Karahunj - ancient astrological observatoryKarahunj - ancient astrological observatory

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    This is a very singular place, but very famous in Armenia!
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      Nice description!
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      Yes, you added a plan !
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      yes, 3
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Zorats Karer (Zorac‘ K‘arer, Zorac Qarer, Zorakarer, Zorakar Armenian: Զորաց Քարեր), also called Karahunj or Carahunge) is an archaeological site near the city of Sisian in the Syunik province of Armenia. The site is located on a rocky promontory near Sisian. About 223 large stone tombs can be found in the area. It was explored by a team of archaeologists from the Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, University of Munich who published their findings in 2000. They concluded that "in contrast to the opinion that Zorakarer may be called an Armenian Stonehenge", Zorats Karer "was mainly a necropolis from the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age." The Munich archaeologists add that it may have served "as a place of refuge in times of war", possibly in the Hellenistic - Roman period (c. 300 BC - 300 AD). A wall of rocks and compacted soil (loam) was built around the site with vertical rocks plugged into it for reinforcement: today only these upright rocks remain.
In the nearby city of Sisian, there is a small museum dedicated to findings in the area, including palaeolithic petroglyphs found on mountain tops in the area, and grave artefacts form the Bronze Age burial site with over 200 shaft graves.

In 2004 the site was officially named the Karahunj (Carahunge) Observatory, by Parliamentary decree (Government decision No. 1095-n, July 29, 2004).

My experience, Explo description: 

There have been several research expeditions to study Zorats Karer over several decades. The most extensive research has been carried out by Paris Herouni and by Elma Parsamyan of Biurakan Observatory.

According to Herouni, the site was "a temple with a large and developed observatory, and also a university". He thinks that the temple was dedicated to the Armenian sun-god Ari. He made a survey of the site and claimed it was 7600–4500 years old.
Herouni has proposed a further hypothesis, that some stones of the monument mirror the biggest star of the Cygnus constellation - Deneb. A stone discovered in Gobekli Tepe in modern Turkey excavated by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, shows the map of the night sky (Cygnus constellation), which in the Karahunj monument, as V. Vahradyan noticed, represents the same constellation, mirroring the Zorats Karer site.
In September 2010 Oxford Astrophysicist Mihran Vardanyan led the Oxford University-Royal Geographical Society joint Expedition Stars & Stones 2010, to check the previous results as well as to produce modern 3d maps and an archeological survey of the site.
Vardanyan claimed the site could be the oldest observatory in the world. He said that stone circles are highly controversial with some scholars highly sceptical of the astronomical significance of sites such as Zorats Karer. “The most commonly accepted theory about the meaning of Qara Hunge is that it is an ancient burial ground, or necropolis – a place to act as a bridge between the earth and the heavens in the cyclical journey of the soul involving life, death and rebirth.” “The necropolis thesis is certainly true, but after our initial investigations of the central circle, it is clear the site was aligned to the sun, most likely aligned to the moon and – what is really exciting, possibly even some stars or planets – owing to the placement of small holes drilled through the monoliths and aimed at the horizon. It is these holes which makes this exceptional megalithic site unique out of all similar European sites.

How getting there: 

Karahundj (Zorats Kar) complex is about 3 hours south of Yerevan. Take the M-2 highway to the second exit to Sissian and follow the signs.

Useful information: 
Open hours: 

Monday-Sunday