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Aparan (Arm: Ապարան), Aragatsotn Marz

Back on the main road, you soon reach the former region capital of Aparan (5711 p), till 1935 Bash Aparan, site of an important battle against the Turkish army in 1918 where the Turkish invasion of newly independent Armenia was miraculously turned around. Just N of town, on a hill left of the road, is an impressive monument to the battle. Behind the monument toward the Kasagh gorge is a large Bronze Age settlement site, with tomb fields and caves. Aparan's population, mixed Armenians and Kurds, is the butt of various jokes. A typical Aparantsi joke goes, "When the Aparantsi got home, he asked his mother, 'Did a friend who wears glasses call'?". As Kasagh, Aparan was listed by the geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. About 100 m E of the highway toward the N end of town is the impressive and architecturally important 5th c. Kasagh Basilica*, restored in 2001 and operating as a church. It was built on the Arshakuni dynasty's land and may have been built in the 4th century and modified in the 5th. From Aparan, a road angles back SE to Mulki (497 p), Vardenis (591 p, 19th c. church), Chknagh (251 p), and Ttujur ("Sour water", 366 p, till 1950 Imrlu), this latter with a S. Harutyun church in the village and a 17th c. shrine called Karmir Vank to the S. Beyond is Dzoraglukh (379 p). In principle, a jeep tracks winds up into the mountains from Ttujur and ends at Hankavan.

Turning E at the main traffic circle in Aparan (S of the basilica), a good road leads to the village of Lusagyugh (738 p). The village has a small working church of 1887. A few hundred meters up the valley by dirt track is a badly ruined church with a sign dating it to the 4th c. On a hilltop N of the village is a 7th c. chapel, called Tukh Manuk.

North from Aparan, the road rises to upland grasslands, home of Yezidi shepherds and mountain views. Nigavan (671 p) has a cyclopean fort and a 19th c. church. E of the road, Mirak (72 p) has ruins of a 5th c. church. Further NE is Melikgyugh (1080 p). Next on the main road are Shenkani (187 p) and Rya Taza (364 p, Yezidis) the latter with a ruined 10-13th c. church and zoomorphic (animal shaped) tombstones in village, visible just meters east of the highway. Rya Taza gives its name to a Kurdish newspaper and other cultural activities.

Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook

See also