Carahunge- the sound of stones

2 minutes to read

And again on the way… today you are traveling to Carahunge (Zorats karer). This prehistoric monument is the “Armenian Stonehenge” though built much earlier. It is a huge ancient observatory the name of which is translated from Armenian as “sound of stones” ( "car" means "stone" and "hunge" means "sound"). Here seems you can hear how the stones wispier about the secrets of the history. The remains of the complex, with smooth angled holes on huge stones of 4 to 5 cm diameter, in Syunik Province of Armenia, are proof, that more than 7500 years ago exactly here, at the Carahunge observatory, were made observations of the sun, moon and stars at their rising, setting and culmination moments. Being almost 3000 years older than Stonehenge it is considered to be one of the oldest scientific centers of the world discovered till now.

© Hayk Melkonyan
© Hayk Melkonyan

Credits to Hayk Melkonyan

It is located on a plateau that is 1770 meters above sea level. The complex occupies a territory of seven hectares- for comparison, it occupies as much territory as fourteen football fields together.

In this territory, one by one stand vertical monoliths that are grouped in central cycle. Each stone weighs several tons and most probably those 220 stones had been brought to this place from the nearest gorge. Making holes on 84 of them by hammers and chisels and directing them to certain points/directions of the sky people (scientists) could follow the stars and the sky.

At the same time they say this served not only as an observatory but also as a temple of AR (Sun) that was the main God of Armenians, another option is that it served to provide a protection through Tir- God of science, as well as was a University. The scientists think that there is a mysterious link between all similar stone monuments and the first thing that unites them are the names. For example Stonehenge has the same connotation as Carahunge as stone in Armenian is "Car" and henge (that is absent in English) is the the same hunge (voice/sound in Armenian). Another one is Callanish in Scotland (again cal=car(stone) in Armenian and "nish" means "sign") and the same thing works with the standing stones in Carnac in Brittany (France), in Egypt and etc. Unless we have a magic machine to take us to that times and to show us what's hidden behind these stones, the only thing we can do is to put the facts together and to guess.

©Artak Kolyan
©Artak Kolyan

Credits to Artak Kolyan

Though the astrological knowledge people had in this part of the world was practiced thousands of years ago, in Armenia, astrology as a science has been established in the 7th century by Ananaia Shirakaci . Later the universal science has been taught in Tatev, Gladzor and in other monastic establishments. It's a very developed field in Armenia. Nowadays there are many modern observatories like Byurakan Observatory where you can explore stars. Yes, we do not know for sure what the main aim of Carhunge was- to serve as an observatory,a trample or a university, but one think is clear, what you see in Carahunge will remain as one of the most impressive things you’ve ever seen. It’s not every day you feel the presence of the past in the same time and space you are in now. The sound of stones though is heard to those who really want to hear it.

Zorats Karer
Zorats Karer
Sisian, Armenië

The author

Lusine Vardanyan

Lusine Vardanyan

I’m Lusine, from Armenia. I like to travel and explore new places. I'm interested in art, culture, music and sports. On itinari I’ll show you Armenia the way I see it.

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