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Charentsavan (Arm: Չարենցավան), Kotayk Marz

Most easily reachable from the main Sevan highway rather than the gorge, Charentsavan (19708 p) was founded in 1948 to house workers building the Gumush hydroelectric station, called Lusavan, then renamed in 1967 in honor of the famous but somewhat dissolute poet Eghishe Charents (born Soghomonian in the city of Kars, who died in prison in 1937, accused of nationalist deviation (note his photograph, with distinctive nose, blown up on the wall of the Abovian Street Pizza di Roma, and his house museum on Mashtots Blvd.). Charentsavan waxed fat on cheap electricity, becoming a major industrial city. The Charentsavan machine-building factory, the city’s largest employer, is no longer booming. Note at the entrance to the city the bronze “Renaissance” monumental group, inspired by Charents’s “Curly-headed Boy” opus. Inside the greater Charentsavan boundary is Vardanavank (2354 p, until recently Alapars, anciently and perhaps now again Aylaberk). Refounded in 1828-30 by immigrants from Maku and Khoy, the village center has the General Vardan church, built by Prince Grigor in 901 and rebuilt in the 19th c. According to local legend, one of the stones contains a drop of blood from Vardan Mamikonian, the hero of the famous defeat of Avarayr on May 26, 451 at the hands of Persians attempting to restore the Zoroastrian religion in Armenia.

Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook