On our way to Meghri last weekend Sergey and I stopped off at Zorats Karer, also known as Karahunge or the "Armenian Stonehenge," since it's only a few minute drive off the main road.
The location is just north of the town of Sisian, in the Syunik region. Upper Syunik is one of my favorite parts of Armenia for driving. The road cutting across the plains is mostly straight, while the landscape is all green and mostly flat with small, rolling hills along the way. In the distance in all directions are snow-capped magnificent mountains. It's a stunning area.
According to the new, very helpful information plaques that have been placed on site, anthropologists and historians seem to believe that Zorats Karer, which dates back several thousand years, was some kind cosmic observatory, which makes sense since the sky is quite wide there. Triangular shaped stones about four to seven feet high lunge out of the ground in a spiral formation. Most if not all of the stones have a hole about four to six inches in diameter pierced through them.
Also on site is a mound with a pile of flat, reddish stones. Some scientists believe that it is a burial ground which was at one point excavated and looted. Others think that it had no significance whatsoever, so it's left to the beholder's imagination to figure out what it could have been.
There are also some rock lined, rectangular-shaped pits about six feet deep which may have been dwellings I am guessing.
Zorats Karer is a site that any tourist or native to Armenia should see, if not for studying prehistoric history, then to experience the grandiose, breathtaking scenery of the Syunik plains. I must have visited the site four or five times, and I continue to be amazed with each visit.Photos by Christian Garbis