Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook- Martakert Region
Guide to the history and historical sites in Martakert region of Karabakh.
- 1 List of villages
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Along Khachen Valley
- 4 Khokhanaberd
- 5 The Royal Palace of Khachen
- 6 Kolatak
- 7 Kachaghakaberd
- 8 Koshik Anapat
- 9 Arachadzor
- 10 Anapat monastery
- 11 Ghazanchi
- 12 Chldran
- 13 Gyulatagh
- 14 Martakert
- 15 Kusapat
- 16 Monuments of Tartar valley
- 17 Surb Astvatsatin Monastery
- 18 Khatravank
- 19 Haterk
- 20 Chapar
- 21 Charektar monastery
- 22 Vaghuhas
- 23 Mayrakaghak or monastery Tiramayr
- 24 Karmiravank
- 25 Amenaprkich monastery
- 26 Khaghakateghi
- 27 Jraberd
- 28 Yeritsmankants vank, or Yerek Mankunk
- 29 Anapat
- 30 Tonashen
- 31 Yeghishe Arakyal Monastery
- 32 Kaghankatuyk village-town
- 33 Talish
- 34 Glkho or Horeka temple
- 35 Melik Beglaryan’s palace
- 36 Vankasar's Monuments
List of villages
- Martakert (Մարտակերտ 4277)
- Margushevan (Leninavan)
- Aghabekalanj (Աղաբեկալանջ 155 p)
- Arajadzor (Առաջաձոր 741 p)
- Artsvashen (Seysulan)
- Aknaberd (Umudlu)
- Անձավներ 12 5 7 12 5 7 v. Andzavner
- Areguni (Guney)
- Chankatagh (Ճանկաթաղ 268 p, Az: Janyatagh)
- Chapar (Չափար 248 p)
- Chldran (Չլդրան 464 p)
- Ճրագ 12 6 6 12 6 6 v. Chrag
- Dadivank (Vank)
- Դաշտագլուխ 15 8 7 15 8 7 v. Dashtaglukh
- Drmbon (Դրմբոն 645 p)
- Garnakar (Գառնաքար 124 p)
- Gaylatagh (Gulyatagh)
- Գետավան 274 148 126 278 150 128 v. Getavan
- Ghazarahogh (Ղազարահող 75 p)
- Hakarakaberd (Karvand)
- Hakob Kamari
- Harutyunagomer (Հարությունագոմեր 485 p)
- Haterk (Հաթերք 1531 p)
- Hatsavan (Yarmja)
- Հովտաշեն 245 121 124 246 122 124 v. Hovtashen
- Ջրաբերդ 63 v. Jraberd
- Խնկավան 163 76 87 169 78 91 v. Khnkavan
- Kichan (Կիչան 158 p)
- Kmkadzor (Քմքաձոր 75 p)
- Kochoghot (Կոճողոտ 534 p)
- Kolatak (Քոլատակ 249 p)
- Kusapat (Կուսապատ 276 p)
- Maghavus (Մաղավուզ 468 p)
- Mataghis (Մադաղիս 483 p)
- Mehmana (Մեհմանա 27 p)
- Mets shen (Մեծ շեն 322 p)
- Mokhratagh (Մոխրաթաղ 345 p)
- Nareshtar (Նարեշտար 10 p)
- Nerkin Getarat (Nerkin Chaylu)
- Nerkin Horatagh (Ներքին Հոռաթաղ 776 p)
- Nor Aygestan (Նոր Այգեստան 313 p)
- Nor Ghazanchi (Նոր Ղազանչի 165)
- Nor Karmiravan (Նոր Կարմիրավան 44 p)
- Nor Haykadjur (Նոր Հայկաջուր 81 p)
- Nor Seysulan (Նոր Սեյսուլան 138 p)
- Nor Maragha (Նոր Մարաղա 331 p)
- Poghosagomer (Պողոսագոմեր 232 p)
- Շահմասուր 136 70 66 139 71 68 v. Shahmasur
- Talish (Թալիշ 581 p)
- Թբլղու 155 74 81 176 87 89 v. Tblghu
- Tonashen (Տոնաշեն 79 p)
- Ծաղկունք 2 1 1 2 1 1 v. Tsaghkunk
- Tsaghkashen (Ծաղկաշեն 137 p)
- Tsmakahogh (Ծմակահող 228 p)
- Vaghuhas (Վաղուհաս 616 p)
- Vank (Վանք 1335 p)
- Vankasar (Boyahmed)
- Վարդաձոր 155 81 74 193 102 91 v. Vardadzor
- Վարնկաթաղ 68 40 28 68 40 28 v. Varnkatagh
- Verin Horatagh (Վերին Հոռաթաղ 434 p)
- Zaglik (Զագլիկ 200 p)
- Zardakhach (Զարդախաչ 125 p)
Towns without population are from the road atlas
Martakert region is famous for the beauty of its nature, high mountains and woody canyons - Tartar and Khachenaget - hundreds of standing and half-destroyed historic-architectural constructions, which symbolize the building soul of an Armenian villager and the difficulties he had seen.
