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Empire of King Tigran Mets. (c) 2005, Armenica.org

Tigranakert (Armenian: Տիգրանակերտ, transliterated "Tigranakert" and also spelled "Dikranagerd" in Western Armenian; Latin Tigranocerta) was a city near present-day Silvan, Turkey, east of Diyarbakır.[1] It was founded by the Armenian Emperor Tigranes the Great in the 1st century BC.


Tigranakert was founded as the new capital of the Armenian Empire in order to be in a more central position within the boundaries of the expanding empire.[2] To create this city, Tigranes forced many people out of their homes to make up the population.[3] Armenia at this time had expanded east to the Caspian Sea, west to central Cappadocia, and south towards Judea, advancing as far as the regions surrounding what is now the Krak des Chevaliers. During its relatively short history, the new Capital had a population of around 100,000 citizens.

Creation of the new capital

Tigran was a great admirer of great cities and he truly believed that the power of the state relied on the power of strong and prospering cities. The capital city of Artašat, established by King Artašes I, during the imperial period was isolated from the major trade routes and was now in the eastern corner of the vast empire. Tigran wanted to build a new city, a new capital. He envisioned the new capital full of grandeur -- a symbol of the New Armenia and the new order. The master architects searched for a strategically important location that would simultaneously fulfill multidimensional aspects for such an ambitious endeavor. The new capital --Tigranakert [Tigranocerta] -- the City of Tigran -- according to the vision, would become the new center of culture and civilization. Plutarch wrote that Tigranakert was "a rich and beautiful city where every common man and every man of rank studied to adorn it."


The dream of Tigran of every booming Capital, with heart filled projects and plans ended short in 69. The Romans, headed by pro consul Lucullus, were able to make into the western frontier, through several battles the Romans had broke through defeating the Pontic forces under Mithridates. When Lucullus' cohorts reached the Capital, several of the non-Armenian soldiers stationed in Tigranakert opened the main gates to the city. The Romans cared little about the Hellenistic high ideals, which was evident in the barbarous looting and the pillaging of city's cultural wealth.

After the destruction of the city which included destroying temples and statues of Tigranakert, the city was burned down, with gold and silver tooken to Rome. Citzens during the looting and destruction had fled to the countryside.


  1. Tigranakert Armenian Dikranagerd
  2. The new Capital city
  3. Dio's Rome, Volume 5, Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211)

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