Spiritual Structures in Armenian Architecture
Armenia, located in the Caucasian Mountains on the Black Sea between Russia and Turkey, contains some of the most significant cultural examples of sacred geometry. In the same way as a piece of powerful music can rearrange the psyche, so too can a building, especially one constructed according to certain rules. In order to get your head around this, you have to abandon the idea of there being a world "out there" and a world "in here". The connection between the external and internal is a structured commingling of energies, which have a vibrational and geometrical element. Like throwing a pebble in a pond, this pool of energy can be made to vibrate according to the intent of the architects and masons originating the symbolic structure.
If you can bear to remember your geometry classes, you will find that the origins of mathematics and how it was used by the ancients to construct their cities and temples has not changed that much over time, it has just become more complex (and has fueled the success of hand calculators). The essentials remain the same: a circle, a square, a rectangle, and
the myriad permutations of those forms.
Exactly where geometry came from we are not sure, but the source has moved a little East of where people used to think it came from. From Classical Greece, where it received its most philosophic and poetic applications (and from where Western cultures inherited it), geometry's origins moved first to Egypt and Mesopotamia, and then to the Armenian plateau, where the earliest known cities are located. For without geometry, you cannot build anything, and its knowledge was key to survival, and believed to be a key to unlocking the secrets of the universe.
Almost literally, geometry meant contact with the gods. It was considered a way of imitating the structure where the sun (probably the first god) and the moon (probably the second god) governed the natural order – early man believed if he could "map" the universe, he would be able to predict the whims of gods, who sent punishing droughts, floods and pestilence on the land around him.
Geometry was also a fundamental tool for making things by hand. Without it, you simply can't. You may not be aware of it, but when you shape any object, you are following the laws of geometry, which is based on an even older skill – that of measures, or counting. In the ancient world, this knowledge was considered magic, and as magic, it was kept in the realm of religion, in the realm of priests, a carefully guarded secret which was passed on only to the elect. As the image of the structure of the universe, geometry was a symbolic system for understanding how it worked, including astronomy.
Ancestral Armenians and "StoneHenge"
Ancestral Armenians had a refined knowledge of astronomy and were able to predict astral events to an accurate degree. The oldest known observatories in the world are in Armenia. One is called Karahundj. "Kara" means "of stone" or "stones", and "henge" has no specific meaning in English, it either is a forerunner of "hung" or is borrowed from an old
Indo-European root. Like Stonehenge, 'Karahundj' is easily defined in the first part, but the second is up to theory. 'Hundj' may be an early version of 'pundj', meaning 'bouquet', or it might be related to 'hunchuin', which means 'voice'.
Other henges – there are many throughout Europe – have the ending "-nish" or "-nich", which in Armenian means "sign". Consistent among all of them is the first sound "Kar" or "Kal", which means stone.
Possibly erected as early as 4200 BCE, Karahundj and the ca. 2800 BCE observatory at Metsamor allowed Ancestral Armenians to develop geometry to such a level they could measure distances, latitudes and longitudes, envision the world as round, and were predicting solar and lunar eclipses about 1000 years before the Egyptians began doing the same. The fortress cities and temples that have been excavated in Armenia (some going back as far as 7000 years) show a remarkable awareness of using sacred numbers and geometry in constructing sacred buildings, using a complex system of squares, rectangles, circles, polygons with intersecting patterns.
Sacred numbers are numbers that have special symbolic meanings. Their importance is rooted in mystical belief--if you used these numbers in measuring, or follow them on certain dates and in combinations, you were appeasing the gods, and affirming yourself as a member of their metaphysical family.
This list is by no means complete, but it will give you an idea of what to look for when you see the monuments in Armenia. By counting out the steps, sizes, and shapes with these numbers in mind, you will be unlocking the secrets of Sacred Architecture in Armenia, from its earliest time through the Middle Ages. Sacred numbers should not be thought of as mere proportional ratios in creating beautiful buildings. They were rooted in a profound belief in the will of a god to bring order into the universe. They were not thought of as human invention, but part of the laws of the universe which humans were blessed in using.