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XII - XX AD - Goghtn Region, Nakhichevan
In early and developed medieval period in these settlements of national unification were founded number of large and small towns and cities. The origination of the latters is closely connected with the general progress of Armenia, social- economical power, gradual development of culture and unyoking from foreign countries, the battle for independence and freedom. In such conditions were founded the early medieval Yernjak, Giran, Azat, Vordvar, developed and later medieval period Jugha, Agulis, Shorot towns and village-towns.
All the above mentioned towns and fort-towns, as a rule, were founded on hte old world's important trading and court high-ways or no their crossing points passing by Nakhijevan territory, and served for the settlements as administrative-political, and cultural centers. Such a noteworthy town and cultural center has been medieval-period town Agulis of wine-abundunt Goghtn region.
The famous and ancient town Agulis of Goghtn or Goghtan region is one of the oldest and outstanding settlements of old Armenia, the past of which is full of cruel experiences and events. This town, many times mentioned in the history, was spread in Verin and Nerkin Agulis village's territory of present Nakhijevan Ordubad region, 3-3,5km towards west from Vordvar or Vorduat (now Ordubab) town. Like numerous settlements of Armenian world Agulis too is spread in a large canyon stretching from north to south surrounded with mountains.
The town used to have an amazing panorama. It's noteworthy not only by its numerous medieval-period monuments, but also by beautiful natural sights. On the banks of the 1-1,5km wide and over 6-7km long (Storin Agulis too) mountain murmuring Agulis river, from east to west surrounded by rocks, on the many-colored, suburnt and bare rock-slopes throughout ages has settled and existed ancient Agulis. As an important center and settlement of Goghtn it has been mentioned since Vc. For example, Mesrop Mashtot's biograph historian Koryun, in one of Mashtot's visits to Goghtn mentions, that with his pupils he "went down to Goghtni Rotastak, to his former country estate". Here Rotastak, by celebrated linguist Hr. Atcharyan's etymology, means a "main town, a region's or districts's capital, which is the same as Agulis".
Agulis was situated in such geographic envirement, where throughout history have taken place number of important political and cultural events. Judging by the imformation that give our historians Agulis is very ancient, and being Goghtn region's center, its ducational, cultural and political life's, trading main hearth, gave numerous happy and sad memories to the past centuries of Armenian history. The numerous remainders of material-culture and the architectural monuments evidencing about hte historical stormy past and antiquity of Agulis are still standing, half-destroyed, disorganizely spread and connect with reality this inhabited-with-many-Armenians- town's past.
Here, in this ancient settlement of Goghtn, according to the information of Vc historian Movses Khorenatsi, the national singers kept unforgettably their ancestors' Hercuean legends, preised and glorified, by mythological standarts told-described the Armenian pagan gods and kings, told the generations about their heroic deeds. The legend transfers the Armenian life of this settlement to the historical epoch coming directly after the Deluge. According to one of the legends, after the Deluge Noy's family met the dawn in here, from which extracted Aygulis (down)- Agulis name. And according to another legend "Agulisner, Armenian aygi= garden and lis=luys= light. There is a legend about that Adam and Eve, after being banished from Paradise were thinking that the dark night would rule forever. But when they came to the place, where now Agulis is situated, the day broke out and Adam exclaimed, "Ayg-luys= lusabats (dawn), luys (light)".
According to another legend Tadevos apostle spent the night in there and when awaking in the morning, said aknluys (dawn), from which was stuck Agulis name. The explanation of Agulis name by Agulistsi Soghomonents Soghomon "Agulis' name" legend, which most likely was spread also among Agulisians, is very interesting, ***
According to Gh. Alishan's etymology Agulis name, which by the local inhabitants' dialect was called Igulis, Yugyulis, Egylis, Igalis, "by pitako etymology means Aygeok- lik, that is really full of gardens". We should add to the explanations of the mentioned legends that the "Akn luys", "Aygaluys", "Aygeok lik" and other names given to Agulis are very natural and dear. Here, in the lap of surrounding-the-town bare and sunburnt Gindara, Aghasar, Kamku sar, Konglash, Khos, Huri (Hori) glukh, Alangeaz, Kotchghnots, Gindzak and other mountains it really is a settlement full of gardens. Agulis' dawn stands out on the bare background of the surrounding mountains.
In XIc (in 1010) Sargis catholicos called the town by name Agulik. The XIIIc historian St. Orbelyan too called it Agulik. In many hand-written records ot XIV- XVIIcc it was called "village- town", "capital", "trading town Agulis". Zakaria Agulestsi from XVIIc called the town Agulis, Akulis. According to A.Araskhanyan's explanation, "Agulis (Verin Agulis) is the collective name of Agulis and the Veringet (Vrgit) village... And in old Armenian Agulis (genetive case- Aguleats) is understood as the plural". A. Araskhanyan then going back to S.Sargsyan's explanation that Agulis place-name was originated from aygi+lik (garden+full) words, mentions that "it would be more useful to say taht Agulis in local dialect is called Igalis (pronounced as French s), and the local inhabitants- Igulatsi... By academician S.Yeremyan's information Goghtn region's Voshiogh called country estate mentioned in M.Khorenatsi's history, where together with Goghtn's and Nakhijevan's other country estates Tigran inhabited with Azhdahak's generations, appeared to be Agulis. In connection with this he mentioned, to place "Voskioghay" we should remember that in Armenian Agulisian dialect Agulis' canyon is called "Askazur", which means "Voske Dzor (golden canyon)"; we think thaty the present "Agulis" name should have originated from Oskiola, so we place this area in the territory of present Agulis". If consider acceptible this reasoning, then we can come to a probable conclusion that ancient Voskiogha called country estate preserved its name till VIII- IXcc, after which it was renamed Argulik, Akulis, Agulis. By the way, linguist A. Gharibyan considered probable, that Agulis' canyon "Voskedzor", "Oskiola" means Sakadzor (a saks' settlement). N. Mar thinks that in VIII- VIIbc from Russian southern steppes to Transcaucausia and Armenia intruded syuts (saks) and local tribes' (ima Armenians) joining were originated zoks and their dialect. By M. Abeghyan's explanation "the old mythological name Dahak, as is known, became Zohak, from which was originated Zok. So Goghtn region's inhabitants' present Zok name is nothing, but the old "zarmk Azhi- Dahakay_ names remainders...". Lately S. Umaryan expressed the idea that "the Armenians called the new-comer mars (in persian mar means snake) by their God's name- Zok, which is Zohak (giant) name's short version". So, it becomes clear, that by the above-mentioned thoughts Voskioghan, Voskedzor were extracted from sak and zohak named, from which was originated named zok. Therefore we should suppose that with such an old originated name zok must have been somehow inscribed or remembered in historiography and other sources. But the historical sources keep silence about this matter. And only in the sources of the end of XVIIIc we meet "zok" name or it dialect. By the way, as have noticed Gh. Alishan and E.Lalayan the mass speaking this dialect spoke it only with each other and always used the simple Armenians with others. This fact is very peculiar also to Agulis' lythograph inscriptions' language. The circumstance that Hrachya Atcharyan and S.Sargsyan while examining this dialect, called it Agulisian and not zok's or zokian dialect, was not accidental.
