Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Meghri and the 17th century Surp Hovhannes Church

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on January 23, 2020

Meghri (Armenian: Մեղրի), is a town and the center of the urban community of Meghri, in Syunik Province at the south of Armenia, near the border with Iran. The area of present-day Meghri has been settled since the Bronze Age. Many archaeological sites are found in the vicinity of the town dating back to the 7th and 6th centuries BC, during the period of Urartu kingdom.

Historically, it has been part of Arevik canton of ancient Syunik province of the Kingdom of Armenia. With the establishment of Tatev monastery in the 8th century, the region of modern-day Meghri witnessed a rapid social and economic development.

In 906, the settlement of Karchavan was founded by king Smbat I Bagratuni of the Bagratuni dynasty. In 987, the town -known as Meghri- was included within the newly-founded Armenian Kingdom of Syunik.

In 1105, the region of Meghri was occupied by the Seljuks. The town was completely destroyed in 1126 and 1157 by the invading Seljuk forces. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, Syunik along with the rest of the historic territories of Armenia suffered from the Seljuk, Mongol, Aq Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu invasions, respectively.

At the beginning of the 16th century, Meghri became part of the Erivan Beglarbegi within the Safavid Persia. At the beginning of the 18th century, the region was involved in the liberation campaign of the Armenians of Syunik led by David Bek, against Safavid Persia and the invading Ottoman Turks.

David Bek, an Armenian military commander and one of the most prominent military figures of the Armenian liberation movement of the 18th century, started his battles in 1722 with the help of thousands of local Armenian patriots who liberated Syunik.

After the fall of the Safavids in 1722, Davit Bek established himself as leader of the defenses of the local Armenians of Syunik and Kapan during the Ottoman Turkish invasion and the attacks of the local Muslim tribes.

Davit was successful in preventing the various Muslim tribes from making proper territorial gains. In 1727, in order to put a halt to the Ottoman approach in the area, king Tahmasp II appointed Davit as the governor of the area, and gave him the right to administer the area as a vassal Armenian principality under Iranian control.

In 1726-28, the local Armenians under the leadership of Davit Bek went to war with Turkish armies at Halidsor and had showed great military competence and valor by defeating them easily. Davit Bek, however, died 1728.

After Davit Bek’s death in 1728, command of the area passed to Mkhitar Sparapet (Sparapet meaning “general”, “constable” or rather “supreme commander of the armed forces”), who served as chief aide to Bek and later his successor after his death.

Mkhitar Sparapet(?-1730) was an 18th-century Armenian national hero and participant in the struggle for preserving the Armenian heritage in the Zangezur region of Transcaucasia.

He was instrumental in David Bek’s victories over the forces of Safavid Iran and the Ottoman Empire in Armenia’s Zangezur region. Their main headquarters were at the fortress of Halidzor which also served as the administrative center for Syunik.

In 1730, Mkhitar was murdered by Armenian villagers of Khndzoresk, who had implored him to have his own fortifications destroyed during his conflicts rather than their village.

His head was presented to the Ottoman Pasha at Tabriz, who found this act of treachery detestable and had the murderers decapitated. The tomb of Mkhitar Sparapet is located in a gorge not far from Nerkin Khndzoresk and Old Khndzoresk.

In 1813, Meghri became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Persian War of 1804–13 and the signing of the Treaty of Gulistan. It was included within the Karabakh province until 1868 when it became part of the newly-formed Zangezursky Uyezd of Elisabethpol Governorate.

In 1810, young British army officer William Monteith visited the region as part of his service with the British embassy to Persia. His 1856 memoirs paint a vivid picture of the Meghri valley which he describes as a romantic glen that he rates as one of the most beautiful in Persia, or indeed in any country.

Meghri was founded as “Karchavan” in 906 by king Smbat I of Armenia, during the period of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Later, it was known as Meghri, meaning “honey town” in the Armenian language.

Meghri is almost entirely populated by Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Church of the Holy Mother of God of Meghri of the large neighborhood opened in 1673, is the main church of the town. It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Syunik based in Goris.

The 17th century Surp Hovhannes church located in the small neighborhood is also active and famous for its wall paintings. The abandoned church of Surp Sarkis located at the north of Meghri, is also dating back to the 17the century.

Inspired by the beauty and uniqueness of Meghri’s St Hovhannes church, recently restored through Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the Bars Media created this stunning video!

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