Erebuni Fortress also known as Arin Berd, is an Urartian fortified city, located in Yerevan, Armenia. It is 1,017 metres (3,337 ft) above sea level. It was one of several fortresses built along the northern Urartian border and was one of the most important political, economic and cultural centers of the vast kingdom. The name Yerevan itself is derived from Erebuni.
On an inscription found at Karmir Blur, the verb erebu-ni is used in the sense of "to seize, pillage, steal, or kidnap" followed by a changing direct object. Scholars have conjectured that the word, as an unchanging direct object, may also mean "to take" or "to capture" and thus believe that the Erebuni at the time of its founding meant "capture", "conquest", or "victory." The Circassian folklorist Amjad Jaimoukha gives an alternative etymology,however: eri (referring to the Èrs, a hypothetical people with no references in any historical record) + buni. According to Jamoukha, buni comes from the Nakh root which spawned the Chechen word bun meaning shelter or cabin; the root however simply means "lair" or "shelter" and has an Indo-European root. Chechen "bun" initially derives from the Armenian word buyn (բույն) for "nest" or "lair", from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeuH-no-, from *bʰeuH- (“to be; to grow”). Cognates include Sanskrit भुवन (bhúvana, "world"), Albanian bun ("shepherd's hut") and Middle Persian بن bun ("bottom"). It may have spawned the word van in Armenian (a language with a strong Urartian substratum), which similarly means shelter. Van as a root is also present in numerous other placenames in historical Armenia, including the city Van, Lake Sevan, and Nakhichevan, so it is probable that the van in Yerevan is another direct translation of the root. Jaimoukha states furthermore that the name of the Èr also serves as the root for the Arax valley (the Erashki gorge) and for the Medieval Georgian name used in the Georgian Chronicles for Lake Sevan- "Lake Ereta". Jamoukha's theories are not widely accepted by any mainstream linguists, anthropologists, or historians.
Argishti left a similar inscription at the Urartian capital of Tushpa (current-day Van) as well, stating that he brought 6,600 prisoners of war from Khate and Tsupani to populate his new city. Similar to other Urartian cities of the time, it was built on a triangular plan on top of a hill and ensconced by 10-to-12-metre (33 to 39 ft) high ramparts. Behind them, the buildings were separated by central and inner walls. The walls were built from a variety of materials, including basalt, tuff, wood and adobe.Argishti constructed a grand palace here and excavations conducted in the area have revealed that other notable buildings included a colonnaded royal assembly hall, a temple dedicated to Khaldi, a citadel, where the garrison resided, living quarters, dormitories and storerooms. The inner walls were richly decorated with murals and other wall paintings, displaying religious and secular scenes. Successive Urartian kings made Erebuni their place of residence during their military campaigns against northern invaders and continued construction work to build up the fortress defences Kings Sarduri II and Rusa I also utilized Erebuni as a staging site for new campaigns of conquest directed towards the north. In the early sixth century the Urartian state, under constant foreign invasion, collapsed. The region soon fell under the control of the Achaemenian Empire. The strategic position that Erebuni occupied did not diminish, however, becoming an important center of the satrapy of Armenia. Despite numerous invasions by successive foreign powers, the city was never truly abandoned and was continually inhabited over the following centuries, eventually branching out to become the city of Yerevan. Erebuni's close affinity to Yerevan was celebrated in a splendid festival held in September 1968, commemorating Erebuni's 2,750th birthday.
Photo By: Hatis Tour
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