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Mysteries of Armenia

The Cyclopean Citadel

055_17_kladka011The formation of civil architecture was accompanied by drastic changes in people’s world outlook. Individual communities that realized their self-sufficiency felt the need for an autonomous or sovereign house-keeping. This was reflected in the designation of distinct borders around the site of the ancient settlement. Since there were no natural limits (gorges, mountain ranges, water-ways, etc), they erected a stone wall along the whole perimeter of the settlement. Such constructions were called cyclopean because of the rough or rock-face stones from which they were made. The huge clods were clamped up with egg-lime or clay mortar, while the gaps between them were filled with smaller stones. Armenia is extremely rich in such monuments. The most ancient extant monuments date from the 5th – 4th millennium BC. However, it is hardly possible to assume that there are no older constructions. Whole complexes of cyclopean type lie on the western shore of Lake Sevan and on the Shirak plateau. The ruins of fortress walls can also be found in the foothill of the Ararat Valley and on the adjacent territories. Metsamor hill is situated 30 km west from Yerevan. It occupies a territory of about 30 hectares and is famous for its numerous alternate cultural layers. More than six thousand years ago, the locals erected a stone citadel, thus establishing the borders of the settlement and marking their sovereignty. The walls of the citadel are in rather good conditions now. Remarkably enough, the settlement existed on the hill up to the 18th century.

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