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VISHAPS

In the upper reaches of the river Azat, above the monastery of Geghard, among volcanic boulders are scattered extraordinary stone sculptures of fish, which the local population has given the name «vishaps» (dragons). On the body of vishaps fish scales are visible, on the head - the gills, eyes, nostrils and mouth. There are also vishaps found in the posture of a sitting bull, whose head rests between the front legs.


Vishaps were also found on the slopes of Aragats (near Amberd Castle) and in Akhalkalak region. One vishap has been taken to Yerevan and lies in a garden in front of Dramatic Theatre.
It is believed that vishaps were made in the II millennium BC. This is confirmed by the fact that an Urartian inscription was found on one of the vishaps found near the village of Garni. Vishaps, apparently, were the deities of water, soil fertility and pastures, as they are found exclusively near springs in the headwaters of rivers and canals. The fact that vishaps belong to the cult of water is proved by the fish «look» of vishaps.


Vishaps in the guise of a bull have the same value as the fish, and are also associated with the cult of water, because according to the ancient Armenian legend – the bull tears the clouds with its horns, and thus causes rain. And thunder is the roaring of the bull.


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