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Mysteries of Armenia

The Nesting-Place

044_12A few thousand years ago the inhabitants of the Armenian plateau hacked through the mountains whole complexes relating to the messenger’s cult. From olden days the cave city around the village of Khnatsakh had been regarded as the patrimony of the first pagan priests, the augurs, who foretold the future by crows’ flight. Even in the Akkad exposition of the epos about Gilgamesh, Utnapishti, tossing about in search of the shore, sets the crow out of the Ark hoping “not to see it ever return again”. The folklore of the prehistoric epoch only allowed silent communication of good news. Utnapishti’s messenger will simply not return, thus heralding that land is close. Another version holds that the famous expression as mute as a mountain traces back to the tradition of the Armenian Crow stone. In the biblical description of the cataclysm the bird’s behavior undergoes certain transformation. As is the case in the Sumer version, it does not come back, which is already a bad sign. Although being regarded as a herald of misfortune in Greece as well, the crow however preserves its prophetic status. It is in the retinue of the gods of the first generation: Kronos, Hera, Apollo and Athena. In the European tradition the black-winged crow is associated with being well-off. It possesses untold riches and has the ability to find them, as well as guards treasures hidden in the land or in the mountains. In medieval times, people believed that indescribable wealth of gold, silver and precious stones was kept in the crow’s nest. As though gathering it, the bird gilded its head and tail. In the Ancient East people stuck to a diametrically opposite viewpoint. They associated the discovery of the mysterious gates and the climb up the Crow’s stairs with a winged message and transfiguration. The panoramic view of the Knatsakh complex demonstrates it clearly enough.

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