Zorats Karer: Armenian Stonehang
“The first thing I saw in Armenia was stone; and what I took away when I left was a memory of stone.”
If you ask someone, who has been in Armenia, how he will describe it, you will definitely listen that it is a mountainous country famous for its rocks, canyons and lots of stones.
During your visit to Armenia, it is impossible not to notice numerous stones scattered everywhere. Thus, it is no wonder why this country is called ‘’Land of stones’’.
But there is a special place in Armenia’s southern province which is called ZoratsKarer stone formation. First of all, you should know that it is a site which has been inhabited numerous times across millennia, from prehistoric to medieval civilizations. But everything is not so clear. There are a lot of controversies connected to this place.
It is supposed that complex ZoratsKarer was built in 6th millennium BC and served as an observatory. That’s why it is described as an Armenian Stonehenge.
The first investigation which garnered international attention to the complex was that of Soviet archaeologist OnnikKhnkikyan, who claimed in 1984 that the 223 megalithic stones in the complex may have been used, not for animal husbandry, but instead for prehistoric stargazing. He believed the holes on the stones, which are two inches in diameter and run up to twenty inches deep, may have been used as early telescopes for looking out into the distance or at the sky.
Later the group of astrophysicists observed the position of the holes according to an astronomical calendar and established that several of them aligned with the sunrise and sunset on the day of the summer solstice.
Although not all the scientists share the opinion, that the monument is an ancient observatory. It is also suggested the possibility that the place served as a refuge during times of war in the Hellenistic period.
Despite all the controversy and whatever you end up deciding to call it, the monument itself is stunning and located in an area of Armenia well-endowed with natural beauty, making it an attractive journey for many tourists each year. In many ways, ZoratsKarer is a testament to the elusive nature of archaeology, and it’s perhaps the case that the mystery isand will remainpart of its appeal.
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