Erebuni excavation

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Erebuni 7: Column hall. The Entrance to the Citadel. Trap-Wall, Gate to the Citadel. Argishti Cuneiform Stone. Large hall of Columns

 The Entrance to the Citadel

The main entrance to the fortress led to the central yard of the citadel and was located at the southern site of the hill. . The entrance was through two gates sharing space with garrison quarters. The path leading to the gates, starting at the outer porch with six wooden columns and a wide platform (1), was built with rising steps that led to another step way between the gates. This design added security, making the ascent to the citadel difficult for riders and military wagons.

The Outer Portico-Post (1) with its rich mural decorations immediately attracts your attention. It was both a checkpoint and a reception area were ambassadors and other high-ranking officials were greeted.

Trap-Wall, Gate to the Citadel

The main and only gate into the citadel was built with three layers of walls with corridors and checkpoints between them and was an important part of Erebuni’s defense. Its ingenuous construction created a trap for the enemy, guarded by sentries that could spot and stop attackers before they entered the compound.

Argishti Cuneiform Stone 

This stone, sometimes called the citadel's “Passport” is located on your left as you ascend into the citadel. It reads:

"By the grace of the God Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, built this mighty stronghold and proclaimed it Erebuni for the greatness of Biainili (Urartu) and to instill fear among the enemy countries. Argishti says: The land was a desert, great works I accomplished upon it. By the will of Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, is a mighty king, king of Biainili land, and ruler of Tushpa city."

The main entrance leads to the Central Square (5) connecting the three main parts of the citadel. This is where Argishti's personal guards and the fortress garrison conducted military training and where various ceremonies were held.

Large Hall of Columns (6)

One of the most impressive structures overlooking the central courtyard was this once gigantic hall with five wooden columns. As a result of several reconstructions, most probably during the Achaemenid (Old Persian) period, it was turned into a vessel room (15).

Four of five original wooden column bases survive, pointing to the existence of a pre-Achaeminid Hall. Each base has a one-line cuneiform inscription: “Argishti, Son of Menua, built this house”. Other finds show that the hall was once richly decorated with murals depicting scenes of hunting, plowing and cattle breeding separated by horizontal lines with elaborate floral and geometric patterns.


Original text edited by Erebuni Historical and Archaeological Museum-Preserve and the Armenian National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS-ARMENIA).