Zorats Karer

Zorats Karer: The Prehistoric Astronomical Observatory of Armenia

June 15, 2015 - Travel to Armenia
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Zorats Karer, also known as Carahunge and acclaimed as the Stonehenge of Armenia, is an ancient astronomical observatory that occupies seven hectares of land and sits on a high plateau near the town of Sisian in the Syunik Province of Armenia. It is hard to find a scientific consensus on the age of this mysterious site that dates back either to the 3rd or 4th millennium BC.

Most likely, astronomical observations in Armenia predate those carried out in the United Kingdom. It was in 2010 that a new international study claimed Zorats Karer to be 3, 500 years older than the Stonehenge located in Wiltshire, England.

Carahunge
Photo by Arpine Grigoryan

In 2000, the investigations carried out by a number of international archaeologists identified the site as a large ancient cemetery with enormous tomb monuments. The local legend claims Zorats Karer to be the land of ancient Armenian giants.

Zorats Karer «զորաց քարեր» is interpreted from Syunik dialect of Armenian as vertical stones, while the name Carahunge means sounding stones: «քար» (car) is interpreted as “stone” and «հունչ» (hunge) as “sound”.

This megalithic site consists of an impressive circular stone setting of separate standing basalt stones. There are two hundred twenty-three registered stones, of which many are numbered.

The stones are moss-covered, some of them broken and timeworn. Each of the stones weight up to ten tons, while the heights vary from about 0.5 to 3 meters.

Stone Carahunge
Photo by Arpine Grigoryan

At about eighty-four stones have a smooth-angled circular hole in the upper section. The holes are around five centimeters in diameter. Archaeoastronomers claim these holes were used as the earliest tools for telescopic observations, since they are directed toward, pointed in, inclined at a variety of directions angling horizontally to the sky. However, some argue that the holes have not had such usage, since they are not timeworn and seem to be relatively new.

Zorats Karer, indicating towards the oldest civilization on the world and the advanced civilization in Armenia, is one of the oldest stone observatories in the world…

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