Historical documents and oral tradition passing from generation to generation speak with admiration about the feats of Martakert's freedom-loving people. Right after the Seljuk-Turkish supremacy was over (1204) one of the wonderful architectural monuments of the mountainous country, Khatravank, was built, after which was built Khutavank or Dadi temple (Dadivank, 1214). The first campaigns of the Mongol-Tatars and the assertion of their gloomy supremacy coincided with the end (1238) of construction on the most splendid monument of Artsakh, Gandzasar, postponing the opening ceremony of the church for two years.
The following years were not fruitless either. The unforgettable memories they have left are Yerits-mankunk and tens of big and small monorails?, khachkars and tomb monuments, which cause amazement of the observers up to this day.
Along Khachen Valley
The Khachenaget, one of the highest volume rivers in Artsakh, flows near the southern border of the Martakert Region. Forested mountains rise from the banks, crowned with meadows in some places and huge boulders thrust into the sky. There are many churches, temples, ruined dwellings, bridges, forts, springs, water-mills, khachkars, grave- yards and old grave-hills along the length of the valley.
The building of the monastery began in 1216 and was finished in 1238. The foundation date of the vestibule built in its western side is unknown, but according to the inscription in here the building was finished in 1266.
"In the name of Holy Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit my inscription ordered to be carved I, God's servant Jalal Dola Hasan, Vakhtang's son, Great Hasan's grandson, ruler of high and great Artsakh area, king of Khokhonaberd with large nahangs (regions). My father before his death (before) the irretrievable leave from this world bequeathed me and my mother Khorishah, daughter of great prince of princes Sargis to build a church, and cemetery for our fathers in Gandzasar, (building) of which we started in 765 of Armenian chronology (1216) with the help of blessings Grator (God) and when the eastern wall was built above the window my mother, renouncing high life, for the third time went to Jerusalem, where having worn hair-shirt and spent many years of hermit's life near the Resurrection temple's gate passed to her rest in Christ in Easter day... and was buried in there. We, remembering the many misfortunes lying in wait for us in life, hurried up with finishing up the building and finished with mercy and blessing of Merciful God in 1238".
Present historians and especially Kirakos Gandzaketsi speak about the construction and consecration circumstances of the temple with admiration. Gandzaketsi writes that Hasan-Jalalyan "built a pretty church with a dome, a temple for God's Glory... And called it Gandzasar, which stood in front of Khokhanaberd..." As the historian witnesses there were 700 preceptors among the people present for the consecration ceremony. The fast and the consecration of the church took place in 1240, during Vardavar holiday celebrations.
From historical sources concerning 9-10cc it is known that Gandzasar's old church served as political and religious meeting place for Artsakh and the surrounding Armenian regions. According to Armenian Katholikos Anania Mokatsi (946- 968) "The revolt of Aghvan house" book Katholikos Anania had arranged a meeting in Khachen region with important lords and religious men so as to mend the Gregorian-Chalcedonian quarrels. In the list of the deputies the name of "father Sargis Gandzasar's monk" is also mentioned. Several fully- preserved khachkars from the years 1174, 1182 and 1202 dates are evidence that monastic life and monuments existed here before the building of the new monastery.
