Dvin Village

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Dvin (Arm: Դվին), Ararat Marz

Dvin cross

Turning R on a paved road before the modern village of Dvin, pass S through the village, and enter the site of the Ruins of Ancient Dvin on the left through the gate in a metal fence. Very little remains of the settlement today, but archaeologists have revealed a wealth of information about the town in its heyday. Excavations revealed the layout of Dvin which followed the pattern of Armenia's ancient fortified settlements. Double town walls were fortified with large round towers, and the citadel had a moat around it. Left above the museum, a path leads up to the citadel, a hill of decomposing mudbrick with rough stone foundations giving only a tiny hint of what was once a thriving ancient and medieval city. S of the site about one km are remains of a large 5th c. market building.

In 572, when the Armenians rose up with Byzantine help under Vardan Mamikonian (a later one, not the saint of Avarayr in 451), they captured Dvin and killed the Persian marzpan Suren. The great cathedral of S. Gregory, used by the Persians as a storehouse, burned in the process. This uprising was quickly quashed. Conquered by the Arabs in 640, Dvin (then known as Dabil) served for centuries as the seat of the Muslim governor. At its height, the city was said to have had 100,000 residents, and extended over all the surrounding villages. The finds of glass and other luxury goods suggest ties to the whole Islamic world.

Dvin is linked to the martyrdom of Smbat I Bagratuni, client king of Syunik, in 909. Attempting to assert his complete control, the evil Arab ostikan (governor) Yusuf poisoned Smbat's son and nephew, who had surrendered themselves to him as Smbat's allies and relatives deserted a fading cause. Capturing Smbat himself, Yusuf had him tortured to death in an attempt to persuade his wife and relatives to surrender the invincible fortress of Ernjak (now in Iran) where they had taken refuge. The mutilated body of Smbat was exposed on a cross outside Dvin, where it allegedly worked a number of miracles. According to early Armenian historians, the great Kurdish general, the "Saracen" Salahaddin, nemesis of the Crusaders, was born near Dvin.

East are Nerkin Dvin (2815 p, till 1950 Dyugun Hay) and Verin Dvin (1866 p), the latter notable for its population of Assyrian Christians. Norashen (3071 p, once known as Kurdish Dvin) is S of Hnaberd.

Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook