By order of God Khaldi, Argishti, the son of Menua says, “I built this inaccessible fortress and named it Erebuni for the power of Biaina country and to the horror of enemy countries. The land was deserted, there was nothing built. I did powerful feats here, and 6600 soldiers were resettled from Khale and Tsupane countries here by me.”
This is a text decoded from Urartian cuneiform, the copy of which you can see standing under the open sky exactly 110 meters away from the big clock on Yerevan’s Republic Square. The tag next to this red soft Armenian stone called “toof” tells you that the king named Argishti the 1st ruled in the period of 786 – 765/764 BC.
It’s important to mention that the original was carved on basalt and is now preserved in Yerevan’s Erebuni museum and that the museum is about 4.5kms away from this spot. If you’re just starting your Yerevan exploration, it would be worth visiting that museum, which is built right by the ancient fortress of Yerevan, called Erebuni, because that’s where Yerevan city was born.
So, if you’re an Armenian, you’re probably a grand-grand-grand child of one of those 6600 soldiers, and this stone is the birth certificate of one of the oldest cities in the world, built by one of your grandfathers. If you’re a non-Armenian… well, you might still be Armenian in some way, according to many Armenians, but that’s a different story ;-).