By our examinations "zok" name's above-mentioned etymological explanations are not persuasive. We think more probable and acceptible the varian of K. Ptkanyan, which mentions that "zok" name has originated from ays, ayd, ayn(this, that, that) demonstrative pronouns' hok, vok, dok, nok way of use. In fact, in Agulis' dialect, which spoke Agulis, Tsghna, Tnakert, Disar, Kaghakik and Handamej villages by "z" proposition's use, which was peculiar to XVIII- XIXcc dialects and medieval-period Armenian, it got "zhok", "zok" name. A circumstance, which eventually originated in XVIII- XIXcc and in XIXc travelling and ethnographic examinations found its place by zok and zokian dialect names. This circumstance lacks historical basis. It carries just the linguistic element's influence, such as in K.Polis' dialect for using work "hos" (here) very often people called Polsetsians "hoshoser", in our days, in Yerevan's dialect th repatriates received "aghbarner" name for using "aghbar" way of word yeghbayr (brother), etc.
Agulis, which has special mountain natural- climatic conditions since ancient times has organized and developed by considerably high town-building culture for its epoch. Being situated on one of the Armenia's main trading roads, the town, since Armenian nation's nationalism organization and development period and then from the point of view of early medieval period's social- politics and economy brought out more certain features. Being originally a cultural center, here, together with numerous proffessions at the same time quickly developed also the trade. Together with X-XIIIcc feudal Armenia's other towns' (Ani, Kars, Khlat, Kharberd,etc) development and prospering Agulis too pregeressed, and was one of the developed and outstanding twons of late medieval-period Armenia, was in various trading-relations with Russia and other European towns.
The examinations of Agulis' historico- architectural, archeological monuments, its territorial-scheme, town-building questions evidence that Agulis, like the other medieval- period Armenia's towns had a three-part scheme composition. The town being situated in a canyon surrounded with mountain-ridges from two sides, on its highest point, which in XVI c was known by Vern Get name, wehre the canyon's mountian-ridges have come close to each other, was situataed the town's citadel. Down the citadel were spread the town's second and third parts, the first one of wich in medieval town-building was usually called shahastan, and the second- a suburb. In Agulis' shahastan, which now is Verin Agulis was situated the greater part of the town's administrative-political, social, religious, trading, professional constructions and dwelling places. The second part of the town, the suburb was spread in the territory of the present Storin Agulis or Agulyats Dasht village, where up to this day are noticable the remainders and traces of protective ramparts and forts. By the way, the dAsht or, by Agulisian dialect, the Desht comes up in hand-written historical sources since the middle of XVIIc and was mostly called Agulyats Dasht. For example, in 1690 in their St. Stepanos or three bays church some Hasmavurk' hand-written memorial evidences, that it was written "in village called Aguleats Dasht", adn another memorial evidences, that it was written "in Dasht called palce". According to this, Dasht (valley) name originated from the name of the flat, field-like place, where were situated aGulis' ancient suburb districts. The Dasht's or the present Storin Agulis' territory, which is situated in the wide plain of the canyon- brim, comparing with Agulis really resembles a field. According to E.Lalayan Dasht name "was called Dasht for the local position", which in upper and bottom parts of the canyon had ramparts and gates, which were closed every evening. Agulis Dasht village ,"in 1820- 1825 Armenians bought from Persian king Abas Mirza and called Storin and Nerkin Agulis... it has 1254 inhabitants, all Armenians". A. Araskhanyan correctly noticed that "it's preferrable to call it Storin- Agulis or even better- Dasht Agulis. Nerkin- inside and not bottom, for which the national word is nerkevi (bottom), and not nerkin (inside)... But because the local people call Storin Agulis Dasht (Desht) and by Dasht name it has been known in Armenian historiography of last centuries, so it would be better at least to call it Dasht- Agulis".
As the historical and hand-written sources evidence Agulis or Verin Agulis since XvIc to XXc' 10's was mainly divided into two large districts- Verin and Nerkin. The latters included over 10 remarkable districts- Verin get, Vankitagh, Nurijanents mahla, Dzig pugh (street), Khachkashen, Khndzadzor, Shrnatak, Linji (Lanji), Meydan or Maleyi Khupat, etc. The last district, which is now the administrative part of Verin Agulis, used to be the most practical district of the ancient town. Still in the second half of XIXc there there were "100 Agulisian common work-shops, 4 remarkable fabrics, a court, 3 prosecutors, 4 village-heads... ". The "prosecutors and princes were elected by people, with His Greatness' agreement...". Agulis, which as mention separate sources had over 8000 Armenian families inhabitants, in XVIIIc also had "Armenian arm", which leaded "Aguletsian military-leader" and it population was "... as 10.000 Armenian families". By hte way, A. Araskhanyan, considering Agulis' inhabitants' number uncertain, mentioned, that "...even if we make the 10 000 family inhabitants 10 000 inhabitants (so, around 2000 families) then for Agulis it would be considered exaggeration, it which... now only has 400-500 families (no more than 2500 inhabitants), could hardly ever had its double, and of course not four times more nad even more thatn that inhabitants". A. Araskhanyan came to this conclusion having Verin Agulis in his mind. But the historical sources refer to the general comprehension of Agulis. It also refers to Storin or Dasht Agulis or ancient town's those sections, which in XVIII- XIXcc were already ruined and uninhabited. In that case, of course, agulis' population is its prospering period could reach if not 10 000, then 6-8 000 families. AFter several devastations and firings only in Verin Agulis in the beginning of XIXc were clearly seen remainders of 1700 houses. In XVII- XIXcc a unique beauty, boast and charm gave to Agulis the two and three story dwelling houses built in its ancient gardens, 120-150 work-shops and shops, several schools, the rich library, the textile, leather, oil and ohter factories, motels, over 17 springs, bathing- houses and drugstores, markets... and at last its 12 pretty convents and churches. The Armenian cultural workers and ethnographers described and inscribed with amazement Agulisians' generosity and initiative, trading, creative characteristics, Agulis' town and cultural full-of-swing-life, which preserved its face and significance till the beginning of XXc. For example, Mesrop Toghiadyan, who visited Agulis in the beginning of XIXc, wrote, "In Agulis I saw beautifully ornamented picutures". And the English lady Shantr, who was in Agulis in the middle of XIXc, inscribed about it, "The Small Haik (Armenia) is called Paris... Agulis' inhabitants are mostly women. They are tall, have alittle dark colored skin- almost the type of Arabic beauty, many of them are ramarkable with science and art, many of them have studied medicine in Europe. It can be considered a center of genius, hard-working, educated and rich nation".
Pertch Proshyan, the celebrated representative of Armenian calssical literature, who in 1867- 68 has taught in Agulis schools, in his memorials about Aglulisian full-of-swing life, mentioned, "Agulisian market is 100 zashen territory in the middle of the village, around 500 shops in it two sides... this market's small shops have relations with Russian and European trading houses. Every Agulisian is a tradesman, his trade is in silk and cotton, it's in his hands, we can say, the silk and cotton export from Transcaucausia to Russia and Europe, and that international trading center is Agulis. The Agulisian gathers the silk and cotton from Yerevan and Nukhi, sends to the large city workers and goes back to his family to take a rest during winter.
So there should have been a center, where Agulisian tradesmen could tell each other their ideas, from there to write and recieve their accounts and papers... and here that few shops is the center with real meaning, it's the AGulisians stock market. AFter mid-day you will only meet pedlars in here, in the morning you can see all the Agulisians... the politeness, modesty, mutual respect is Agulisian's characteristic...
According to ethnograph E. Lalayan's examinations, Agulis till the end of XIXc "by the mode of life of inhabitants resembles a town and even stands higher several village-towns, as , for exaple, Nakhijevan". An the world- famous artist M.Saryan, remembering about the worth-remembering days spent in Goghtn by Agulisian's invitation in 1914, wrote with amazement "... we got near a defile, on the brim of which was noticable the beautiful Agulis. It's one of the small Caucausian defiles, which goes down to Araks and keeps the town on one of its comfortable slopes. The stream wasn't waterfull, but instead, here there were many springs... In the center of the town was St. Tomas church with wonderful wall-pictures painted by Hovnatanians. There are number of small churches in Agulis. They very much harminize the general picture of the town built on unique ladder-like area".
