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Wednesday, 31-Jan-2007 12:07 Email | Share | Bookmark
Armenia - Part 6 :Fotos by Dr Siamak J

Shah Abbas I
Shah Abbas I
The territory of Yerevan was settled by humans since the fourth millemium BC, fortified settlements from the Bronze Age include Shengavit, Karmir Blur, Karmir Berd and Berdadzor. Archaeological evidence indicates that an Urartian military fortress called Erebuni (Էրեբունի) was founded in 782 BC by the orders of King Argishtis I at the site of current-day Yerevan, to serve as a fort/citadel guarding against attacks from the north Caucasus. Yerevan is thus one of the most ancient cities in the world. During the height of Urartian power, irrigation canals and an artificial reservoir were built on Yerevan's territory.Between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, Yerevan was one of the main centers of the Armenian satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire. In 585 BC, the fortress of Teishebaini (Karmir Blur), thirty miles to the north of Yerevan, was destroyed by the Scythians.

Due to the absence of historical data, the timespan between fourth century BC and third century AD is known as the Yerevan Dark Ages. The first church in Yerevan, the church of St. Peter and Paul, was built in the fifth century. It collapsed in 1931.
In 658 AD, Yerevan was conquered, during the height of Arab invasions. Since then the site has been strategically important as a crossroads for the caravan routes passing between Europe and India. It has been known as "Yerevan" since at least the seventh century AD.

Between the ninth and eleventh centuries, Yerevan was a secure part of the Armenian Bagratuni Kingdom, before being overrun by Seljuks. The city was seized and pillaged by Tamerlane in 1387 and subsequently became an administrative center of the Ilkhanate.

Due to its strategic significance, Yerevan was constantly fought over and passed back and forth between the dominion of Persia and the Ottomans. At the height of the Turkish-Persian wars, the city changed hands fourteen times between 1513 and 1737. In 1604, under the order of Shah Abbas I, tens of thousands of Armenians (including citizens of Yerevan) were deported to Persia. As a consequence, Yerevan's population became 80 percent Muslim and 20 percent native Armenian.[3]

The Ottomans, Safavids and Ilkhanids all maintained a mint in Yerevan.

During the 1670s, the Frenchman Jean Chardin visited Yerevan and gave a description of the city in his Travels of Cavalier Chardin in Transcaucasia in 1672-1673. On June 7, 1679, a devastating earthquake razed the city to the ground.

Armenia is not a foreign country for us (Iranian), for it was part of Iran that through ignominious Turkamanchai Treaty separated from our home land.
Iranian people accept Armenia as part of their society. Armenians are creative, and play the key role in industrial sections. Maybe it’s interesting for you to know that they (Armenian) played an important role in Iran’s history and civilization. In ancient Iran they were called Orartoes that had brilliant civilization during the history.
Orartoes were creative, too. As we can refer to archaeological founding, their notable and eminent ability were on constructing castles and towers or citadels. Entrance of Arian tribes from south Russia to Caucasia region and Iran Plateau, Orartoes (Armenians) socialized with Iranian local tribes (which during the next civilization was called Iran), and played the key role in civilization.
It’s better to mention that, as they were skilled in constructing castles and towers, they had a fundamental role in Persepolis construction. You can see the Orartoes engraves on the eastern stairs of Apadana Palace in Takht-e Jamshi.
Strategic location of Armenia during the history influenced and caused many wars between Persian Empire and Rome Empire. During Parthian era, Orartoes religion was Zoroasterian like other parts of Iran. In Sasanid era not only Christianity was not popular in west world and Rome Empire, but also they(the governments) were against it, Orartoes were one of the first nations who accepted Christianity and freely obeyed their religious rules; so this is the cause of the existence many historical churches in northwest of Iran and Armenia.
Armenia were occupied by Arabs (during Arabs attack to Iran), but they kept their religion.
In Safavid dynasty, as Armenian were creative, but were invaded by Ottomans, King Abbas the Great made them to migrate to central Plateau of Iran in order to be safe against Ottoman’s aggression and also spread their knowledge and culture to other parts of Iran.
About 5 months ago, in my trip to Isfahan, I showed you the magnificent Vank Church which represents the most splendid civilization of Armenians. The museum near the church was more interesting for me, because it was documented and I carefully read those documents; but unfortunately I didn’t allow taking photos. In those documents I noticed that Armenian in Safavid Era, which was a Muslim government, had rights to own their properties (You can see their documents in that Museum), and nobody could encroach (overreach) the Armenian properties.
So this shows that my country, Iran, is the cradle of Love, Kindness, Fraternity, Equality, and Civilization.
Nowadays on the streets of Tehran, we can face with many Armenians who talk in their mother tongue language. They even can produce their special Sausage and Salami (Kielbasa). As you know pork and boar meat are tainted and defiled in Muslim’s religion, but Armenians are allowed to produce their special meat products by observing the rules of hygiene (SAKO Factory); but they can’t sell their products to Muslims.
Armenians are freely and independently live in Azerbayjan’s cities in Iran; nobody bothers them and nobody let him/herself to make any religious trouble for them. In north of Tehran they have a big Stadium which is called Ararat and it is specialized for Armenian youths to entertain freely there.
Armenians have two representatives in the Majles( Parliament) of Iran. They can graduate in the high degrees at Iran’s universities.
During Iran-Iraq war, many Armenians participated in that imposed war and tendered many Martyrs to Iran.
But, on opposing, at late nineteenth century and beginning of twentieth century, Turkey government on east part of their country, which Armenian settled, obliged them to immigrate to deserts of Syria, in order to eliminate their existence. I read many books about this special and particular topic. The peak (climax) of their massacres (Ottomans massacre Armenians) was in 1915. Unfortunately, Ottoman’s Army not only raped Armenian women, but also massacred them and graved them in the mass graves.
Nowadays there aren’t any Armenians in the east part of Turkey, for the Ottoman’s offensiveness (crimes).

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