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Dvin ( ; ) was a large commercial city, the capital of early medieval Armeniamarker, the ruins of which are located in the province of Araratmarker nearby a town by the same name. The city was built by Chosroes III of Armenia in 335 on a site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the third millennium B.C. Since then the city was used as the primary residence of the Armenian Kings of the Arshakuni Dynasty. The city had a population of about 100,000 citizens who were in various professions including arts and crafts, trade, fishing, etc.


Dvin is located north of the previous ancient capital of Armeniamarker, the city of Artaxatamarker, on the banks of Metsamor river, 35 km to the south of modern Yerevanmarker. Systematic excavations of Dvin have proceeded since 1937 and have produced an abundance of materials which shed light into the culture of Armenia from the 5th to the 13th centuries.


Dvin also known as Duin according to its Classical name, In ancient Armenian primary sources the name of the city is almost always given as Dwin or Duin. Later authors favor the Dvin appellation, which is the most common form in the scholarly literature.


After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, Dvin became the residence of Sassanid appointed marzpans (governors), Byzantine kouropalates and later Umayyad and Abbasid appointed ostikans (governors), all of whom were of senior nakharar stock. In 640 Dvin was the center of the emirate of Arminia.

Under Arshakuni rule, Dvin prospered as one of the most populous and wealthiest cities east of Constantinoplemarker. Its welfare continued even after the partition of Armenia between Romans and Sassanid Persians and eventually became a target during the height of the Arab invasions. According to Sebeos and Catholicos John V the Historian, Dvin was captured in 640 during the reign of Constans II and Catholicos Ezra. The Arabs called the city Dabil.

Despite the fact that Dvin, was a battleground between Arabs and Byzantine forces for the next two centuries, in the 9th century it was still a flourishing city. Frequent earthquakes and continued Arab oppression led to the decline of the city in the beginning of the 10th century. During a major earthquake in 893, the city was destroyed along with most of its 70,000 inhabitants.

The Byzantines conquered Armenia along with Dvin in 1045 from the Bagratunis. In 1064 the Seljuks occupied the city. The Kurdish Shaddadids ruled the city as Seljuk vassals from then on until the Georgian King George III conquered the city in 1173. In 1201-1203 during the reign of Queen Tamar the city was again under Georgian rule. In 1236 the city was completely destroyed by Mongols.

Dvin was the birthplace of Najm ad-Din Ayyub and Shirkuh, Kurdish generals in the service of the Seljuks; Najm ad-Din's son Saladin was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty.


Image:DvinCross.jpg|A two meter long cross excavated from the site of Dvin.


  1. Pavstos Buzand Vth century (historian)

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