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Ayrk Chapels

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XII - XIII AD - Gegharkunik Marz

Ayrk Chapel and khachkar

Heading S from Vardenis Town, one road goes to Akunk (2572 v, till 1935 Ghrkhbulagh, 6-4th c. BC fort, Klor Dar cyclopean fort W of village, Bronze Age settlement, two Tukh Manuk pilgrimage sites), and another (the right-hand turn at the main Vardenis roundabout) goes to the eerie but appealing village of Ayrk* (398 v, formerly Dashkend). In Ayrk, take the right fork at the village store, and watch out on the right for the Astvatsatsin Church (dated 1181) and, 150 m beyond, the Katoghike S. Gevorg church of 13th c., both with substantial graveyards. Between the two churches are massive stone walls of an Iron Age fortification, with shallow caves below. Taking the left fork at the store, one comes to the essentially abandoned hamlets of Nerkin Shorzha (39 v), and Verin Shorzha (19 v). (Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook)