|The fortress-museum Erebuni|
The fortress Erebuni that was built on the hill Arin Berd is situated in the south-east of the City of Yerevan. It is the first largest Urartian military-strategic center, which occupied the territory of Aza land of Ararat valley.
Until the first half of the 20th century the territory of Erebuni was not known. Only in 1950 during the exploration of Arin Berd monument, a constructing inscription of Argishti I was found. After the decipher it turned out to be the confirmation of building of Erebuni fortress. The inscription says: “To (God) Haldie, the Lord, this house, did Argishti, son of Menua, built this splendid fortress and named it Erebuni, Strength to Biainili (country), Obedience to enemy (country). With the greatness of Haldie (God), Argishti, son Menua, powerful king, king Biainili (country), ruler of Tushpa City”.
The fortress was founded in 782 BC by the king Argishti I.
As it is illustrated in the inscription, Yerevan used to be called Erebuni, which later transferred into Irpuni, Erivuni, Erivan and Yerevan.
The Erebuni citadel is a unique architectural complex with religious and economic structures, which are situated on three sides of Central Square. On the left of the entrance there is the temple of God Haldie, on the right there are economic structures and grain storehouses, in the front of the temple there is the palace complex with pillar courtyard and separate temple (Susi), dedicated to God Ivarsha.
The citadel is surrounded with tall and thick fortifications, which form three rows at the entrance. The magnificence if inner adornments of the palace and the temple is indicated by the beautiful and opulent mural paintings, which have cult and secular character, which scenes of hunting and farming and geometrical and vegetal ornaments. The frescoes are considered to be exceptional and valuable patterns of Urartian art.
A century later after the foundation of Erebuni, King Rusa II built the city of Teishebaini (to God Teisheba) in the Ararat valley, which became a large economic center. Many objects that had been made in Erebuni were taken there. These objects are currently displayed in Erebuni Museum.
Since the 6th century BC after the fall of Urartian State Erebuni has persisted from early Armenian to Hellenic periods. This is testified by numerous archeological material as well as coins of Miletus and coins of Emperor Augustus, three silver rythons and urn.
During the Acadian reign, some Urartian buildings of Arin Berd were reconstructed and the temple of God Haldie changed into multi-pillar hall. The temple Sisi and pillar courtyard were also reconstructed, fundamentally changing their plans. This reconstruction once again implies that Erebuni further existed as an important administrative center in Ararat valley.
In October 1968 on 2750th anniversary of Yerevan foundation Erebuni Museum was built on the foot of citadel, where precious pattern, objects of cult and practical importance of Urartian culture are exhibited.