New Delhi, Sept 16 : Armenian archaeologists have discovered the second pagan temple in Armenia after Garni.
The temple was found 5.5 metres underground not far from the modern town of Artashat, about 30 kilometres to the south-east of Yerevan.
Experts say it is devoted to Mihr - the God of the Sun in Armenian mythology.
The temple - the symbol of Sun-worship was built near Artashat which maintained its status the longest among the capitals of Armenia - from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD, said archaeologist Zhores Khachatryan.
"By discovering the remains of the temple we found out that the temple was even more gorgeous and beautiful than Garni. That means we have found a big historical wealth that needs being kept by all means," said the 72-year-old Khachatryan, the coordinator of the archaeological expedition team.
The expedition comprised of 15 workers of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography. The National Academy of Sciences of Armenia had begun the excavations of the territory of capital Artashat in the 1970s. Before that Soviet authorities prohibited large-scale excavations in territories bordering Turkey.
Khachatryan said the findings revealed that Artshat occupied about 400 hectares of territory and had a population of about 150,000 in its heyday, and the fortification walls of the city stretched for more than 10,000 metres.
According to armenianow.com, the town founded on 12 hills in the neighbourhood of Khor Virap built on the place of the temple devoted to the goddess of maternity and fertility Anahit.
It used to be a big centre of commerce, and more than 1,000 types of the seals have been found at the site, the report said.
"All the studies show Artashat was built in accord with a regular and a planned design project. However, unfortunately, we cannot research all the hills: the heart of Artashat was built on the marble ore that has been blown up for many times and has equalled that part [of the city] to ground," said Khachatryan.
Khachatryan said the archaeological team has also managed to find the public bathhouse of Artshat with its seven rooms 75 square meters each.
"There is a mosaic floor and a tiny brook, bases and pools with beautiful ornaments have been found. Also a toilet with sewage system with more than 2,000 years of history, something you can't find even in modern-day villages, was found," he said.
"We knew from the very beginning there was a temple that was destroyed during the reign of King Tiridates in the 4th century, in times Christianity was spread. But we didn't know where exactly it was and what was its size," he added.