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2,783 years young, Yerevan's history as a continuously inhabited city goes back to the citadel of Erebuni, founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti I.    

One of the greatest empires of the Iron Age, the Urartians (who called themselves and their land Biainili, and their capital Tushpa, by Lake Van) rivaled Assyria for control of strategic trade routes between Central Asia and the Mediterranean.  Powerful enough to invade the fabled Kingdom of Babylon, Urartian armies amassed what some say was the first Armenian Empire, connecting the lands of the Armenian Plateau and Anatolia with the Caucasus Mountains.  

But ancestral Armenians and Yerevan can trace their birth thousands of years before, to the dawn of civilization itself and the rise of a culture that by 5000 BC had already learned secrets of astronomy and bronze, and developed some of the first black-varnished and geometric patterned pottery, more than 1500 years before Minoans and Mycanaeans began mass-production.   

Urartu was a bridge, the last crossing of Asia and the West before the great division in the Hellenistic Age.  

Just what was this culture that threatened the downfall of Assyria, invaded Babylon, amassed amazing influence and treasures, and stood at the pinnacle of conquering the entire Near East before suddenly collapsing  at the height of its power?  

Look inside, and find out. Click on the buttons below to continue, and don't forget to read "A Drift of History", a new article on the state of excavation in Armenia that asks, "is $2 a day to uncover history too much?"

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