Dvin – Medieval Capital of Armenia
Territory of Dvin was one of the most ancient settlements of the Armenian Highland as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. The city was built by Khosrov III (Kotak) (330-338) in 335. It became the new capital of Artacid Armenia. The city had a population of about 100,000 citizens. It had double town walls which were fortified with large round towers, and the citadel had a moat around it. On the top of the hill near citadel Artacid kings built their royal palace and church.
After fall of Artacids Dvin became the residence of Sassanid and Byzantine governors. Later it became the residence of Ruben Ishkhan. At the end of VII century Dvin became the capital of the province of Armenia – the North administrative unit of Arabic Caliphate (Armenia, Georgia, Armenia). Arabs called the city Dabil.
From the beginning of the 8th century, during the Arab rule, Dvin was a prosperous free-trade city of crafts and goods. Armenian and foreign written sources call Dvin the “Great Capital” and “Shahastan”
Six trade routes started from Dvin, which connected the city with Iran, Iraq, Assyria, the Byzantine Empire and countries of the Mediterranean basin. Goods manufactured in the renowned workshops of these countries were imported into Dvin. Production of the craftsmen of Dvin (pottery and textiles) was exported far beyond the borders of the country.
Decline of the city started at the beginning of the 10th century. During a major earthquake in 893, the main part of the city with it 70 thousand inhabitants was destroyed. But after short time Dvin was rebuilt.
In the middle of 10th century Dvin united with Armenian Kingdom (Bagratid).
The Byzantines conquered Armenia along with Dvin in 1045 from the Bagratunis. But soon after the battle of Manazkert (in 1071) Seljuks defeated Byzantine army and occupied main part of Armenia .At the end of 12th century Zaqaryan (Zakharyan) princes liberated Dvin and other Armenian territories and established their principality. Under their rule Dvin regained much of its former prosperity. In 1236 the city was completely destroyed by Mongols.