In XIXc by Agulisian dialect composed and sung "Praise to Agulis" song presents the town with unique love and need.
"Praise to Agulis"
Agulis is in two canyons
The temple and houses are placed in the center
The gardens are spread next to them
The river flows through the village
Agulisins love to sing songs
That's why the book prises them very much
And the Hayi (Armenian) Banirn nearth's say
Still tell about its beautiful games.
If Shah Abas didn't destroy Agulis
Who knows what would be with it
In the entire world was only one Agulis
That 1000- house Agulis".
Number of historical events of this medieval period Armenian outstanding town's past were remembered as in XVIII- XIXcc travelling and ethnographic, so in XVI- XVIIcc historians' works. But number of past events of town Agulis, which participated in many historical events, still need to be examined.
As number of historical and hand-written souces evidence Agulis has been destroyed and rebuilt several times because of Arabic and Seljuk, Persian and Turkish invaders' campaings. And because of often devastations, the ruling principality, as well as the local princes' vexing politics Agulis' inhabitants little by little , in different times spread around the world, in course of which already in the beginning of XXc it lost its already in the brim of downfall position and glory.
In late medieval period Agulis has been destroyed many times, especially in XVIIIc. For example a Haysmavurkian writer in Dizar village's church of Goghtn, who witnessed the events, in his memories about Storin Agulis' destruction by Persians, mentions painfully, "In èÖÐ (1730)... was a large disturbance and indignation and noise and war that is between two autonomous kingdoms of Osmanians and Persians and was a great persecution of us, Christians... and came the Persian nation to village-town Orduvar gathered from there army from there and entered the Dasht called village, 20 000 riders and carnaged (Ö)300 people, children and women and drove away (ÀÖ) 800 people and more and I witnessed with my eyes and saw the Holy Bible in hadns of a Persian captive and my guts mixed and my heart ached".
In history one of Agulisian distructions is known by "Agulisian catastroph" event; in 1752 Atrpatakan's khan Azat seizing the occasion of ruling anarchy, campaigns to seize the Yerevanian region. But the Yerevanian garrison founght them back and the Georgian army came to help. The cruel khan Azat on the retiring way demands food and money for hi army from Agulisian prince Yesayi. Receiving a negative answer the khan attacks Agulis in October 12. After a short resistence the town was seized. Azat khan's enemies destroy and rub Agulis and its surronding villages for three days, kill part of the inhabitants and drive to Persia 1200 captives. One of the witnesses of this destruction inscribed, "in third church St. S temple detroyed and destructed, and took the Sacred pure remainders... many-many Christian men and women, young and children were killed by sword, and colored the land with blood, and inhabited the village with terror; both the churches and inhabitants were made naked as a new-born child. And after so many killings they robbed and imprisoned the rest of the Christians and from miserable Agulis and from all the surrounding villages è´Ö (1200) Christians, and destroyed ther sacred temple and left uninhabited, as if ruined ten years ago".
Agulis, which after Hin Jugha, was the second rich town of Yerevanian region in XVII- XVIIIcc, after this destructions gradually collapses.
Its inhabitants' emmigration becomes noticable. During Azat khan's destructions, as well as later on, most part of its inhabitants go to K.Polis, Italy, Shushi and other places. In K.Polis the Agulesians found "Bek- oghlu" famous district and cemetery, which still decorates Shushi's panorama.
Another reason of Agulis' collapse, its inhabitants' emmigration was that Agulisians being in close trading relations with European developed and leading towns, left the native town and often settled down there permanently. This happening was correctly commented by an Agulisian. For example, Agulisian H.Ter- Hakobyan in his "Agulisian collapse" article mentioned correctly, that "In present when a comfortable situation creates, she (Agulisian woman) leaves her country, her house and place, and with her husband and children goes there, where her husbad's job is. Today so many houses can be pointed even only in Agulis... which are left completely empty and uninhabited". And so, in XVIII-XIXcc small Agulisian colonies originate in Nukhi, Zakatala, Kakhi, Shushi, K.Polis, Tiflis, Astrakhan, Tavriz, Moscow, Mazandaran and elsewhere. One of Agulis' inhabitants' emmigration reasons in XVI- XIXcc was the vexing principality of local rulers- Turkish and Persian, as well as the not so much favourable geographic- positional condition of the town. The original and different- shape mountains surrounding Agulis are bare, lack nautre; most part of the arable land is from clay and is sandy. Adn when it rains as from pails the rain-water flowing down the sunburnt slopes, with which mix the large pices of stones and mud, floods, drives away and flattens everything. Agulis has seen many such baneful floods. In history are known number of Agulisian floods, from which the most deadful are the ones that took place in July 26 of 1872, and in May 21 (23) of 1884. The 1884 flood was terrifying. According to the witnesses' written evidences the hail- stone was as big as an egg, and the mountain river Agulis, which consists of three streams starting from mountain Koshlu and interflowed near Gegheretsik village above Agulis, suddenly foamed, brought large rock-pices to agulis with the rain-water-stream flowing from mountains, destroyed tens of houses, shops, work-shops, bridges... everything was covered with mud and suffocated tens of people. One of the witnesses of this flood inscribed "In May 23 of 1884 after midday at 3 or 4, over Kamku mountain raised a large black, very black cloud... came from over Verin Agulisian Khos called mountain to Nugdenu mountain... hailed with large hail-stones, as large as a 3 pound stone... started a flood, such a flood, which nobody has seen till today, 100 times higher than the previous ones...". And after such events Agulisians left the native town. On this circumstance paid attention S. Hakhnazaryan, who described Agulis' 1884 flood and the damage it caused; "I thought that because of such event or Persian vexing yoke many people from our surrounding villages emmigrated; there are still Armenian churches in that villages... The mentioned churches (the word is about Goghtn region's Gandzak, Unis, Anapat, Vanand, Trunis, Dastak, Nustus villages) throughout several tens of years will be completely harmed and will disappear (the author's prediction is now a reality).
In the historical past because of distructions and floods were also destroyed and ruined most part of Agulis' architectural and historical monuments. It was also favoured by the often happening earthquakes in Agulis and its surroundings, some of which were 8- ball strong shakes. Agulis' 1666', 1668', 1880' and 1881's earthquakes that happened in January 4 of 1666 in Agulis "were ruined many serais, forts and ramparts..." and during the January of 1880 earthquake "In the surrounding of Agulis was harmed Tovma Arakyal convent with its adjacent dwellings, were destroyed many churches".
From the material hariloom that got to us from Agulis an exceptional value and place have its architectural monuments- convents, complexes and churches, bridges and national dwelling houses, lythographs left on monuments and grave-stones. This material culture's monuments, created and accumulated during the secular history of Agulis, besides the stamp of ages an cruel-period experiences also carry the Agulisian's fate and catastrophes of historical past. Unimitable, but at the same time very dear to each other those monuments together with the original and unique nature artistically and historically evaluate its unique historical past. Unfortunately up to this day from Agulis' historico- architectural complexes and tens of other monuments, the number of wich is over 50, in aRmenian architecture's history are only known 2-3 monuments- Tovma convent, St. Christaphor and St. Hovanes- Mkrtich churches, and in a brief way. With a comparatively detailed information is presented only St. Tovma convent, which by its fame and cultural role found place in XIXc traveller's and ethnographer's, as well as in works describing architecutural works.
Agulis' other religious and worldly standing monuments being in the shade of St. Tovma convent's fame were left out of examiner's view.
