Tigranakert (Tigranocerta) – Capital of Armenian Empire
Tigranakert was founded by Tigran II (Mec) during 70s B.C. as the new capital of the Armenian Empire in order to be in a more central position within the boundaries of the expanding empire. Ancient Armenian capital was built near present-day Silvan, Turkey, east of Diyarbakır. Later Tigranakert also was known as Martirosupolis, Muafarkin, Farkin, Nprkert.
To create this city, Tigranes forced many people out of their homes to make up the population. New Armenian capital had more then 100 thousand population. Armenia at this time had expanded east to the Caspian Sea, west to central Cappadocia, and south towards Judea, advancing as far as the regions surrounding what is now the Krak des Chevaliers. A Roman force under Lucius Lucullus defeated Tigranes at the Battle of Tigranocerta nearby in 69 BC, and afterwards sacked the city, sending many of the people back to their original homes.
The city’s markets were filled with traders and merchants doing business from all over the ancient world. Tigranakert quickly became a very important commercial, as well as cultural center of the Near East. The magnificent theater that was established by the Emperor, of which he was an avid devotee, conducted dramas and comedies mostly played by Greek as well as Armenian actors. Plutarch wrote (Lucull. 26.2) that Tigranakert was “a rich and beautiful city where every common man and every man of rank studied to adorn it.”
After death of Tigran Mec Armenian capital replaced to Artashat. But the city didn’t lost its importance until XII century.