Gandzasar in a short period became an important and great hearth of region's cultural life, the seat of Eastern Armenia’s patriarchate and the organizer of the national liberation movement. Beginning in the end of 17th century Gandzasar became one of the region's important centers of national movement of liberation. Gandzasar's Katholikos Yesayi, a fighter devoted to the battle of national liberation, became the head of that movement. In his collaboration Israel Ori he took his first steps towards negotiating with Russia. In 1701 the first letter addressed to the Russian emperor Peter the First was written, in which the Gharabaghians asked for Russia's help in liberation.
Architectural Highlights of Gandzasar
-Gandzasar's temple consists primarily of the church and the vestibule. St. Hovanes Mkrtich church has a cruciform interior and rectangle domed exterior (sizes of the hall 12,3x17, 75), the four corners of which occupy the two-story vestries. To the top vestries lead console ladders, on the bottom part of which big stalactites are curved. The interior and exterior stone of the structure are richly carved.
-The carvings over the sails are a rams-head, two heads of bullocks, and a carving of a face. "These types of carving" wrote A.L.Yakobson "were probably spread during 10th c, during the reign of the Bagratuni dynasty. They appear as sacred animals, serving as the support of the building and mean the guardians of the construction".
-The west vestibule has sculpture of the crucifixion. It consists of a wide-winged cross and Christ's crucified picture. On its two sides there are images of bended knees.
-The unknown architect of the temple has created a memorable drum. It is divided into 16 triangular grooves, which are outlined with ornaments. Each triangle has a separate sculpture at its base.
-On the western side of the drum is a sculpture of two men who resemble each other holding a model of the church with their hands raised. The figures are most likely Hasan-Jalal Doloyi and his son Atabek, who had ordered the church to be built. Under the front wall of another edge, on an engraved background is the high-relief of Jesus, and over the frame of the window are the picture carvings of Adam and Eve with corresponding evidence-notes.
-In the bays of southern three edges are carved opposite figures with bent knees and haloes over their heads. In another place is a ram-head, in the third place is the Holy Virgin with the child, in the fourth a head of an eagle is pictured, etc. Here the genius architecture has braided fine ornaments from starts, flowers and lace-decorated chains.
The vestibule has been the grave-house of Hasan-Jalalyan's family. That's why it was a vital need to push the pillars under walls, from which then was born, or to which corresponded the new architectural solution. Now there, in the eastern part of the vestibule lie the important persons of Jasan- Jalalyan's family- from Hasan Jalal Barepasht and the spiritual fathers to Baghdasar metropolitan.
Their one-piece and even grave-stones too have become admirable samples of art thanks to creative hands of stone-masters of Artsakh world.
Inside the stony ramparts of Gandzasar, in the northern wing of the church there are eight small and two large rooms. Another, a larger two-story building is placed in the eastern part. In the past it served as a school, then a cloister-hotel. In the system of the temple's ramparts the central entry is an important monument, the gate of which is solved with clearly- trimmed stone and architectural original solutions.
There are around 200 inscriptions on the walls of the temple.
In his carved inscription connected with rebuilding the Kecharis temple Hasan-Jalal calls himself the "lord of Khoyakhanaberdoy". Of course the owners of Khokhanaberd had also other famous fortresses, just like the tall and impregnable Kachaghakaberd between Kolatak and Patara villages, on a high and impregnable rock, Jraberd on Tartar bank, Det, Tsiranakar auxiliary forts again on the bank of Khachenaget. But, as has already been mentioned, Khokhanaberd was the princely seat and the successors of Khachen mentioned their lands by the name of the fortress; "lord of Khokhanaberoy" meant "Khachen's prince".
These fortresses situated in the surrounding of Gandzasar in case of danger were a strong sheild in protecting the famous temple and the district.
From the once nice fortress only a "large construction is left..." wrote M. Barkhudaryan in the end of the last century "that contains many rooms in a stony gate. In Jalal Dola's palace the most interesting are the cabinet and another room, which present the architectural and taste style of that time. The rooms are large, fort, vaulted and nice.
Fine and thin capitals are put under the vaults and all of them are from clearly-trimmed stone. The windows are few and small. We couldn't count the number of the rooms, as they were covered with thick bushes and tree. It was in the end of 19c. Today the foundations of palaces built in medieval period are hardly seen (squeezed between the trees and bushes). Even in this condition it is impressive and noteworthy.
The fort itself, situated on top of the mountain occupies quite a large territory. Among its ruins stands out a half-destroyed building, with wholly-preserved stony stairs. The local inhabitants call this fort by mountain Tarkhanaberd's name. According to the national legend it had served as a summer, palace for Hasan- Jalal's daughter Ruzan. In around 30m from the fort, on the vertical edge of the huge cliff has preserved a not large rectangular in scheme wall. Most likely it's a remainder from impregnable observation tower.
The Royal Palace of Khachen
The prince-palace of Khokhanaberd on a picturesque rocky hill are situated remainders of Khachen palace, belonging to Hasan- Jalalyan's family. In historical literature the palace is mentioned by Darpasner name. In medieval period the prince-palaces in Armenia were called "darabas", "darapas" or "darbas", "darpas". The preliminary examination of the palace shows that Khokhanaberd and prince-palace, and the numerous life and cult constructions scattered around them present parts of a large fort- settlement just like the numerous and various monuments of such fort- settlements, as Shikakar- Karaglukh, Ktish- Togh and Shoshi- Sghnakh- Shushi. The Khachen palace, built in XIIIc unfortunately got to us in half-destroyed condition. From the once well-organized fort-palace preserved remainders of four corner almost identical half-round hollow towers, where were situated observation posts, a hill from monolithic mass: a unique and beautiful entry, parts of the roof, walls of two halls and remainders from main walls of several rooms.
The layer of hill-towers (width 1, 6- 1, 8m) is realized with untrimmed quartz stone. It's now difficult to say of how many stories consisted the hill-towers, but it's clear that the small hill is a comparatively old one.
Historian M.Barkhudaryants saw the palace in far better condition. He wrote that his "spacey construction, consisted from numerous rooms joining the serf-wall and built from stone and lime mortar. Rather beautiful in Jalal- Doli palace is the visitor's hall and one other room, which reflect the architectural style of that period. The rooms have strong and high walls with vaulted covers. The belt-arches realized with trimmed quoins lean on thin and skillfully processed capitals. The windows are very narrow and rare. The exact number of rooms wasn't clarified, because all they are covered with thick weeds, trees and berry bushes. No examination can be done without taking out the thicket. This was in the end of XIXc. Now are only seen foundations of separate buildings. But even in such condition the complex gives interesting material for studying the architecture of medieval- period palace ensembles.
Judging by the parts preserved from the buildings the vault (roof) was realized with layer of large trimmed quartz stone. The vault is divided with four belt-arches. The western arch leans on a wide double-layer wall, the other three divide the hall into four parts, including also the small room, placed in the bay. The belt-arches are built on 2-3 rows of monolith and equal in size quoins, which lean on cylindrical foundations, dividing the belt. The belt arch of the main hall, as A. Gulyan thinks is built by principle of two-center arch analogous to the vault, supporting the dome of Gandzasar monastery.
The large hall with a narrow passage is connected with the southern room, which is a not large square building with a vaulted cover. Here are well seen bays of various sizes and fire-places. Their presence confirms the economical and domestic significance of rooms. In small yards in the southern part of the serf-wall are noticeable traces of other constructions, which almost completely got lot in luxuriant nature. In the composition of palace-constructions a considerable space is given to the large yard, situated in the northern part of the complex. It occupies almost half of the interior part of serf-walls. Right opposite the front entry of the fort, in the bay of yard's western part there is a room, which most likely was used as a stage. Here in the yard were performed ceremonies, took place holiday performances and trials. In front of people sat the influential persons of the area- their retainers and guests of high rank.
