Karahundj

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Karhundj 7: The Name. Is it Armenia's Stonehenge?.

The Name

The original name is unknown, the ancient inhabitants leaving no written texts behind. For as long as anyone could remember the site was called "Ghoshun Dash", a Turkish name meaning " Stone Army ", probably because the complex looks like an army of soldiers when seen from a distance. In the 1980s the Turkish name was translated literally into Armenian as "Zorats Kar". The name “Karahundj” was given by astrophysicist Elma Parsamian who noticed the similarity between the name of a nearby village named Karahundj and a famous monument in England which has also been identified with ancient astronomy.

The word 'Karahundj' is intriguing; it is a complex word, made up of two sounds or words: 'Kara' (of stone) and 'hundj', the root meaning of which is unknown, just as the “henge” in Stonehenge also has no known root meaning. It may be a variant of “pundj” which means bouquet (hence “Stone bouquet”, or “Stone collection”).

The interchangeable use of Karahundj and Stonehenge has been widely used by some to describe the site's name, some even calling it “Armenia's Stonehenge”.

Is it Armenia's Stonehenge?

Most people know of England's Stonehenge, but there are thousands of other henges in the world, most prominently in Europe (particularly Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and France Brittany, while henges can be found as far north as Sweden and as south as the north coast of Africa). Their names are also intriguing, suggesting to some more than mere coincidence in their origins.

One in the Hebrides is called “Calinish” and the prefix 'Cali' has been compared to the Armenian word for stone, 'Kari', and sufix 'nish' is said to be like the Armenian ' nish '- an Indo European word for 'sign', which would make the name “Stone-Sign”. A town in Brittany with the same kind of stones is named "Carnac", but in old French it was "Carnish," which is close to the Armenian 'Stone-Sign' ('kar-n'shan').

Fans of the 'Armenian Stonehenge' identity point to the possibility that ancient stargazing began here first and then disseminated outwards. Others point to the accepted theory that mutually exclusive cultures developed at different points in the world at around the same time, and that Stonehenge is unique to England's ancient culture, just as Karahundj is unique to Armenia's, and this in no way diminishes the importance of either site.

Whatever its true name or date is, Zorats Kar or Karahundj, whether for worship, memorial, stargazing or creating a calendar, the stones standing before you are among most intriguing in the ancient world, deserving of nomination for World Heritage Status.