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a city; center of Artashat Raion, Armenian SSR; located in the Ararat Valley on the Araks River and on the Yerevan-Dzhul’fa highway. Railroad station 29 km southeast of Yerevan. Population in 1969 was 15,000.
Artashat is the center of one of the leading viticultural regions. Wine-making, canning, and the production of instruments, parquet, and ceramic and pottery articles are among the industries of Artashat; the city has a spinning and knitting combine, a fruit combine and a furniture factory. It has a theater and the Museum of the Revolution.
The capital of ancient Armenia, which bore the name of Artashat, was founded about 176 B. C. on the Khor-Virapa hills near modern Artashat. The city was well fortified and, in comparison with the former capital, Armavir, more advantageously situated (important trade routes, including the silk route, passed near it). It was a major center for handicrafts, trade, and Hellenistic culture; the first Armenian theater was constructed in Artashat. The city was destroyed on several occasions (by the Romans in A.D. 58 and 163 and by the Iranians during 364–68). The middle of the fifth century marked the decline of the city as the capital of Armenia was moved to Dvin.