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
After death of Tigran Mec Armenian capital replaced to Artashat. But the city didn't lost its importance until XII century