The prince-palace of Khachen is an original phenomenon in building art of medieval Armenia's Eastern side. Being an example worth imitation, Khachen's palace became a prototype for palace- constructions, created in Artsakh during coming ages. About this evidence the one-type monuments (palaces of princes), built in the area in late medieval epoch.
Inside the fortress, several meters away from the ruined palace, there are two churches built side by side. They are middle-size basilicas, near the southern one of which is the vestibule- hall, and the other has a small completely destroyed construction from the western side.
Two churches of the same style and size, even of the same position are situated on the left bank of Khachenaget, in "Kerakhani hart" place. The medieval period village-place, which is also called Paravadzor, occupies a large territory. Around the completely ruined village-place is the large grave-house with khachkars and gravestones of 12-13cc.
On the khachkars with 1180, 1183 and 1228 dates are pictured villagers on foot or on horses, with arrow, bow and spear in their hands, helmets on their heads and with long gowns.
On one of the khachkars there is a woman's carving with the national dress of the century. These high-reliefs that are very noteworthy for science are an important source for studying the medieval history of Artsakh. Havaptuk temple is also called Havotsptuk and is situated on a high hill around 5km towards south from Gandzasar. The complex of the temple consists of not big a church, vestibule and another small church. Traces of constructions can be noticed in the surroundings. In the eastern part of the church, on the hill stretches the grave-house with gravestones of animal and geometric carvings of various styles.
Another garvehouse is situated a little far, on Gandzasar's way.
The numerous khachkars standing between the gravestones have inscriptions explaining the history of building and freedom-loving family of Hasan-Jalalyan.
On the front stones of the southern church' vestry a nine-line building inscription has preserved, "The year was (àæ´- 2412). Prince Hasan's son Vakhtang and his husband Mamkanay, me, lord Ioan, cousins Grigor and Gevorg and others built this church together for saving our souls and in the memory of our parents..." According to the inscription the church was built in 1233 during Hasan-Jalal Dola's power.
The church was small with rectangle scheme, vaulted roof and walls built from untrimmed stone.
From the monuments here are especially noteworthy those numerous khachkars, which are spread here and there in the gravehouse and were once stood as gravestones- statues. These khachkars that has got some architectural decoration were processed from big slabs. They are as high as 1m or more. The front side turned towards west is all decorated, the other side is flat. In the ornament of the khachkars the cross is expressed beautifully, natural and geometric complicated and very fine decorations cover the space around it.
The high-reliefs of these khachkars become more interesting also because they are usually accompanied by stone inscriptions. The information that give those important documents immediately make clear the date of the monument, the occasion of putting it, sometimes even the name of the master and the person that ordered it.
Vatchar- the village by this name is situated towards east from Gandzasar, in the eastern part of Tsmakahogh village, on the left bank of the river of the same name. The ruins are the remainings from special medieval period houses, shops, work-shops and churches.
Though the exact foundation date of the village is not known, but the village is supposed to have been in its prosperity period in 12-13cc, especially during Khachen Ter Hasan-Jalal's power.
The first inscription that belongs to Hasan- Jalal's building activities has preserved in here, in the ruins belonging to his family. "I, Hasan, the son of Vakhtang and Khorishah, lord of Khachen, built this sacred church... (àÐ´ - 1229). Then come the pretty- decorated khachkars put by him in the same Vatchar, which have approximately the same date and have exceptional value for carrying the period's worldly stamp. Almost all the details of the prince's work are detailedly inscribed on the speaking stones in Khachen area and its neighboring villages, in his famous Biblical memorial presented to Gandzasar temple, and elsewhere.
The nephritis swor-hilt of the sword he used also speak about him by the decorated-carving on it "Hasan-Jalal prince of Khachen".
Vatchar's gravehouse occupies a not smaller territory, inside which a church from trimmed-granite was built. In the southern side of the church almost from the wall a small two-story chapel is built also from trimmed stone.
