STEPANAKERT — Excavations in Tigranakert, an ancient Armenian capital on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (one of the four namesake historical Armenian cities), has revealed a unique early Christian crypt, Tert.am has learned from the expedition’s head.

”We found only one polished stone in the square of Tigranarkert. This year, we are excavating a crypt; it a very big and unique construction with powerful architectural solutions. We have almost accomplished it, as we are in the final process,” Hamlet Petrosyan, a doctor of history and the head of the Yerevan State University’s Cultural Studies Chair, told our correspondent.

According to him, the group last year unearthed the city’s second Armenian church which later opened the way to the crypt’s traces.

”Under this church’s altar, we opened this crypt in the eastern part; with its type, it is probably one of the first. We had only two crypts of the kind, one being the royal crypt of Aghktsk and the other – the St Grigoris chapel-crypt of Amaras. This is actually the third with its architectural solutions and seems to look more original than the other two I mentioned,” he said, without giving further details.

Mr Petrosyan said that the crypt is an underground building of hewn stones, with niches for remains of saints.

”Although we have not yet completed excavations, but the building imparts a unique appearance to this silent square. We are now excavating pillars and the layer beneath them to find out the depth,” he said.

The expedition continues excavations under the northern wall of Tigranakert, in the first ancient site and ancient Christian square.

Excavations at Tigranakert began in March 2005, when it was first discovered, and are currently ongoing under the directorship of Dr. Hamlet L. Petrosyan of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenian Academy of Sciences. Archaeologists and historians have managed to date the founding of the first one to the 120s-80s B.C., during the reign of either King Tigranes I, or his son and successor King Tigranes the Great.

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