From agulis' monuments the foundation of St. Tovma convent, St. Christaphor and Mets Astvatsatsin churches the legend refers to the 1c (bc).
In the row of similar Armenian monuments they have equivalent building art, interesting architectural solutions and are worth attention and evaluation. In the middle of XIXc from Agulis' 12 convents and churches in Verin Agulis in quite well-condition were standing 8, and in Storin Agulis only 2. In the thickly- populated town that monuments together with other architectural constructions represented a beautiful sight. In present along the historical town still stand or are in half-destroyed condition part of Agulis' monuments. In the upper part of the town, in Verin Get, in entire ruins victoriously stands St. Stepanos church, a little below which is St. Tovma convent. In the south- eastern side of the convent, in Shrnatak district, till 1940 stood St. Minas church. Blow St. Minas, on the branch of Ginder mountain sits St. Christaphor or Mayr church, 400-500m towards south-west from which, on the right bank of the river are situated the poor ruins of St. Shmavon majestic church. 400-450m towards south-west from this church, directly on the mountain-slope, stands St. Hovanes- Mkrtich church-complex, from which around 300m down, in the Pokr Sar hill's plain place still stands st. Hakob- Hairapet church. And between Verin Agulis and Storin or Dasht Agulis, in the southern side of Verin Agulis, directly on the mountain- slope's comfortably place are situated the ruins of Mets Astvatsatsin large church- complex. In Storin Agulis or Dasht, in north-western district of the village still stand next to each other st. Nshan or Amarayin and st. Stepanos of st. Trinity churches. In different districts of the town completely destroyed or with little ruins are also noticable Holy Virgin or Kusants, Hakob Alpian or Endzanats Loys, St. Sargis churches, as well as 5-6 chapels, fort- territories and ruins of other monuments.
These historico- architectural monuments of Agulis with their large and small complexes seem to be stony nature in that cave surrounded with rocks. Some of the churches, as for instance St. Tovma convent, St. Hovanes- Mkrtich church, Mets Astvatsatsin during foreign invaders' campaigns served as fortified- hiding places. Besides that, Agulis' monuments stand out by their interesting peculiarities. From that point we should first of all mention the main vestry- constructions of Agulis' churches, which have polyhedral (five-hedral, seven-hedral, rectangle) and half-rounded compositions. Besides that in XVIIc repaired monuments, peculiar to Vaspurakan region's architectural- school style, was widely spread the use of baked brick. In monuments of Agulis brick was mostly used in separate sections, in constructions of domes, as well as in auxiliary constructions. From one side it was conditioned with getting cheap building-material, adn from otehr side quickly repair of the monument, as well as because of light volume of the building.
Standing or half-destroyed Agulis' monuments tell aobut local builders' soul and abilities, about Agulis' talented masters that blew breath and soul into stone. The examinations show that Agulis' monuments after 1 or 2 generations from their foundations-date were destroyed and repaired. That's why the ages left their stamp on these architectural monuments' building-art. The historical sources and monument lythographs evidence, that the present standing and half-destroyed monuments of Agulis throughout last centuries have been repaired and built in XVI - XVIIcc.
St. Minas church
This monument is situated in the south- eastern side of Dasht AGulis. It has a one- nave composition, the only entry of which is in western front. St. Minas in sources is remembered in XVIIc handwritings. The present construction, which leaves a chapel's impression, was most likely built on the ruins of the former church in XVIII- XIXcc. St. Minas, the adjacent vestibule and other near constructions were built from half- trimmed stone and were situated in the rampart. As the church, so its vestibule and the rampart are now ruined. The XVII- XVIIIcc lythographs and khachkars in the church- walls, as well as in the vestibule and in the monument's yard are presently either removed or broken and harmed.
According to the squaread beam inscription of St. Minas' entry H. Voskanyan considered this monument also a virgin's monastery.
As has been mentioned in previous chapters Agulis is placed in a canyon. Here, on two banks of river Agulis, besides the small plains, the town constructions have also stair-like stretched on the sunny slopes. This amphitheatre- like panorama, which stands out by a unique outline, is made more picturesque by the rising churches with dominating appearances in different districts, the secular platans, thisk nut-trees and giantic mulberry trees, the park of Aglis. Thanks to all these Agulis has interesting historic- cultural composition.
Unfortunately, throughout ages and especially since 1920's, during several tens of years because of building new dwellings and for other circumstances great part of Agulis' constructions have been destroyed and harmed. Here especially were harmed Verin Agulis' Verin get (district), Nurijanets Mahla, Khdzaydzor, Dzig pugh, Dasht Agulis' Lernalanj, north- western and other districts, the houses, ramparts and other constructions built in mountain- slopes, in the main and central parts of the town, in the bordering areas. Today in Agulis the comparatively unharmed preserved section is Vanki and Shrnatak districts.
The national architectural monuments of Agulis' one- story, two- story, three- story houses with rail and collonade balconies and halls were built according to the local natural- climatic conditions and the presence of building material. The openings of entries, gates and windows of the houses, the various and numerous balconies are stressed with vaulted covers and fine- carved ornaments, decorative details, which give the town a unique coloring, beauty and make it more original.
The dwelling houses of Agulis by their style and architecture divide into three main types. The first are the houses of old Armenian glkhatun's composition. In such houses are noticable the elementary and middle period developing ways. They are first of all four, then two, and later on one- pillar constructed houses.
A small group of Agulis' houses also have some peculiar elements of Persian architecture, which are insignificant and in XVIII- XIXcc have already lost their traces. A large section of town- houses was built by European style. Most part of Agulis' XVII- XIXcc houses belong to this type. Generally, it should be noticed that the architecture of national houses in Agulis stands out by artistic solutions, by the use of pleasant architectural ways and by expressiveness. The architects and athnographers that visited Agulis praised as its twon and cultural life, so the national architectural monuments, built similar to European cities, the many-roomed houses with Agulisian flat and slopy covers. For example English lady Shantr has correctly mentioned about national houses of Agulis that town's "houses are generally large buildings, widened in right and left sides; along the front there is a covered balcony and other attics. Between the main building and the two wings there is a garden, carefully taken care of and tastefully decorated, with a large pool...".
Numerous similar constructions have been not only in Verin, but also in Dasht Agulis. M. Taghiadyan, comparing Storing or Dasht Agulis' houses iwth Verin Agulis wrote with admiration "the houses are majestic and have nice carvings".
Because the town is situated in a canyon, and also for having little flat area, and for other natural- climatic conditions its constructional scheme was made slovenly. Its main and secondary streets cross and go towards squares and monuments. As the main streets and squares, so part of the secondary streets are from cobble- stone. As part of the town- houses were built on slopy and rocky wings on the slopes were built boundary- walls, terraced gardens, wich gave a unique charm to the town's panorama. and tell many things about the ancient culture of an Agulisian, and his limitless love for nature. Though the town had few lands still Agulisian houses and palaces, most part of the architectural monuments were built by free, elevated architectural conceptions and had many- roomed schemes.
For having a comprehensive idea about Agulis' dwelling houses and its town- building problems we consider proper to cite Z. Aguletsi's below- mentioned part. "In ... April in Agulis' Verin district's Khratents street I Aguletsi Kurdunts Aghbamir's son Zakare who today iniciated , started building our native house; it was soon built. There was one large iwnter- house, on which was writter what year it was built in (BeTch), a large hall, which was built in (tchb), this is - several attics and underground constructions... I Zakaria this is what I built; 2 large, 1 small underground constructions, which were plastered, had stony vaults, a large brick plastered hall iwth a vault. Over this thre is another room, which has a staircase, 2 doors one to the large hall, the other to the front.
