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Zorats Karer (Karahunj) - the ancient Observatory and the Shrine

The complex of Zorats Karer is a continuation of the culture, originated in Syunik mountains near Ukhtasar mountain, from where people descended after water began to flow away. In the gorge, through which they got down, the ancient people left more semantic petroglyphs, which tell about the ancient history of humanity.

On the South Armenia, not far from Sisian city(in Syunik region), there is the most ancient magalithic complex, which is unique, because here you can see menhirs, cromlechs, dolmens, cyclopean castle's remains and mounds.

The word "kar" in Karahunj means a stone and "hunj" means to sound. So we get sounding or speaking stones.
The complex of Zorats Karer is in Sisian area, at an altitude of 1770 m. This is one of the oldest inhabited areas of Armenia. The geologists claim that the hollow here was a freshwater lake. At the same time, in Armenia there were many other hollows under the water.

Most scientists believe that the complex had done several functions at once- Karahunj used to be an ancient observatory, also a place for burials, Sun temple for ancient Armenians, and was an old academy.

The construction of the complex refers to approximately 7500 BC, that is, 1.5-2 millennials before ancient developed civilizations were discovered. According to some researches, the location of stones, matches to Cygnus constellation.

As an ancient observatory, Zorats Karer consists of about 200 basalt stones(menhirs), which are perfectly in right and vertical position, with a height of up to 3 m. On some of these stones, there are holes with a diameter of 5-7 cm.  The stones create circles of different diameters. The complex territory is 7 ha.

The whole complex of Zorats Karer is divided into following parts- the central circle, the northern wing, the southern wing, north-east stone path, string line, crossing circle and seperately standing stones.

The central part has an oval shape that includes 40 stones. Located in the centre, stones don't have holes. In the centre of the oval, there is an underground structure, which served as a temple, or a cult tomb. On the eastern part, there is a stone with hole. The hole is directed to the horizon point, from where, at the summer solstice the sun rises.

The northern wing stretches north from the central circle. It consists of 80 stones, 49 of which have holes. The wing's lenght is 139 m.

The southern wing stretches 75 m south from centre, then it turns to the south-west and continues its way over 40 m. It includes more than 70 stones, 49 of which have holes on them. The lenght- 139 m.

The north-east stone path stretches from the centre and is directed to the point, from where the sun rises at the summer solstice. English Stonehenge has the same stone path. It consists of 8 stones, 2 of which have holes.

The string line(chord) crosses the central circle and, as a continuation of the north wing, connects it with the southern wing. It consists of 20 stones, 6 of which have holes.

On the western and eastern parts of the complex, at a distance of 90 m and more, the seperate stones stand.

On the eastern side of the huge complex, there are many tombs having great sizes.

During the archaeological excavations of tombs, bronze ornaments, pottery pieces and other objects were discovered.