Agarak Ancient Settlement
Situated 30 minutes west of Agarak lies one of Armenia’s most ancient, and unique, archaeological sites. Originally settled nearly 5,000 years ago (29th-27th centuries B.C.), early people of the Araksian culture utilized a massive, and relatively flat-topped rock face and began carving living spaces and ritual complexes. The result turned the natural landscape into a huge cultural monument. The exact use and extent is still very much unknown, however. Only excavated just over 20 years ago, more findings are constantly being discovered for this ancient period of Armenia.
One of the most unique features of Agarak are the rock-cut tombs. Dating probably to the Van Kingdom in the 8th century BC, they were large and contained numerous remainders of pottery and other artifacts. In addition, at the top of the large rock, dozens are carvings are scattered about, mostly in circular or rectangular shapes, leading scholars to believe it was for ritual purposes.
Approximately 10 kilometers west of Ashtarak, the largest city of Aragatsotn Province in Armenia.
Originally First settled approximately 5,000 years during the Araksian culture, and subsequently used by various peoples over the next few millennia.
The original purpose is debated, though the general consensus is that it was either a settlement for living or a place for religious rituals.
The site was rediscovered at the turn of the 21st century and is still actively researched. Visitors are welcome to explore the site as well. At present (2023) the site is free and contains minimal information.
To be honest, at first glance was somewhat disappointing. As we pulled our vehicle next to the complex, the landscape appears quite normal and devoid of any human touch. Closer inspection however revealed the level of their craftsmanship for such an early age. Scant information is given, so without a guide we were left to wander around and discover on our own anything interesting. By far the most exciting was when we found a small opening in the ground, which I jumped down into, leading to a rock-carved tomb. A real sense of discovery, even though it has already been properly documented and removed of artefacts. I would love to come back for a second visit and explore more in depth this cultural treasure.