Karahunge is a very unique and almost unknown megalithic site in Armenia that may have had a much bigger regional influence than previously thought or understood. Research and understanding of its mysteries are incomplete. The promotion and preservation of the site are nonexistent.
The Stonehenge is a marvel of the ancient world, situated in the Salisbury plain west of London, England. It is the most famous megalithic site on earth and fully deserves its fame by the sheer size of the stones and their incredible technique of construction for their age. Like other similar sites all around Europe, it was sacred place for meeting, praying, burial, observing the celestial movements and praising the supernatural and the mystical.
The very venerable Stonehenge is in a sense unique in the world, but it may owe a big debt to an obscure Armenian megalithic site called the Karahunge. Quite simply, Karahunge and Stonehenge have identical names: KaraHunge / StoneHenge."Kar"means "Stone", in Armenian, and "Hunge" (Հունչ/Հնչել) means "Sound" or "Buzz". Amazing but true, Stonehenge may owe his name to the much older Karahunge site in Armenia. It is a striking and incredible similarity, to say the least, for two prehistoric and very distant sites.
Here are some theories: "Hunge" or "Henge" (as in Stonehenge) has no clear meaning in English or its preceding languages although some suggest it may mean hinge, as is the door hinge. Some theories claim that Stān means "stone", and either "hencg" meaning hinge (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or "hen(c)en" meaning "hanging". It is a fact that the upper horizontal tier of the Stonehenge stones sit in hidden pointed parts of the vertical stones as if acting like anchoring and stabilizing hinges. But the name Stonehenge itself may be much older than the introduction of the word hinge into modern day England.
Karahunge is situated just north of Sisian, on the narrowest region of Armenia proper sandwiched between the Armenian autonomous region of Artsakh- Karabagh to the east and the Azeri Naxichevan. Note that ''Xankandi'' on the map actually refers to Stepanakert, the Capital city of Artsakh
The remaining rocks of the original Karahunge defensive city walls. Note the numbering of the stones.
A festival of colors and reflections: Each stone is marked with its number in a bizarre and primitive form of paint identification probably from the Soviet days. Some pointed stones may have been a focal point with its narrow tip to reflect light on other nearby stones.
We shall underline that in no way we are implying that Karahunge may be as "important" or impressive as Stonehenge as a megalithic site. That is not the case, nor the issue. In fact, some of the Stonehenge stones are up to 7m and weigh 50 tons and mostly brought from specific quarries in Carmarthenshire in south west Wales. The distance from Carmarthenshire to Stonehenge is more than 110km, and the way these giant stones were moved to Stonehenge by land and sea is still a mystery and an incredible human accomplishment by itself.
Karahunge is more modest in sheer size, but it surely deserves a lot of interest. It is somehow unknown even among the general Armenian population and it rarely figures in brochures or books. We do not have official statistics, but the number of visitors to Karahunge is probably insignificant. The tourist accommodations near the site, the appropriate landscaping, signage and documentation are almost nonexistent to encourage more visitors. A site pretty much abandoned despite a new dynamic and flourishing tourism industry in Armenia.
Similar prehistoric megalithic stone structures exist all around Europe and beyond from Sweden to Russia. Menhirs, Dolmens, burial mound and barrows, Cromlech (stone chambers), and other types of prehistoric structures are highly appreciated everywhere they are found . Most of these sites are Neolithic (New Stone Age) 5000 BC and Bronze age 3000-2000BC and younger. In its style and form, Karahunge seems closer to another English megalithic site at Avebury, not far from Stonehenge. But somehow it is the famous Stonehenge that shares the same name with Karahunge which lies almost 4000km away, in a remote mountainous region in the Armenian Syunik (Սիւնիք) region!
I modestly dedicate this article about Karahunge to all Armenians around the World who courageously preserve their identity and their very old and unique culture. If these 7000 years old rocks are any indication, History and Culture are built over a long long period of time. And we all carry the burden to protect them against all odds and challenges.