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Lake of Vishap; Vishaps, Petroglyphs


These unique monuments are distinct and peculiar to the culture of the Armenian Highland. The vishaps (dragon stones), are huge monolithic stelas of basalt, up to 6 meters tall, which were erected amid natural and artificial lakes and springs, symbolizing the unruly elements of nature, awakening of nature, fertility, and abundanu. Vishap stones were put inside burials as well, probably symbolizing reincarnation. According some scholars, the vishaps were dedicated to the goddess of love, fertility and waters – Astghik (Derceto, Aphrodite). Still others considered them as monuments dedicated to the dying and resurrecting deity – Ara the Beautiful.

The lake of Dragon(Vishapalich) is one of the most beautiful and notable lakes of Geghama mountain chain (west of lake Sevan, Armenia). Lake's height above sea level is approximatey ~2620m.


PETROGLYPHS OF THE ARMENIAN HIGHLAND During the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic, 12000-8000BC), a new area of artistic activity emerged in various regions of the vast Eurasian continent – the art of petroglyphs. The word comes from Greek word petro, theme of the word "petra” meaning "stone”, and glyphein meaning "to carve” and was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe.Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images. On the flat and sunburned surfaces of rocks and boulders, and on the volcanic bombs and stones of petrified lava "rivers,” geometric and floral decorations, anthropomorphic, zoomorphic images of birds and reptiles, weapons and household objects, boats and rafts, carriages and chariots, mythical, battle, and hunting scenes were engraved. The dates of specific groups of petroglyphs are difficult to ascertain. The Armenian petroglyphs are exceptional in the context of prehistoric Near East culture by their number, variety, style, and content. There are over 100,000 petroglyphs known in the Armenian Highland, more densely located in Syunik – Ukhtasar, Vayk – Jermuk mountains, Gegharkunik – Azhdahak, Kotayk – Paytasar and Zar, Aragatsotn – Voskehat, Mt. Aragats, Kakavaberd and other regions of the Republic of Armenia. The petroglyphs are mainly spread in high mountainous areas, at 2000-3000 meters above sea level, although there are also examples found at lower altitudes, between 1000 and 2000 meters above sea level. The art-historical and archeological analysis suggests a chronology of rock art emerging in the Armenian Highland around the Mesolithic- Neolithic periods and lasting to the Middle Ages, reaching its apogee in the Bronze Age. The petroglyphs depict both highly symbolized and primitive naturalistic images, figures in static and dynamic poses, individual and thematic compositions encompassing all the important spheres of human activity and perceptions of the universe. #ayrarattour

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