddeus, Akhtmar, and indeed<br />

Stephanos. Thischurch,whichhasfounditsplacein<br />

the hearts of Christians throughout the world and is<br />

visited annually by hundreds of Iranian and foreign<br />

tourists, is located in the abandoned village of Dare<br />


MonasteryofSaintThaddeus<br />




<strong>ARMENIAN</strong> <strong>HERITAGE</strong> <strong>SITES</strong><br />

<strong>TURKEY</strong>&<strong>IRAN</strong><br />

<strong>TURKEY</strong>2016-2017/<strong>IRAN</strong>2019<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY&EDIT<strong>IN</strong>G<br />

Dimitra Stasinopoulou

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