Aruch (Arm: Առուչ), Aragatsotn Marz
Aruch (943 p, until 1970 Talish), was mentioned as a winter shelter for the king's army in the 5 c. It was also once the seat of Grigor Mamikonian (661-682), a prince who enjoyed considerable autonomy under Arab rule. Coming N on the main road to Gyumri, you see on the left the heavily restored (in 1960) remains of one wing of a three-nave 13th c. caravansaray. Turning W, a paved road leads to the village, with the impressive domed Cathedral Church of St. Gregory* =65=, built in 666. According to building inscriptions and manuscripts (Ghevond, Hovanes Draskhanakertsi, Stepanos Taronatsi) in the 660-670's it was built by Grigor Mamikonyan and his wife Heghine. The half-destroyed monument was essentially restored (except the dome) in 1949-1950. The walls of the temple are plastered and decorated with frescos - now seriously damaged - painted by Stepanos. In the half-dome of the altar, about 7m tall, Christ is pictured with a parchment [whistle?] in his left hand. The pedestal frescoes are divided into two parts: acanthus leaves with roses, grapes and pomegranates that make a decorative belt along the entire wall of big altar. Beside the Cathedral are the excavated remains of the Mamikonian palace. Nearby are ruined walls from a 13-14th c. castle, among the well-built 19th c. stone houses. Another building, situated a little to southeast (which has a one-nave basilica church) has a different foundation. Its rectangle hall was vaulted and leaned on four pillars. Later on, probably in late medieval times, they added thick walls and built a swimming pool that filled up through an underground river. The half-destroyed building was used for defensive purposes. On the eastern outskirts of the village are the remainders of Aruj's fortress, which has not been professionally excavated yet. The road continues S to Nor Amanos (540 p), until 1984 Sovkhoz #2.
Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook