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Artashat ( ; Hellenized as Artaxata: ) is a city on the Araks River in the Ararat valley. It is the provincial capital of the Ararat Provincemarker in Armeniamarker. One of the oldest cities of Armenia, today Artashat is one of the modern cities of Armenia. Artashat is situated on the Yerevanmarker-Nakhichevanmarker-Bakumarker and Nakhichevan-Tabrizmarker railway and on Yerevan Goris-Stepanakert runway. The city's name is derived from Iranian languages and means the “joy of Arta.” Founded by King Artashes I in 176 B.C., Artashat served as the capital of Armenia from the second century B.C. until the fifth century A.D., and was known as the "Vostan Hayots" or "court" or "seal of the Armenians."

Artashat is now a mid-sized city and has a population of 35,100 people. It is located 5km north-west from Artashat’s former location. Currently, the city of Artashat is developing. In 2004, construction began on building new apartment buildingsThere exist six secondary, one musical, one art and one sports school, a theater named after Amo Kharazyan, which has an historical background and represents a historic-cultural value, an art center named after Charles Aznavour, a local TV station and a number of local newspapers. Many new banks, offices, shops, monuments are also in the process of being built in Artashat.



When Artashes I officially assumed the reins of power in Armenia circa 189-188 B.C., he chose to inaugurate this event by founding a new city. The story of its founding is given by the fifth century Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi, who tells of how "Artashes traveled to the location of the confluence of the Yerasqh and the Metsamor [rivers] and, taking a liking to the position of the hills [adjacent to Mount Ararat], chose it as the location of his new city, naming it after himself." According to the accounts given by Greek historians Plutarch and Strabo, Artashat is said to have been chosen and developed on the advice of the Carthaginianmarker general Hannibal:

There is, however, no evidence to support the above passage. Some sources have also indicated that Artashes built his city upon the remains of an Urartian settlement. Strabo and Plutarch describe Artashat as a large and beautiful city and call it the "Armenian Carthagemarker." A focal point of Hellenistic culture, Armenia's first theater was built here. Movses Khorenatsi adds that, in addition to the numerous copper pagan statues of the gods and goddesses of Anahit, Artemis and Tir that were brought from other lands to the city, Jews from the former Armenian capital of Armavir were relocated to Artashat.

Artashes also built a citadel (which was later named Khor Virapmarker and gained prominence as the location where Gregory the Illuminator was to be imprisoned by Trdat the Great) and added other fortifications, including a moat. The city's strategic position in the Araks river valley soon made Artashat a center of bustling economic activity and thriving international trade. Its economic wealth can be gauged in the numerous bathhouses, markets, workshops administrative buildings that sprang up during the Artashes' reign.

Roman-Persian wars

During the reign of Tigranes II, the Armenian kingdom expanded and conquered many territories in the direction of the southwest, ultimately reaching the Mediterranean Seamarker. Due to the remoteness of Artashat in the greater context of the empire, Tigranes built a new capital called Tigranakert. However, in 69 B.C. the Roman general Lucullus invaded Armenia, defeated Tigranes' forces near the outskirts of Tigranakert, and sacked the capital itself. As Roman forces continued to move northeast in pursuit of the Armenian king, a second prominent battle took place, this time at Artashat, but Tigranes was defeated here, too.

Artashat remained a hotly contested military target for the next two centuries. It was occupied by Syrian legions under the Roman general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, who razed it to the ground in 58 A.D. as part of the first, short-lived, Roman conquest of Armenia. After Emperor Nero recognized Tiridates I as king of Armenia in 66, however, he granted him 50 million sesterces and sent architects and construction experts to help in the reconstruction of the city. The city was temporarily renamed Neronia, in honor of the Emperor. It was destroyed once more in 163 when Statius Priscus reconquered Armenia. Archaeological excavations conducted during the Sovietmarker era uncovered a Latin inscription of the full titles of the Emperor Trajan that was probably inscribed upon the governor's palace dating to the first quarter of the second century A.D. Artashat remained the principal political and cultural center of Armeniamarker until the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428. Incorporated into the Sassanid Empire, Armenia's capital was moved northward to the city of Dvinmarker, just south of modern day Yerevanmarker.

Soviet Artashat

Until 1945, the city of Artashat was known as Upper Ghamarlu, also Romanized as Kamarlyu, Kamarlu, and Kemerli.

Current developments

On June 1, 2004, a new park was inaugurated in Artashat, which has since become a favorite pastime center not only for children and youth, but for adults as well. The park also hosts concerts and musical shows during the eveneings.

Recently, in the framework of events devoted to the 1600th anniversary of the invention of the Armenian alphabet, a symposium took place in Artashat, during which participant sculptors from all over Armenia and the diaspora created many cultural monuments in Artashat’s center, working on it nearly a month and a half. In the center of the city one can also see the buildings of marzpetaran and the city hall and the monument of King Artashes, the founder of Artashat.


Artashat has various branches of industry. During the last decadeswineries, Artashat canneries, milk, porcelain, furniture and textile factories have beenopened.During the blockade years some of the industrial factories had been closed. But today a lot of factories are introducing their products in the world market. The quality of Artashat products is satisfactory for these demands.

Artashat Cannery

The Artashat Cannery is a factory with modern technology, giving the factory opportunities to increase the variety of its production. The factory produces tomato paste, fruit and vegetable cans. 75% of the production is produced in special sacks, which are later changed into 220 liter jugs.

Artashat Winery

The factory was founded in 1995 and is considered to be one of the most modern and factories of Armenia.The wines and brandies produced in this factory win many orders in international festivals.The brandies “Marzped,” Artavazd ”and “Artashat” are considered among the best types of brandies for the production of the latter. 10 year old spirit brandies have been used.

"Red" wine Areni is produced from local types of grapes.

”Black Areni” is kept for more than 2 years in wooden jugs. It doesn’t lose its special taste and pleasing odor.

"Mamikonyan and Sons, LTD"

“Mamikonyan and Sons, LTD" was founded in Artashat, in the Ararat region. It deals mainly with cans. Its production has a high level and is equal to modern standards of production. Thus, a lot of activities to improve the quality of the production is being done systematically. This gives the LTD an opportunity to export its production not only to Russia, but also to European market. The company produces more than 200 sorts of fruit and vegetable cans.

“Great Valley”

The company consists of 5 factories, one of which is the Artashat Winery.

At present “Great Valley” is the main brandy exporter to the Russian market. It is also in cooperation with Germany, Cyprus, China, Kazakhstan and other countries.The Artashat Winery has participated to international exhibitions and won more than 200medals, 14 grand prizes and a Super grand prize.

It produces 3 sorts of brandies:1.Brandy “Great Valley”- it is considered to be 3, 4, 5 star brandy, aged 6-25 years.

2.Brandy “King Tigran” is aged 12-30 years.

3.Brandy “Armenyak” is aged 3-21 years.

The Artashat Porcelain Factory

This factory produces porcelain tiles, which are equal to modern European standards.This tile is the oldest widespread building material built from local red clay without the usage of chemicals. It has a great demand not only locally, but abroad.At present porcelain tile production is developing. The factory is the one in the Republic, which produces porcelain tiles.The production of Artashat porcelain factory introduces itself in market with a label “M. and Mavr”.


At present the cultural life of Artashat prospers. Being a middle size city, Artashat has several cultural places, among them a theater, musical school and an after school work center.

Amo Kharazyan Theater

The Artashat theater dates back to the Artashes I's reign. During the last 15 years, it has performed not only Armenian national classics and modern creations, but also world masterpieces of dramatic art. Recently the theater performed “My Suffering, my Glory,” devoted to the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It will soon be performed for French audiences as well. The theater has also holds performances of various tales primarily aimed at the child audience.

Alexander Melik Pashaev Musical School

Artashat Musical School named after Alexander Melik Pashaev was founded in 1956. Sinceits foundation many concerts devoted to famous people and memorable events have been performed in the musical school. Nearly 443 pupils now study at Artashat Musical School.

Artashat Afterschoolwork Center

Artashat Afterschoolwork Center has various branches and aims at organizing after school coordinated trainings based on the constitution of the Ministry of Education.The center has an art department, which combines the groups of folk dances, theatrical, choral, brass band and drawing.The department also combines the clubs and groups of different types of sports, active games, tourism, and health. It deals also with foreign tourism


Artashat also has a stadium, where many soccer competitions and championships are held. Football clubs from Artashat include:

See also


  1. Tiratsyan, Gevorg. «Արտաշատ» (Artashat). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. ii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1976, pp. 135-136.
  2. ArmeniaInfo
  3. Movses Khorenatsi. History of Armenia, 5th Century (Հայոց Պատմություն, Ե Դար). Annotated translation and commentary by Stepan Malkhasyants. Gagik Sargsyan (ed.) Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing, 1997, 2.49, p. 164. ISBN 5-5400-1192-9.
  4. Bournoutian, George A. (2006). A Concise History of the Armenian People: From Ancient Times to the Present. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, p. 29. ISBN 1-5685-9141-1.
  5. Movses Khorenatsi. History of Armenia, 2.49, p. 164.
  6. Garsoïan, Nina. "The Emergence of Armenia" in The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century. Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997, p. 49. ISBN 0-312-10169-4.
  7. GEOnet Names Server, "Artashat".

Further reading

  • Arakelyan, Babken N. "Основные результаты раскопок древнего Арташата в 1970-73 гг." Patma-Banasirakan Handes. № 4, 1974.
  • _________________. Հին Արտաշատ (Ancient Artashat). Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciencesmarker, 1975.
  • ___________________. "Les fouilles d'Artaxata: Bilan Provisoire." Revue des Études Arméniennes. Volume 18, 1984, pp. 367-395.
  • Yeremyan, Suren T. Հայաստանը ըստ «Աշխարհացույց»-ի (Armenia According to the Ashkharhatsuyts). Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1963.

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