Arshakid Kings Mausoleum and Basilica

In the ancient village of Aghdzk is the Arshakid Kings Mausoleum and Basilica which has a major significance in the time period of the Kingdom of Armenia, specifically of the Ashakid Dynasty which ruled from 12 AD to 428 AD. Constructed in the mid-late 4th century, the mausoleum at one point housed the remains of the Arshakuni kings until they were moved to Echmiadzin in the early 5th century due to earthquakes and invasions. Here's a quick recap of the events that led up to the construction: During the mid-4th century, Persia tried to steal the bones of the Armenian Kings to bring them a fortune, Vassak Mamikonian and his troops stopped them and brought the bones back to Dzorap (now Aghdzk) where the mausoleum was built. Originally the mausoleum was 2 stories. Above the door is a lintel decorated with a hunting scene. Also, there are some animals carved on the sides of the entrance as well as a cross. Inside, to the north and south, there are rectangular ossuary niches built underneath an arched structure. Armenia adopted Christianity in 301 AD during the Ashakid Dynasty which meant that there were bones of both pagan and Christian kings. According to legend, to the north is where the bones of the Christian kings were placed. The bas-relief decoration on the front shows the biblical story of Daniel in the Lion's Den and a motif of rams. The tomb of the pagan kings depicted astrological imagery of birds, a calf with grape vines, a cross within a circle with two birds, and a person with two dogs hunting a wild boar. Adjoining to the north, a basilica was built in the late 4th to early 5th century. It had a single nave with aisles on either side separated by 4 large columns. The rest of the surrounding area has remnants of other buildings.


Photographer & Historian


More stories about this location