Over this room there is a tall room... it's good for old and young... when I built this house again, then I wrote the date (bTch Ts) for passing it from grandfathers to grandfathers, generations to generations". So, we see that Z. Aguletsi in 1670 rebuilding his 250years old (founded in 1420) native- house describes that it consisted of a "winter- house", 102 years old hall and several underground- constructions and attics. And in 1670 during rebuilding that house he builds 2 large and a small underground-rooms, large, small and middle-size "maghazas", an open balcony and 11 large and small "rooms". After building such a many- roomed house Aguletsi, most likely having in mide the usual numerous-roomed constructinos of Agulis' houses, he is not satisfied with his small house.
In the decorative and architectural art of Agulis' national houses we should mention that pert of them have been wall- painted, surrounded with gardens, various large and small flower- gardens, grape- vines and had had 3-4m high stony fence. All these obviously speak about the Agulisian worker's technical knowledge, skillfullness and abilities of decoratively precessing architectural ways.
Agulis' national architecture also left its good effect on the neighboring districts- Kaghakik, Shorot, Gagh and Tsghna. From this point are peculiar up to this day in Tsghna preserved XIXc around 18-20 one- story and two-story dwelling houses, which stand out both for their many- room schemes and architectural solutions.
Here, in Tambri district, among the next-to-each- other-placed 6-7 half-destroyed houses is also situated Kimitas' grandfathers' - Soghomonents palace (gr. 10). This palace, which stands out by its many- room composition, is situated on the height of the canyon- slope. Unfortunately, during the last decade Soghomonents palace has turned into ruins, and had most likely been two- story.
In ancient Armenian world since very old times water has been adored. And it's not accidental that up to this day our nation regards wataer witht a unique reverence. It's thanks to the fact that in each corner of Armenian mountain- world from original mountain- slopes and canyons by canals and paved streams, clay and stony pipes the cheerful sping- waters were brought to the settlements, main road-sides.
Building spring in Armenia has been a greatly- respected job and this job which deserves the kindest blessing for an Armenian has become a symbol of longing and desire, eternity and immortality.
As in every corner of the whole Armenian world, so in Agulis spring and spring- building have deserved a unique respect. In Agulisian dialect spring was called "khov" "khav", the origination of which is unknown. Agulisians loved their spring- khovs very much and as once has noticed celebrated artist M. Saryan the Agulis' springs' "Architectural decorations the town inhatitants keep very carefully".
In Agulis almost every main street and church has a tastefully and beautifully decorated spring, which are built from trimmed and half- trimmed stone and most of them still work well. Such are, for example the springs of Vank district, Nurunts, St. Tovma convent, St. Christaphor, St. Hovanes- Mkrtich churches, Dasht Agulis' churches, Mahtesi Melkum, etc. From the waterfull waters of numerous Agulisian springs Agulisians in front of their houses and gardens had created number of large and small basin- lakes. Here are spread vaulted and rectangle, closed with walls from three sides and with basins, with vaulted openings, as well as open- type spring- constructions. Agulisian celebrated scientist A. Araskhanyan correctly mentioned about Armenian springs adn almost Agulisian springs in his "Pekhi- spring and Snasents- khov" article "An Armenian, Armenian nation loves and respects his springs, to each ot them he gives special names. I don't know whether there is in the world such a nation, that would boast for its native springs like Armenians... and, if you ever want to feel the home- sickness of a migrant Goghtian Aguletsian- just remember Snasents- khov and he will cheer up and in mind will feel as if at that moment he enjoyed its water and together with it his country's air... Hardly in whole Caucausia, I dar say in whole... world be such good springs in so a such a small territory, as in Goghtn's heart Agulis, and so much care for protecting them, such a system of underground canals and water- wells...It's an admiration. But what I yearn for, my heart's favourite is Snasents- khov. Remember it; it's out of the village, on the road taking to the far- away gardens. Its water is fast, clear and waits for its visitors".
Z. Aguletsi near Snasents spring has mentioned that "Snasents spring's old name was third- khav; this spring's two springs have dried out; one Aguletsi named Khojints Tuman wanted to take out from here and only two- finger- high water came out, he left it, was in 1662. In 1661 Melik Melkum built two springs, one in front of his house and the other in Meydan district, near Melik Aghavel's house. Another Agulisian, a tradesman Nuri in 1616 in Verin district built another spring, which was recalled Nurunts khav. Pghji or Prji spring built near Agulisian spring was also remarkable. As Z. Agulistsi informs among Agulisian convents and churches, the numerous springs of the town Shabi or Shambi spring has been a remarkable and waterfull spring, where every year the Agulisian religious class performed the water- blessing ceremony.
As the national houses of Agulis, so these small architectural monuments- springs generalize and give a detailed idea about Agulis' architectureal heirloom and its art.
Schools, Educational Centers
In Goghtn region the origination of Armenian written language and illumination has a secular history. Here, till the creation and use of Armenian phonetic language have been certainly used the before Christianity sacred writing and literature, as well as the rock- picturing writing. The irrefutable evidence of the latter are the numerous rock- pictures in Goghtn's north- eastern side, Zangezur mountain- ridges' highest peek- on Kuputjughi, Navasar or Tapanasar mountain. In the settlements of this region the propogating of written language and illumination is closely connected with Mesrop Mashtots' name. According to Mashtots' biograph Koryun's certain information Goghtn was one of Mesrop Mashtots' most favourite regions and for creating the Armenian letters it was in Goghtn, that Mashtots "was engrossed in sad thoughts and was trapped". And before the creation of letters with his students Mashtots had left for Goghtn, where "first came out Goghtn's prince... whos name was Shabat and being a hospitable person kindly fawned upon him... And the celebrated one immediately making use of his evangelical art iwth prince's loyal help started (preaching) in the region". Even after the creation of Armenian letters Goghtn was one of the first places, where Mashtots opened the first schools and "here, with the help of kind Shabat he filled the region with christ's gospel- greetings, and in all the villages of the region he arranged sacred monastic classes".
In Agulis, which is Goghtn's central and the most outstanding country estate, the first schools were founded by Mesrop Mashtots. Later on, as in ohter settlements of Armenia, in Agulis the education, writing- arts arrangement and the cultural life reached unprecedented development especially in XII- XVIIcc. In that period the schools adn educational centers adjacent to St. Tovma convent and St. Christaphor church did cultural and educational great work. From rich handwritings of St. Tovma convent's center only few things have got to us. Those saved relics refer to XIV- XVIIIcc, which are the outstanding samples of letter- writing, miniature and book- binder art. The examination of the preserved hand- writings evidences that in the school adjacent to that convent on manuscripts worked tens of writers and decorators, book- binders, writing- art's commentors and manuscript writers. An outstanding sample of writing art, for example, is in 1375 here Vardan writer's recopied Gr. Narekatsi's "Tragedy Book" work. Another journal "was arranged by the historian... in 1432, with the hand of sinfull and unskilfull writer Tuma, who loved writing...". In XVc in St. Tovma's writing-house number of books were multiplied and picture- painted also by Mateos writer, Barsegh Shnorhali's biograph, etc. In Armenian phylology are known in Agulis' writing- houses written around 90 handwritings, 15 of which are kept in Yerevan's Matenadaran after Mashtots name. They are written perfectly, decorated with numerous highly artistic miniatures and decorative writings. In XVI- XVIIIcc in Agulisian writing- houses number of hand-writings were multiplied nad miniatured by Hovsep precepter, Sahak, Sargis writers, Grigor precepter, Yeprem writer, Azaria bookbinder, Grigor, Poghos, Stepanos Tsghnetsi and many others. St. Tovma convent's school and educational center especially stood out in XVIIc, when it was one of the remarkable centers of medieval Armenian cultural life, the developed teachers, picture- painters and writers of which in that century created more fruitful works.
