Return Home

Mysteries of Armenia

Open Sesame

100_1718_vorota_iznutriThe plateau that forms the southern foothills of the Aragats volcanic massif startles with its countless quaint monuments. The period of their origin varies greatly in different historic sources, ranging from eight to five thousand years ago. Several cave complexes lie on the slopes above the Ararat Valley, the most famous one being the grotto with seven gates. This monument consists of seven alternate halls stretching along a single corridor. Seven stone doors used to lead to each of those halls. Although the gates did not survive after severe landslides, they can still be found in the adjacent cave complexes.

The height of the extant gates is about half meter, so it is only possible to get inside the cave bending down. The technology of building is astonishing by itself. The ease with which the heavy flat monolith opens is accounted for its axis location on a sliding stone joint which secures the rotation. It is one of the oldest methods of using a stone wheel for building purposes. Taking into consideration the fact that the first samples of the wheel in Armenia date from the 3rd century BC (the clay model from Arich), many specialists contend that the Udjan gate is about five thousand years old. Legend has it that the caves were plundered during the Arabs’ invasion into Armenia in the 7th – 8th centuries. It is believed that it was right here that the Arabs accidentally came across the magic gates, which resulted in the appearance of the corresponding plots of The Arabian Nights.

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Leave a Response