Carahunge

Carahunge Monument, originally known as Zorats Karer (Powerful Stones), is a prehistoric archaeological site in the distance of 204 km far from Yerevan. It was also often referred to in international tourist lore as the "Armenian Stonehenge". It's located on the mountain plateau having altitude 1770 m and occupies a territory of about 7 hectare. It's interpreted as deriving from two Armenian words: car (or kar), meaning stone, and hunge or hoonch, meaning sound (Speaking Stones). This interpretation is related to the fact that the stones make whistling sounds on a windy day, presumably because of multiple reach-through holes bored under different angles into the basalt stones in prehistoric times. In total registered 223 stones, with 0,5 to 3 m height and up to 10 tons.

Carahunge consists of the central circle, the north arm, the south arm, N-E alley, the chord (crossing the circle) and separate standing stones. The site is rich with stone settings, burial cists and standing stones - Menhirs. In total registered 223 stones. The heights of the stones range from 0.5 to 3 m (above ground) and weight up to 10 tons. They are basalt (andesite) stones, eroded by time and covered with moss and lichen of many colours. About 80 of the stones feature a circular hole, although only 37 of the stones, with 47 holes, are still standing. Seventeen of the stones were associated with observations of sunrise or sunset at the solstices and equinoxes, and 14 with the lunar extremes. In front of the megalithic complex you can see Ughtasar mountain, rich of bronze-age petroglyphs.

Astronomical significance of megalithic structures at Zorats Karer was first explored in 1984. A year after, a hypothesis was made about the existence of an astronomical observatory. Investigation by radio physicist Paris Herouni during 1994-2001 led them to the now disputed conclusion that Carahunge is the world's oldest astronomical observatory. Zorats Karer was investigated in the 21st century 2000 by different archaeologists from Germany, Iceland, Spain, Great Britain, the USA. By them and archaeologists from Ministry of Culture of Armenia, it was finally known and proved in 2017, that Zorats Karer was not an observatory of the 6th millennium BC, but just an inhabited area and cemetery of the 2nd millennium BC.

Shaki Waterfall is situated on the way to Carahunge and 
Tatev. The altitude is 18 m. It's located in gorge of the River Vorotan. According to the legend, enemies kidnapped 93 beauties from a village nearby lake Sevan, for their commander. When the caravan of captives was on the spot, ladies turned to the invader with request: "The road was long and exhausting. We got dusty and dirty. Let us have a bath in the river and then only show up to your majors." The invaders agreed. The ladies jumped into the river, sank and disappeared. Only a blue-eyed lady, named Shakeh, swam across the river, trying to escape. The invaders managed to catch up with her, but on that very moment a rock appeared under her and the water, flowing above the rock, hid her under its foams. Since then the waterfall and the village has been called Shaki.



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