The Tondrak volcanic massif in the Tsakhkunyats mountains is the very prototype of a Tonir. Tondrak is a cone-shaped volcano with a circular base. According to tradition, when the god Vahagn once taught the Armenian rapyas (giant men and women) the art of war, they would gather around the fire of the Tondrak volcano after training.

They talked, cooked and ate. And one day, Vahagn took the ashes from the Tondrak fire and gave them to the giants, ordering them to be given to the people so that they could make a tonir and bake bread, and he also ordered the women to guard the tonir fire since it could burn permanently. After all this, Vahagn ascends to heaven and watches from above to make sure the oven fire doesn’t suddenly go out. Armenians still keep the “Vahagnakrak” given by Vahagn to this day.

The fire and smoke from the buried oven are symbols of strength and peace in the home. Sun-worshipping Armenians compared the oven to the setting sun. Armenian women, whenever they bake bread or prepare food, bow before it like a deity.