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Yerevan, a city older than Rome

Yerevan, the beautiful "rose-colored" capital of the Republic of Armenia is reputedly one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities founded in 782 BC.

Yerevan is 29 years older than Rome and has about the same age as Babylon, Nineveh and Persepolis, but unlike them it has become one of prosperous cities of the 21st century.

...and Yerevan has a passport to prove it!

In 2020 we are commemorating Yerevan's 2802nd anniversary.

But how do we know the age of Yerevan?

The birthplace of modern city of Yerevan is considered to be the Fortress of Erebuni on a hill in Yerevan excavated in 1952 (Erebuni Fortress in the list of 9 oldest fortresses in the world and the name Erebuni later transformed into Irpuni, Erivuni, Erivan and Yerevan).

A cuneiform inscription was discovered on the hill dedicated to the city's foundation which was carved during the reign of Araratian (Urartian) King Argishti I (r. ca. 785–753 BC). Two other identical inscriptions have been found at the royal citadel of Erebuni. The inscription reads:

"By the greatness of the God Khaldi (*God of Earth), me, Argishti, son of Menua built this mighty stronghold and named it Erebuni for the glory of Biainili (Urartu) and to the fear of its enemies. Argishti says: The land was a desert, before the great works I accomplished upon it. By the greatness of Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, is a mighty king, king of Biainili, and ruler of Tushpa."

There is no date mentioned in the inscription above! Then how do we still know the age of Yerevan?

The same king, Argishti I, left another inscription in another fortress on a huge rock in the capital of his kingdom (Tushpa city) mentioning his great deeds in a chronological order. It says "on the 5th year of his tenure Argishti I built the Fortress of Erebuni".

Below is the picture of the inscription left by the king in Tushpa city.

Tushpa or Tosp (Armenian: Տոսպ ) is an ancient city, the capital of the ancient Armenian Kingdom of Van (Urartu) in its heyday. Tosp was located on the shore of Lake Van (now in Turkey). The existence of the Kingdom of Van was documented since the 13th century BC. The state ceased to exist in the 6th century BC.

The Kingdom of Van, occupying the territory of the Armenian Highlands (modern Armenia, Eastern Turkey, Northwestern Iran, and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan), has been in leading positions among the states of the region.

The history of the Kingdom of Van is very interesting as it was quite developed for its time.

Erebuni Fortress and its archaeological museum are among the most important sites to visit in Yerevan.

Forbes magazine has included Erebuni Fortress in the list of 9 oldest fortresses in the world.

"It should be reminded that Erebuni Fortress was built in the prospering times of the state of Urartu - in 782 BC. Despite the popular belief, the oldest castles in the world can be found not in Europe but in Asia and the Caucasus," the publication writes.

In the list of the oldest fortresses in the world are also included the ruins of the walls of Asander in Crimea, Rurik fortress in Old Ladoga, the eponymous castle in the city of Aleppo, Koloa in Hanoi, etc.


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