Besides the writing- houses of St. Tovma or St. Christaphor church number of hand- writings were also written in St. Shmavon, St. Hovanes- Mkrtich, Mets Astvatsatsin, Dasht Agulis churches. Writing art lasted in Agulis till the beginning of XIXc. The writing centers in here have been very often destroyed and robbed by barbaric invaders. Such a robbery painfully describes in 1477 written and in 1663 in Agulis' St,. Tovma rearranged "Tchashotsi" work, "In èØÈÀ (1789) Mustafa khan came to Agulis, and robbed Tovma apostle's convent, the belongings of the church were captured, dishes, silver, books... this Tchashots book was captured by the unlawfull hands, came to Gharadagh called place, I Mizkhtian Gaspar's son priest Petros bought it for ºèÒ shahus".
In XVIIc in Agulisian school taught famous artist and poet Naghash Hovnatan. According to biograph- phylologists after graduating from Agulis' St. Tovma school Naghash stays in Agulisian school as a teacher and a deacon. In the handwritings written and miniatured here Naghash Hovnatan called himself "writer Hovnatan", "deacon Hovnatan". Among his written hand- writings besides highly artistic picture- writings there are also nature- pictures, flower- ornaments, which speak about Naghash Hovnatan's inborn artistic gift. A noteworthy handwriting of writing- art, for example is in 1682 in Agulis miniatured one of his works- #3628 handwriting of Yerevan's Matenadaran after Mashtots name, the picture- decoration of the cloth-made cover of which also belongs to Naghash.
The examination of recopied handwritings in Aguilisian schools and writing- houses lets us suppose, that the scientific level of the school adjacent to St. Tovma covent corresponded to the medieval Armenia's precepters' degree, where had reached obvious organization teaching phylosophy, mathematics, oratorical art, writing art, grammar, teology, painting and other subjects. According to handwritten materials Agulis' St. Tovma school in the second half of XIVc was governed by remarkable thinker "Hovanes philosopher", in the middle of XVc- "leader, religious father and teacher Hakob", in the beginning of XVIc "Barsegh leader" and other outstanding heads.
In XVIIc, as also evidences historian A. Davrizhetsi, by means of communities in tens of Armenian regions, towns and villages were opened schools and other educational hearths. Poghos and Movses precepters, and many others following their example went around villages and in many settlements adjacent to convents founded schools. For example in regions of Nakhijevan Movses and Poghos precepters founded new schools in Shorot, Agulis, Astapat and elsewhere. Besides the st. Tovma famous school of Agulis their newly "founded school" "the supervisor of which was Andreas", who taught his pupils "social education". This school, where studied 50-60 pupils was under the care and patronage of Agulis; community. In Andreas priest's school studied as boys, so girls. Later on when shah Abas cut Andreas priest's head (in 1618) he "brought his body to Agulis' church, which is now Khtsadzor church, and it was buried".
After Eastern Armenia joint Russia the Armenian culture and art started developing. In many Armenian- inhabited Transcaucausian cities (Tiflis, Baku), Yerevan, Echmiadzin, Alexandrople, Kars, Shushi and elsewhere were founded number of secondary, eparchial, elementary, parish and other schools and institutions. Only in XIXc in Agulis we meet several types of schools; e.g. church, social, house or individual type educational hearths, where the study was 2-5 years. By the way, Agulisian rich and prince families always patronized and helped financially and materiallly the educational hearths. In 60's of XIXc the openings of schools in Agulis, the history of teaching and local theatre life are closely and directly connected with Armenian classical writer and teacher Pertch Proshyan's name. Thanks to number of written documents it was known long ago that in 1867 thanks to P. Proshyan's direct participation and supervision in Agulis were opened coeducational schools. As a teacher and director of boy's school, Proshyan in short period, during only a year of work in Agulis gained great personality and trust and was worth people's sympathy.
In founding Agulisian schools, arranging their regulatinos and number of other spheres P. Proshyan did patriotic work, the encouraging source of which were Agulisians themselves. In this matter in 1860's a great role and devoted work performed also Agulisian rich Mkrtich Ter- Mkrchyan. In 1867, 25 years after Agulisian schools were opened P.Proshyan in 1892 his "Twenty five years before and today" article remembering Agulis' people's love and sympathy towards education and the high arrangement of educational work correctly mentioned "it was in 1867, with travelling purpose I entered Agulis, guested in Ter- Mkrchoy patriarchal house and couldn't leave it".
Agha Mkrtich old patriarch's and his son Christaphor's suggestion confused me here. Being tradesmen and hard- working people Agulisians had felt the taste of education and several times had attempted to open schools in their village, but in vain.
Mkrtich agha's son young student Grigor several years ago had even written regulations, but his death and the local conditions didn't let the matter develop.
Now my coming again arose the school- problem and Ter Mkrtich and others are eagre to solve it with my help.
I gather a meeting of Agulisians and as the community has asked I promise in short period to rearrange defunct Grigor Ter Mkrcheants written regulations and think everything over for founding one school... In two days I prepare two regulations, with which in one day must originate two institutions- for boys and girls. The boy- school was what Agulisians desired, and girl- school was what I dreamt of, my ideal... The opening ceremony of Agulisian coeducational school by a separate brochure came out in 1868. We made all the arrangements and together with Mr. Christaphor Ter Mkrchyan took the regulations and rushed to Echmiadzin, for getting the official address from Gevorg IV- newly elected catholicos... in May 25 of 1867 extremely happy we received the permission of Agulisian coeducational schools and returned back...
What a movement from Agulisian's side, my God... We had a chance in the same autumn with six teachers and a tutor to open the boy's and girl's schools in one day. It should be mentioned that Agulisians without touching the above- mentioned sum of money (the word here is about the 25 000 rubles accumulated from charity of Agulisians during the opening ceremony of the school) in the same summer built with the boy- school 4 teacher's apartments, 2 two- room and 3 three-room, in the yard of St. Tovma Arakyal convent, and in the coming years was founded a glorious wonderful girl- school in the yard of St. Christaphor church".
Then P. Proshyan in his memories wrote about the arrangement of school workds in Agulis "I being sure of the trustees brave- hearted works, started for Tiflis and Yerevan for arranging a teacher group. The group was arranged; from University Ruben Jalalyants, Artashes Hakobyan from Lazaryan college, the self- educated Abgar Gyozumyants, Samvel Gyulzadyan with his teacher- wife, from Tavriz and from Van to Agulis invited parish precepter Mesrop Papazyants tegether with me in the coming September, with God's name blessed the schools and started the classes.
There were 150 boys, 35 girls, who made quick steps in education..." In Aguisian school during coming years also taught M. Mseryants, Stepan Mandenyants, Nikoghayos Ter- Ghevondyants (Armenian language) , Nerses Simonyants (French, geography), Sargis Sargsyan (Russian language, natural sciences), D. Kalantaryants (mathematics), A. Ter- Mkrchyants (preeducational class), Raffi, Mesrop Maksudyan and others.
Agulisian boy- school, in official addresses was called "Verin Aguleats Armenian Religious Institution". Its regulations consisted of 72 points, which explained the main purpose of the school, education, governing and numerous other questions. According to the regulations it was founded for non- resident pupils and children of all social classes, and was governed by the deputy committee, trustees, supervisors and college advisors. When founded it had preeducational and 1-3 grades, where education was for money and free. In Armenian in this school were taught Armeian language, Armenian history (with the geography of Armenia), Russian, French, religion, Christian precepter class, mathematics, singing class, general history, general geography, drawing, calendar class, writing skills, natural history, zoology, mineralogy, planting, natural and educational geography, important information about trading, geometry.
