Erebuni Fortress, Yerevan

The history of ancient Yerevan begins with Arin-Berd hill in the southeast part of Yerevan where archeologists restored the ruins of Erebuni, the ancient fortress, which gave city its life. Until the first half of the 20 th century nobody had known about Erebuni. It was only in 1950 that during Arin-Berd prospecting works it was found out it had been hiding 100 hectares of the ancient city structures covered with a thick layer of alluvial dirt. Almost in the centre of this city the powerful citadel towers. Besides, in the mid-20 th century they found cuneiform inscription by Argishti I which turned out to be the document testifying of the fortified city Erebuni construction in 782 BC.

Historians found out that the citadel of ancient Urartu, Erebuni, was the first major military strategic centre of the country on Ararat plain. The fortress was surrounded by three rows of powerful walls and was an architectural complex with a palace, religious and household structures. The northwest side facing Ararat valley was occupied by the tsar palace and the temple. The southeastern and southwestern parts of the citadel were allocated for household structures. The square was in the centre. The palace had two court yards surrounded by big halls of gala premises, the tsar's rooms and premises for servants. The first of the court yards with a colonnade and a gallery was for receptions; it was adjoined by Susi palace temple an altar. The majority of the citadel structures were built from mud bricks. The surviving sectors of the walls testify to the fact that during that faraway epoch they stood 12 m tall. The walls were plastered from both sides.

The facades were painted blue. The remains of colorful frescos prove that people in Urartu richly painted the walls with multi-figured compositions and floral ornaments. Along with the palace the important place in the citadel was played by the temple of Haldi – the main god in the triad of Urartu pantheon: Haldi, Teisheba, and Shivini.

Of the former magnificence testify the amazing frescos depicting various themes: e.g. hunting, agricultural activities. The walls of the temples were decorated with the frescos showing the scenes of sacrifice and processions of the gods. The frescos are priceless samples of art of the ancient state of Urartu.