Treasures of Dvin on Display in Rome

The first bible to be printed in the Armenian language is on display in Rome exhibit

ROME—It is only fitting that Rome would opened its doors to an elaborate exhibition on the city of Dvin, the capital of Armenia between the fifth and ninth centuries on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of independence.

As part of the International Biennale of culture, an event developed around eleven historic, artistic, and archaeological exhibitions, Dvin exhibit at the Museo do Roma, is dedicated to archaeological discoveries found in and near the ancient capital of Armenia.

The city of Dvin connected Europe and Asia and was important for its geographical and strategic location along the Silk Road. More than 40 pieces, excavated from the archaeological ruins in the province of Ararat, are on display

“Dvin used to be the capital linking West and East, and it was the capital of the Silk Road. Armenian historian Anania Shirakatsi said that there were six commercial roads going out from the city linking to the Silk Road and to different parts of the world,” explained Armenia’s Ambassador to Italy Rouben Karapetian in an interview with

Dvin had 150,000 inhabitants and was an important trade center during medieval times. But in the year 893 an earthquake destroyed the city. The only things to survive were different works of art and a memory of the city.

These works of art give a sense of the greatness of the society there. Glass plates and ceramics, crucifixes and pots made of silver and bronze, as well as old coins from the time period and tapestries on display in the exhibit detail the life of Christ.

One in particular shows two chapters of the crucifixion and a model of a church sculpted in stone. A Bible from the fifth century, which was the first book written using the Armenian alphabet, is also on display.

“We wanted to present a small part of the heritage and the high level of culture that existed as expressed  in traditional ceremonies, in a manuscript, in the frescoes and in carpets of the 8th century of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Armenia is the first Christian nation in the world, we adopted Christianity in 301. We are also proud to have a small part of some artifacts of the Armenian Church,” added Ambassador Karapetian.

During the opening ceremonies traditional Armenian music was performed on the duduk. The exhibition is open to the public until January 29, 2012 and is expected to host the President Serzh Sarkisian when he travels to Italy in coming weeks.


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