Areni 1 Cave

The outlook of Areni 1 cave

Village Areni which is a part of Vayots dzor region was one of the old and famous places in historical Mets Hayq’s Vayots dzor province in Syunik region. It is located on the right bank of river Arpa, on the end of its length and after it the river goes to the narrow canyon and reaches to Sharur valley. It was in the middle of all roads and it also has military meaning. That’s why on the heights near the village there were a fortress and a castle in ancient times. Their ruins are still standing. The historiographer of 5th century Eghishe reminds the village with names Arpunyal, Arpanyal. 
In ancient times Areni was located on the left bank of the river Arpa on a high hill. There are the ruins of the village (nowadays there is a grave). In 13th century Tarsayich Orbelyan knight build here a castle. And it became the residence of knights of Syunik. The knight also ordered the bishop of Noravank named Sarkis to build a bridge with three arches, but only the basic part of it has been saved. 
The church St. Astvatsatsin was in the south from the ruins of the ancient village. That beautiful church was built in 1321 in the request of Hovhannes bishop from Syunik. It was built by the famous architect Momik. The area of the village and the surroundings are famous for their archaeological monuments, such as caves, temples, the ruins of medieval village, cross-stones, graves. 
Areni-1 cave is situated in the west of the village, on the left bank of the river Arpa, on the way to Noravank. It has three halls. The cave was generated from the rock forms of the limestone. Due to the excavations of 2007-2008 people found some things from the material culture of stone and copper ages. Among them is a complex consisting of clay structures which has industrial and economical meaning. It is in the first hall of the cave. This complex has different clay jars and tubs of different sizes.
There is also a wine-press. There are found reminds of the grape stones in surroundings. In general the potteries and their remains, the subjects from metal and stone and textures, the plant seeds let us to think that they are from 5-4 millenniums BC. 

The inside look of the cave

Wine Jug

There are also ritual funerals of teenage women, which reflects the ancient ideas of ritual fertility. Considering, that this area has traditional wine-making coming from centuries we can suppose that in Areni-1 cave we had the roots of armenian wine culture. In fact it has almost 6000 years history. 

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