And Agulis' girl college was called "Verin Aguleats Haikanushean Oriordats college". The regulations of this school consisted of 36 points and according to it the school was generally govered by the heads of the boy-college. Here too were accepted free-of- charge pupils, who were considered school- adopted. School's purpose was "to prepare educated women, who could become teachers and at the end be lighted mothers and upbring their children by standarts of Christian religion and ethics. Here was taught Armenian language, Armenian history, Christian precepter class, mathematics, geography, handcrafting, writing skills, painting and singing. The school trustees consisted of 57 women, the supervisor was Yeghisabet Ter Mkrchyan and her assistant was Taguhi Hakhnazaryan. The trustees of the boy- school were Mkrtich Ter Mkrchyan (who was at the same time the supervisor of Nakhijevan's eparchial college), Hairapet Araskhanyan, Baghdasar Panyan, Hovanes Konstandinyan. The supervisor was P. Proshyan (1867-1868).
Before and after opening schools in Agulis, P.Proshyan's antagonists, retrogate religious Sargis Jalalyan and others never stopped ploting against him. At first they send to Agulis Mesrop Smbatyan, whom P. Proshyan considered hi "only cordial and beloved relative", then precepter Gevorg Aramyan, who had ordered Shushva school to be closed. The latter had come to Agulis with special tasks to throw light on P.Proshyan's "crimes" and to fire him from school. But G. Aramyan tells P.Proshyan about his task, and retiring from being st. Tovma convent's precepter, leaves Agulis.
However, in Junuary 20 of 1868 Echmiadzin's Sinod basing on M.Smbatyan's commotion- false, orders Proshyan to be fired. According to that order Proshyan among children propogated "Shanshi sect- religion", "wicked and ill-natured customs". To disperse and condemn this false-hood Agulis' school trustees and the community in March 24 of 1868 addressed a letter to catholicos and protected P. Proshyan. But those protest- addresses made no effect". So, having no real accusation or fact under hand the government making use of its rights to order, fires Proshyan. P.Proshyan himself presents a "resignation" and as he has written, "In the end of June, 1868 I left Agulis forever".
Before the 1867 schools that opened P.Proshyan in Agulis had been several schools. For example in 1832 here had existed 3 schools, and in 1848 Agulisian Hairapet Kalantaryan opened a boy-school. Besides that later on H. Kalantaryan in his house had an own special school. Then in 1851 in Agulis was founded a trading elementary school, 'In Agulis the parish- trading college lasted 14 years, where each year approximately studied 67 boys".
Till the coeducational schools that opened in Agulis in 1867, as S.P. Zalinski has mentioned, in Agulis hte boy-school "was opened in 1851 by this name, "Aguleats parish- trading college, and till 1865- 1866 it was governed by scientific directorate, and in 1887 passed to people's hands, who changed the name into "parish- psychological" college". The boy- trading school opened in 1851 "in 1855 was enlarged, a second class was added".
There had been number of suggestions to open an art school in Agulis. For example in 1873, October, during the luxurious ceremony of the 6th anniversary of Agulisian schools along many other suggestions school- teachers Sargis Sargsyan and Stepan Mandenyan "both of their speeches were about opening trading schools".
To have an idea about the progress and fame of Agulisian schools one can just go through press of that time, where there are recorded many boasting words. For example, when in Agulis lady Shantr wrote with great satisfaction that "Agulisian schools are worth praising both for descipline and progress. They are kept by people's money, and several AGulisian trading houses were opened. For most of the boys education is free of charge.. On the girl's school I saw written this, "School for girls- man friendship". Then Shantr mentions that "June 17- the end of the school year and during school exams; so the supervisor asked us to be present for couple of minutes. When we entered little girls were passing their Russian exam. I greatly enjoyed being present to that exam, where from 7-14, 15 years old ladies with surprisingly mature sensibility showed progress. Of course depending on age they read and spoke Russian dialect, the study of which had become required". Another witness, celebrated teacher Hakob Karapetyan, in "Aguleats school" article wrote "If Agulisians weren't of the character of flower- collector bees, they would certainly be in the same condition as the other villagers... Lately they learning that the material illumination without general moral and educational prograss won't bring them praise and would harm... hurried to unite in a heart... founded educational houses sarificing many things, passing through many patronages of Russia". H. Karapetyan then about the school- year- end (1870) exams mentioned that "10 year old boys and girls solved such mathematic problems in my presence that I was amazed; they read so beautifully in their native language, wrote and told their native history that I was surprised; I saw so much progress in Russian and French languages that I thought it wouldn't be proper to demand more; most of all I admired the hand-crafts made under famous Gyulzadyan's wife's supervision (Mariam Gyulzadyan)". By the way in lady's school the pupils hand- crafted even after the lessons. And in boy-school functioned also "a small reading-hall, where were sold various class- books and reading books".
In the beginning of XXc several attempts were made to open a 5th department, class in Agulisian school. For example in 1906 connected with that problem the leaders of Agulisian boy-school made a special decision. Besides, by that decision girls and boys were to study together. On this connection in July 11 of 1906 arranged record's special point was decided to send a plea to catholicos to receive a permission for the above mentioned problems. By M.Maksudyan's from Agulis in January 22 of 1909 sent letter we learn htat this problem was solved positively, the 5th class was opened and the school's 186 pupils studied together.
So this way, in 1867 in Agulis founded coeducational school worked around 46-47 years till 1913-1914. In January 27 of 1913 to M.Maksudyan from Ordubad V.Vratsyan's addressed letter we learn that after M.Maksudyan left Agulis it did not work any longer. In the letter Vratsyan mentions that Agulisians say that after Maksudyan left "our convent was left like a ruin. The school which in his time; that is (Yours) was full of boys and girls, is now filled with dried leafs". The school work and especially cultural life was in its required development level also in Storin or Dasht Agulis. As P.Proshyan has mentioned, "Nerkin Agulis too was not behind by its examinations, it's several years here there is a college under the care of a kind priest, a patriot worldly person and a study- loving teacher". By an article printed in "Mshak" in 1975 we learn that here, Dasht Agulisian Mkrtich Zargaryan "wishing to encourage his villagers towards education, by 1858 Echmiadzin's Sinod's order with his expences opened a college, presenting 300 rubles as a wage to a teacher to teah Armenian. After some time some Poshos Aghamalyants joint him, and they together added the number of teachers and continued the work till 1865, receiving money from students. But then getting tired of people's envious murmuring and protest left everything and went away. Then in 1872 wishing wiht common strength to reform the local school, by supreme Catholicos' order were elected trustees and 40 members... who were always cold- hearted... and it was easy to guess that the next year would be the last for the school. We attract Yerevan's eparchial supervisor's attention to this point...".
Then in 1876 published in another article it is mentioned that Dasht Agulis "Eight years ago had a nice college with 3 teachers and over 80 pupils (the word here is about M.Zargaryan's in 1858 opened school, which was closed in 1868). ...It's already 8 years they have no college and don't even care. Though in this period individually study over 40 pupils". The later on opned school in Dasht Agulis existed till 1908-1910, but by its level and progress it never equaled with Verin Agulis' schools.
So, as is obvious, in Agulis the founding of schools and writing art has an old history. Here the first schools founded by Mesrop Mashtots depending on country's social- economical and pilitical situation, in coming centuries, closing then again working lasted till the beginning of XXc. The letters have an indisputable role and significance in cultural life of Agulis and especially Nakjijevan and its surrounding villages.
