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Mysteries of Armenia

The Cave of Revival

100_10611The perception of Armenia as a source nourishing the Prosoasiatic region strengthened with the start of the Bronze Age, when trade relations with the countries of the Middle East became very tight. The territory that supplied Mesopotamia not only with water, but also with metal, wood, dyestuff, building and jobbing stone, was now regarded as legendary. This was reflected in the first legends of life-giving water, as well as in epic stories about heroes traveling to the mysterious country behind seven silver mountains in search of immortality. In the meantime, the desire to invade it grew steadily in the rulers of Mesopotamia. In the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, the military campaigns of Sargon of Akkad and Naramsin were depicted in the Armenian folklore as legends about the Armenian leader Hayk and the Babylonian tyrant Bel.

The myth of Ara Geghetsik (Ara the Beautiful) and the Assyrian Queen Semiramis (Shamiram in Armenian) is a later echo of such collisions. Inflamed with passion to the Armenian King, the Queen confesses her love. Ara rejects her, and the insulted queen declares war. The King dies in battle, but some time later resuscitates in the cave. The Armenian-Assyrian battlefield is 30 km north from Yerevan, on the foothills of Mt Ara. The bay shaped on its slope has an area of about 20 sq m and presents a cave with typical development of accumulative processes. The population of adjacent territories, however, still believes in the magic power of the water that accumulates here, and keeps calling it live-giving. Yet, for ages infertile women have been coming to this bay to worship the great god of dying and reviving Nature, Ara.

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