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Noravank Birds Cave

Noravank Birds Cave

In comparison with the Bear Cave where bones of brown bear were found, the Mozrov Cave where visitors can enjoy the beautiful creations of the stalagmites and stalactites, or the Magel Cave where you will be greeted by the bats as you enter it and which will add more thrill to your visit, the visit to the Birds’ Cave will not appear much appealing and it is not one of the primary sites to see in Armenia. Yet, it’s beyond doubt worth a visit if you are passing by or near it.

Birds’ Cave: General

The Birds’ Cave is located 1.5 kilometers east of Areni Village. It can be found on the right side of the road taking to Noravank Monastery.

Birds’ Cave: Description

Birds’ Cave belongs to the Karst type of caverns. In case you don’t know, Karst is a landscape the formation of which is due to the dissolution of soluble rocks. Among those soluble rocks can be limestone, dolomite and gypsum.

The cavern consists of three rooms two of which, particularly the first and the second, are connected. Up and down the first room there are the so-called niches. These niches are also referred to as the basement and attic floors. Overall, the cave covers a territory of 500 square meters.

Birds’ Cave: Excavations

Proper studies were held in 2007-2008. A number of archaeological layers containing the remainders of material culture were uncovered in the first room and the opposite slope. Those remainders date back to the various stages of the Copper and Stone Ages. The radiocarbon examination of the items found in the layers showed that they go back to the period in between the last quarter of the fifth millennium BC and the first half of the fourth millennium BC. Among the findings were bone remnants, carbon, seeds and other organic remnants.

At the entrance of the first room there is the living area of the complex. It represents the remainders of the dwellings, strengthened floors and wells carrying economic significance. At the end part of the room there is an entire complex made of various size and shape clay structures. Also, various pots and jars used for food storage as well as wine presses were found. Based on these findings it is concluded that the complex had productive-economic significance. It is also proved by the remainders of grapes, plum, apricot, wheat and the seeds of cultivated plants, which were found in a perfectly preserved state.

The fact the organic remainders were so well preserved is explained by the climate inside the cavern. The cave’s unique and stable microclimate used to be ideal for producing and storing food. And it’s basically due to the cave’s microclimate that those organic remnants were excellently preserved.

The mentioned part of the cave was used for ceremonial purposes as well. Next to the clay-made structures the buried skulls of two adolescent women were found. The burials were performed in similar pots and in all likelihood, depict the early ideas and beliefs regarding fertility.

The studies held on the slope taking to the cave revealed the remainders of a defensive wall, which used to guard the entrance. The construction date of the wall is yet not set. It might be erected during the developed Middle Ages, because is some parts of the Copper and Stone Age layers traces dating to the 13th-14th centuries were also uncovered.

Who are the visitors of this site? These are either those people who are interested in archaeology and would not love to miss this piece of interest, or those who are traveling to Khor Virap Monastery, Areni Village or Noravank Monastery.

Lastly, the cave is really small with as already said three rooms. You won’t need any equipment to get to the cave, and you can be sure not to come out with all dirty clothes as you would if you visited the labyrinth of Magel Cave. Anyway, if a piece of advice is needed, then you needn’t ponder on which caves to visit, because if you have time, then consider all of them, especially if you love these underground spaces. Be sure a visit to the beautiful caves of Armenia the number of which is unfortunately not too long will be an adventure you will not forget.