Theatre and Music
Goghtn is one of the centers of ancient Armenian song, music and theatre life. In the history of Armenian national literature, song and music the sung- bequeathed songs are known by "Goghtn songs" name. In this small pieces that are considered the oldest samples of our folklore and song-art is praised and by mythological standarts told- described the myths of Artashes, Artavazd, Tigran, Vahagn and Azhdahak, their life and deeds, their heroic battle. And these songs, full of national thoughts, wisdom and freedom- loving emotions, part of which were invented in Goghtn, according to historian Movses Khorenatsi's certain information, accompanied by bandura- players "Truly tell, and the seeming songs, as I hear, willingly preserved by full of wine Goghtn regon's people". And by another chance when talking about Artavazd's deeds the historian mentions that "about him the Goghtn singers tell such myths...,etc".
In Goghtn, including also Agulis, as the most remarkable settlement of the region, these ancient national songs and myths were not only sang- bequeathed, but also adapted for the stage with the help of master singers, where a great place was occupied by dancing- art and theatre costumes. The Goghtn songs, besides being adapted for the stage, as necessity also had melodies corresponding to the poems. During hte appearance, the prose was told as stylish word, and hte poems were mostly served as soloes, duets choir- songs as well as by reciting.
In Goghtn songs the music as the main factor spread lively, emotional mood. And it's not accidental that Goghtn songs have melodiousness and poetic characteristics created by musical standarts. From here we should notice, that Goghtn singers in romance sphee were first of all masters of speech and music, skillfull erudites of national poetry and music. They were not only the inventors and performers of ancient Armenian poetry, music and threatre art, but also the first founders of exhibiting and spreading that art. The melody and music of Goghtn songs, as valuable works, even after adaption of Christianity in Armenia as psalms and church- songs throughout ages were sung and bequeathed in church music.
In Agulis, as well as in Goghtn's other districts and settlements- Vorduar, Tsghna, Vananda and elsewhere besides the Armenian pagan ancient and medieval period songs and epic words was widely spread church and worldly song- art, which were performed in churches, palaces, various celebrations, houses and festivals. Here since ancient times till hte 10's of XXc the Hambardzum and Vardavar, Barekandan and Tsaghkazard, Verapokhum Astvatsatsin and other holidays were performed with song- musical decoration and were staged.
Basing on the rich experience of Armenian music and song-art in Agulisian schools in XII- XIIIcc song and church song were already taught by special song-books as a science, together with the history and theory of music.
Since the middle of XIXc along iwth hte new progress of Goghtn's cultural life also advances music and theatre art, the main center of which became AGulis. The AGulisians, who follow the traditions and inherit the old-fashioned habits of Goghtn singers, who had amazing musical abilisties were always accompanied by song, music and theatre. Here all church, social celebrations, as a rule,were performed accompanied with national and religious choir songs and music, theatre performances, which gave to such ceremonies national celebration's character.
As in other places so in Agulis along with number of other problems, the leading force of preserving and developing national music and theatre were the school teachers and students, separate leading and devoted individuals. One of the founders of coeducational schools in Agulis- P.Proshyan, who was at the same time the XIXc Agulisian theatre's active organizer, in 1868 responding to H.Mirimanyan's article published in "Armenian world" paper, about the passive role of Armenian young girls in Moscow's national theatre life, about Agulisian theatre, national threatre- loving and the actors' active activities in "Letter to editorial from Agulis" article detailedly mentioned, "To affirm what I have said it's necessary to remember that here this year the 4 performances played in AGulis with charity purpose (the word is aobut H.Karenyan's "Shushanik" play), about hwich we never intended to publish, considering it an unimportant happening for the smallness of the place and for many other imperfections, but ther respected Aguleats people showed great sympathy... this year in Agulis besides the children's roles, that per fromed small girls, the other roles too performed Armenian honest ladies, as in tragedies so in comedies, and what's comforting, with great trust and success".
In the same article P.Proshyan lauds the acresses that stod out by their performance- Zaruhi Papazyan, Nazeli Aslanyan, Karine Khojamiryan, Manushak AGhamiryan, Yeghisabet Ter Janyan and others, as well as about actors. By the way, Z. Papazyan later on was the first actress of Alexandrople. Then Proshyan mentioned about the coming activities of Agulisian theatre, "The respected Agulisians were so sure of the existence of theatre, that they asked to continue after Easter; but when? ; the unoccupied days of Barekandan were suitable; but there is hope, that if from now on Agulis stays free of unkind influence, by any means it won't stop existing, Agulisians will add their activities every day and Agulisian modest ladies too can boast about their first heroic deeds like the Armenian ladies of other countries. Here I with great happiness remember together with Mr. Ter Sahakyan and Mr. Mirimanyan laday Salome STepanyan's name and as an Armenian, I thank here very much... as well as the ladies who brightened Aguleats theatre this year, hte sweet impression they left will stay unforgettale in my heart". G. Khalafyan's in 1866 staged "Arshak II" performance was also accepted greatly.
Another article published in press (author Kichik- Oghlyan) informs that "In V. Aguleats lady college's hall present in 1873, August 13 and 15 several Armenian young men presented for the good of the local coeducational college; "Ashot Voghormats' Datastan (violence)" tragedy of three pieces and I, author Ter Grigoryants... lady Ashken was worth attention, who beautifully performed "Kekel's" role... G. Aslanyants too was good, who played "Isayi's" role nad made the audience laugh". Part of the gate from these performances the "Theatre- lover's group" presented for buying various books, maps and other necessary objects".
And in 6th anniversary of Agulisian coeducational schools, in October 25 of 1873 great ceremony, after speeches in the end "boys and girls sang emotional songs". A letter in 1876 published in "Mshak" evidences that in V.Agulis usually "every year are performed plays", and in Storin or Dasht Agulis theatre performances were played since 1862".
Examination of number of sources published in press and in archives evidences that in Agulis in XIXc the again cheerful musical and theatre life lasted till 1914- 1915. By the November 5, 1912 to "Mshak" addressed A. Nersisyan's correspondence we learn that in Agulis were greatly celebrated the "tas" and "tip" anniversaries, "In October 13 after hte traditional ceremony was done requem; in the momory of "tas"(ten) and "tip" great workers... and the celebration was postponed till October 28, to perform it iwth 45th anniversary of our coeducational schools. That day took place a celebration with choirs and pupils... then in the evening were beautiful fireworks and dances, pleased people went home at 8:30.
The entry of the school, the hall and the stage were beautifully ornamented".
From this information it is clear that in Agulis was traditional celebration of "tas" and "tip" ceremony which immortalized the memory of great workers.
The fame of Agulisian musicians and singers, national singers nad theatre actors as in old centuries, so in XIXc was widely known. Here since old times were spread drum and harp, bandura and tar, duduk and kamancha, shepherd flute, zurna and other instruments. In the end of XIXc piano and violin were brought to Agulis. In the end of XIXc in the centers of Armenian culture- Tiflis, Baku, Yerevan, Shushi, as well as in Moscow and Petersburg gradually by centralizing Nakhijevan's inhabitants among the many celebrated and remarkable persons of Armenian culture (A. Araskhanyan, A. Kalantar, M. Abeghyan, H.Hairapetyan) in organizing Armenian theatre and development of theatre art their indisputable contribution put Agulisians Levon Manvelyan and Stepan Safrazyan, Misha Manvelyan and Ovi Sevumyan, Hasmik and Zaruhi Papazyan, Gurgen Janikekyan and others. Agulisian theatre and musical life is one of the interesting schools of secular Armenian theatre and music art past, which lasted till 1910's and is worth examination.
[Source: Agulis -by Argam Aivazian, 1984, Hayastan Press, Yerevan]