Ukhtasar (The “Camelback mountain” in Armenian) is a mountain near the town of Sisian in Armenia’s southern province of Syunik. Over 2,000 decorated rock fragments extend to the foot of the mountain. The petroglyphs, some believed to date back to the Paleolithic Era (12,000 BCE), are carved onto dark brownish-black volcanic stones left behind by an extinct volcano.
Although the site was discovered in the early 20th century, it was not really studied until the 1920s and again in the late 1960. Reproductions of the petroglyphs, or rock engravings, of Ukhtasar can be found all over Yerevan: they are inscribed onto silver jewelry, painted onto coffee cups, traced into handmade pottery, and they adorn the walls of cafes.
The carvings on the rock fragments depict hunting scenes, a wide array of animals, spirals, circles and geometric shapes, and even zodiac signs. Research suggests that the area served as a temporary dwelling for nomadic cattle-herding tribes, and studies of the rock carvings indicate that they were in use for hundreds of years, with peoples of later eras adding their own engravings to the stones.
According to the locals of the area near Ukhtasar, their grand-grandparents celebrated Navasard (the Pagan Armenian New Year’s Day) near a glacial lake located next to Ukhtasar. There, they sacrificed lambs and met the first rays of the sun, which was an obligatory part of the ritual. The pilgrims prayed for health, good harvest, abundant rains, and prosperity. And as soon as the first rays of the sun shined over the worshipers, “the mountains gave them their blessing.”
Ukhtasar offers the perfect destination for a truly rewarding and memorable experience. However, reaching the petroglyphs of Ughtasar can only be accessed by an uphill climb in a 4WD. If you have questions about the Ukhtasar trip or need an assistance in arranging your visit to Ukhtasar, we’re here to help. Just get in touch with us!