The capital Artashat was founded during the reign of Artashes A, the representative of Artashesyan dynasty. The military leader Hannibal ran from Carthagen and got asylum in Armenia. King Artashes entrusted him the construction of the new capital. The works started in 197 BC and lasted 30 years. The city is located in the confluence of the Metsamor and Araks rivers. As Hannibal was the planner of the city, Artashat was called Armenian Carthagen as well. Popular Khor Virap is also situated here.
The name of the city is interpreted as «Artashes’s Joy». During the whole history of Armenia, though with some interruptions, it is the only city which had the status of the capital for 4 centuries. Even nowaday’s Yerevan and Erebuni haven’t been a capital for so long.
In 2007, 14th of September, archaeological group, lead by Jhores Kahchatryan, an ancient temple, dedicated to the god of Sun Mithra was found in the territory of Artashat. During the research it turned out that the temple was larger and more exquisite than even Garni temple. The studies started in 1970-ies, though Soviet power restricted doing researches in the territory of Turkey.
In 2007 it turned out, that the territory of ancient Artashat was 4 sq.km., which is 2,5 times larger than today’s territory; it had population of 155 000 people, which is 6 times more than today’s population. The fortress walls stretched on 10 km distance. Here an ancient toilet with sewerage of 2000 years old was found as well.
In 2008, 10th of June, a group of archaeologists, lead by Pavel Avetisyan, investigated the territory of Artashat and found a whole system of ancient baths. During the studies, administrative buildings of the temple were found.