(till 1978 Zeyva Hayi, church of 1870. S of village is an
important Neolithic- Chalcolithic tell.
Vagharshapat on the E bypass, 2 km past
the overpass is on the left a conspicuous monument to 7 Yugoslav
(now Serbian) aviators killed in December 1988 when their plane,
carrying relief supplies to the December 7 Gyumri-Spitak
earthquake victims, crashed in a field.
small mound and water-worn stones marked
on the sign as 5-4th millennium BC occupation site,
wich is famous as Tsaghkunk or Mkhltapa,
partly covered now by a little shed that has become a local
skyline is dominated by the four cooling towers of the Metsamor
Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.
The nuclear plant, not open to the public, still
generates about 40% of Armenia’s electricity. About
6.1 km after the Vagharshapat
overpass, about two km before the Metsamor reactor, shortly
after a gas station, an unsignposted road leads left in 3 km to Taronik
(once Zeyva Turkakan), rich in storks’ nests.
Turning right in the village, the left after 500 meters,
the paved road leads to
a substantial mound 1 km W of Taronik, the site of the
Early Iron Age settlement of Metsamor,
with a small but rich archaeological
Excavations were resumed in 1998 with funding from the
nuclear plant (which pumps its cooling water from next door) in
a vain effort to locate a gate (and preferably an inscription
giving the ancient name) in the lower defensive wall.
The summit of the mound has an early first millennium BC
sanctuary, and there are important remains of pits used for
gravitational separation of iron from slag.
A little SW is a hill with 3rd millennium BC
carvings on the rock indicating the direction of the rising of
The museum has a treasury in the basement exhibiting
jewelry from chamber tombs around the site, and upstairs rooms
display the full sequence of Armenian prehistoric pottery,
including splendid black and red burnished vases.