International Museum Day: Urartu Heritage

 45 years in a row May 18th has been celebrated as International Museum Day. Since then the popularity of the day has been growing annually. And saying the truth, this is one of our favorite days of the year.

On this day, people all around the world celebrate Museum Day, which is dedicated to the preservation of culture and its importance in society. We truly believe museums play an important role in our access to knowledge by giving us a chance to time travel and see things we would never be able to experience otherwise.

Well, today, let us take you to one of the most unique museums with us, to show and tell you about a special moment in history. Ready for our virtual time travel? Let’s go to the British Museum.

Urartu artefacts in British Museum

Urartu. Iron Age. Royal inscription. Dedication of god Haldi. 700 BC. Uratian cuneiform.

But let us start from the very beginning.

In the Iron Age Urartu or the so-called Kingdom of Van, was situated around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands, containing Mount Ararat. It is believed to have been partially Armenian-speaking. With the capital Tushpa this was a powerful kingdom in the mid-9th century BC.

At its strongest Urartu may have reached Georgia to the sources of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

The kingdom was eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC.

Urartu symbols in British museum

Griffin-headed demon of white ivory, with hands raised, perhaps to support a throne. 8thC BC-7thC BC

Thus, one of the rooms at the British Museum is dedicated to Anatolia and Urartu 7000–300 BC, exposing different cultures of ancient Anatolia and Urartu from Prehistoric to Hellenistic times.

Ancient Anatolia and Urartu form an important land link between Europe and Asia. Examples of Early Bronze Age craftsmanship on display include silver bull and cup. Iron Age objects from Urartu include winged bulls and griffins used to decorate furniture.

Urartu artefacts in British Museum

Bronze Urartian Helmet, 9th-8th century BC. Shield of Sarduri II, King of Urartu, 8th Century BC

Urartu still has a huge influence on Armenians – from people naming their newborns with the names of the kings of Urartu, to shops that are called “Urartu”. In fact, this historical heritage has formed the whole nation with its traditions and culture. 

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