Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by Karina Manukyan
A 1,000-year-old Muslim mausoleum has been discovered in the territory of Dvin, one of the capital cities of ancient Armenia.
Pavel Avetisyan, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, has told ArmInfo that the mausoleum dates back to circa XI-XII cc. AD. "We think that it must have been a large structure consisting of 4 parts with domes and entrances", he said. According to him, such mausoleums had became popular in West Asia since the times of Seljuks. Archaeologists have discovered only a part of the mausoleum so far.
The ancient city of Dvin was built by Khosrov III of Greater Armenia in 335 on a site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the 3rd millennium BC. Since then, the city had been used as the primary residence of the Armenian Kings of the Arsacid dynasty. After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, Dvin became the residence of Sassanid appointed marzpans (governors), Byzantine kouropalates and later Umayyad and Abbasid appointed ostikans (governors).
On January 6, 642 the Arabs stormed and took the city of Dvin, slaughtered 12,000 of its inhabitants and carried 35,000 into slavery. Under Arsacid rule, Dvin prospered as one of the most populous and wealthiest cities east of Constantinople. Its welfare continued even after the partition of Armenia between Romans and Sassanid Persians, and eventually it became a target during the height of the Arab invasions. According to Sebeos and Catholicos John V the Historian, Dvin was captured in 640 during the reign of Constans II and Catholicos Ezra. The Arabs called the city Dabil. Despite the fact that Dvin was a battleground between Arabs and Byzantine forces for the next two centuries, in the 9th century, it was still a flourishing city. Frequent earthquakes and continued Arab oppression led to the decline of the city from the beginning of the 10th century. During a major earthquake in 893, the city was destroyed, along with most of its 70,000 inhabitants. The Byzantines conquered Armenia along with Dvin in 1045 from the Bagratunis. In 1064, the Seljuks occupied the city. The Kurdish Shaddadids ruled the city as Seljuk vassals until the Georgian King George III conquered the city in 1173. In 1201-1203, during the reign of Queen Tamar, the city was again under Georgian rule. In 1236, the city was completely destroyed by Mongols.