Cilicia vessel in Korikos

Cilicia: the first-ever Armenian sailing ship to circumnavigate the world

May 6, 2015 - Travel to Armenia

Cilicia sailing ship of Armenia, the wooden replica of 12th century medieval merchant vessel of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, has retraced the medieval trade routes by visiting twenty-five countries and sixty-three harbors. The navigation started in 2004 from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, northern Europe, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and back to the Black Sea through the Russian rivers. Interestingly enough, it is for the first time that closed circle navigation was accomplished by just one ship around Europe.

map of navigation of cilicia sailing ship

Map of the route

The ship first time touched water in 2002 in Sevan Lake. The first stop was in 2004 at the Poti Sea Port (eastern coast of the Black Sea, Georgia). The journey was successfully completed in 2006.

The sailing vessel was built during eleven years, from 1991 to 2002, by the founders and members of Ayas Club of Nautical Researches of Armenia. It is twenty meters in length, five meters in width, fifty tones of displacement and has a hundred square meters symmetrical lateen sail area. The ship was rebuilt using the techniques found in medieval manuscripts and miniatures. The ship had twelve male focal crew members. In the last eight hundred years this is the first Armenian crew to navigate the vessel, which is legally the Republic of Armenia in the overseas waters.

Ship making Cilicia vessel

/ The lateen sail was extensively used in the Age of Discovery. Nowadays, it is used on small boats. It was the builders of Cilicia sailing vessel that for the first time in the present realities experimented and successfully used this type of sail after so many years. This type of lateen sail is present only in the Armenian and ancient Greek manuscripts. /

At present, Cilicia ship is harbored at Port Ayas, located in the heart of Lake Sevan in Armenia.

/ “Ayas” used to be the name of the main port of Cilician Armenia. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia belongs to the historic era of middle ages and was located outside of the Armenian Highlights at the Northeastern corner of the Mediterranean. The kingdom existed at about three hundred years. It was the Egyptian Mamelukes who put an end to the kingdom in 1375. /

Here are some photos of the Armenian sailing ship in the overseas lands. Want to learn more about Cilicia vessel? Well…, we recommend you meet the captain of the vessel, Karen Balayan who will tell about the adventures experienced by the crew during the seven seas navigation of Cilicia.

La Valeta Malta

Cilicia passing under London Tower Bridge

Cilicia in Venice Lagoon

Cilicia in Venice

Cilicia in Marseille City Hall

Cilicia in Rodos

Have you ever seen Cilicia vessel in the overseas waters? If so, we would love to hear of your impressions!

› tags: Armenia / history / travel to Armenia /