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1875 AD - Aragatsotn Marz
Oshakan (3783 v), is most famous as the last resting place of Mesrop Mashtots, (d 442) founder of the Armenian alphabet. Above his grave (19th c. gravestone) is a church rebuilt by Katholikos George IV in 1875. It has wall-paintings from 1960 by the artist H. Minasian. Oshakan was also the site of a major victory by Russian troops (with Armenian auxiliaries) over the forces of Abbas Mirza, son of the Shah of Persia, in August 1827. Hakob Harutyunian, gunner in the Persian army, won a name in Armenian history books by pointing his cannon at his own army. He was horribly tortured by the irritated Persians, losing his ears, tongue, etc, but survived to collect a Russian imperial pension. In 1833 a monument was erected between Oshakan and Echmiatsin to commemorate the fallen Russians.
Excavations on Didikond hill, which rises just behind (S) of Oshakan, revealed a square fort of the 7-5th c. BC, with five palace complexes on the N slope. Just N of Oshakan, in a little valley called Mankanots, is a 7th c. S. Sion church, with beside it an unusual pillar on a plinth dated to the 6-7th c. and traditionally believed to mark the grave of the Byzantine emperor Mauricius or his mother, based on the fact that one Armenian historian says he came from here. Elsewhere in the vicinity are shrines of S. Grigor, S. Sargis, S. Tadevos the Apostle, a rock-cut Astvatsatsin, and a Tukh Manuk shrine atop the hill. The area has a series of rich Iron Age tomb fields. W of Oshakan is a bridge of 1706 over the Kasagh river. [Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook.]