The church is a vaulted hall- basilica by scheme with two building inscriptions- on the front stone of the entry and on the western side. Those inscriptions clarify the correct building date, the building patron of art and the stone -master.
Basilica was built by stone-master Sargis. Here is the inscription he has left, "I, Sargis from twon Karno built this church and put those khachkars for the peace of mine and my pupil Hovanes".
Though the date is missing on the inscription, but from other inscriptions the church is known to be a 1229's construction.
"We suppose" wrote S.Barkhudaryan "that the works of Sargis and his pupil Hovanes could not be of earlier period, especially that there are other monuments in the same place, all built in close-dates and are considered 13c works". Surb Stepanos church is a one-nave basilica. The vault of the small hall is fastened with arch-belt. Because of the relief's unevenness the door is put in the southern side. The altar is fixed high, and in the half-rounded depth of the waol there are two square bays. The gable roof is covered with clearly-trimmed stones.
Church Manka (more correct- Mamakan, by Khachen's princess' name) in Tsmakahogh is a one-nave, with vaulted roof rectangular in scheme basilica (sizes 15 x 9m). The praying-hall and the altar are situated on one level. The only entry is from western side. The ashlar (or facing) slabs from interior and exterior walls are taken out. By its volume-space solution this church refers to the one-type medieval-period churches.
Kolatak is one of the villages of Khachen region. Its foundation date is not known. But numerous historical monuments in the village's territory belong to 9-17cc.
Anapat historical monument, situated 10km from the village is a very interesting construction. On top of a nice hill surrounded by secular woods, Anapat is quite pretty a monument with fine carvings, tens of inscriptions and jointed constructions.
The half-destroyed walls of the bathhouse can be seen with tens of clay-pipes taken through them. The most noteworthy are the khachkars and the slabs in Anapat. It's clearly seen that Anapat was built before 14c. A little way down from Anapat the grave-house occupies a quite large territory. As the grave-stones so the stones from which Anapat was built are big.
The old, destroyed water-mills and their mill-stones that still remain well on the left bank of river Khachen speak about the fact that not so long ago Anapat, besides the forest resources also had several water-mills, where was milled the wheat of the surrounding villages for money.
About the ancient history of Kolatak evidence the ruins of a chapel, cemetery, Tsak-kar called monument in southern part of the village and khachkars, some of which are dated 1230, 1233, 1243. But most part of the Kolatak's famous monuments is situated outside the village, in surrounding forests, on top of hills. From them we should mention monastery Metsaranits surb Hakob, Koshik desert, Kachaghakaberd, Havaptuk, Natarin fort, Hndzani church, fort Det, etc.
Over 200 inscription-hishatakarans from Khaghakyan family evidence that Kolatak was one of those places, where had settled down this princely family.
A famous Armenian linguist Garegin Hovsepian with certain facts proved that Khaghbakyan's residence was Garnakar, and the family- cemetery was Havaptuk monastery.
Harsnakar: Khaachen is full of remarkable places, ancient villages, situated on impregnable cliffs, whimsical gravestones, hiding places in caves.
Besides human creations here there are many unique creations of nature. An inimitable creation of nature is also Harsnakar situated near Kolatak, on the bank of a river of the same name, on the vertical cliff of an unusual form. The sun, the rain and the wind throughout ages polished the monolith, giving it an appearance of a beautiful girl in wedding dress. The cliff is called so for this reason (Harsnakar- stony bride).
Spitak pat. Spitak pat is situated east of Kolatak by the confluence of Khachen and Kolatak rivers. In XIIIc here was built a fort, from which has preserved only a small piece of wall.
Votnahetker (footprints). It is situated not far from the village and is a pilgrim place. On the cliff are hollowed out deepenings resembling footprints. Near the cliff are put khachkars of XIIIc.
Cemetery. It is situated towards east from the village. Among the gravestones also meet ornamented khachkars. Though the inscriptions and ornaments have rubbed off, but by common style they can be referred to analogous monuments of XIIIc.
Khlen kar (fort cliff). Remainders of fort constructions. According to the legend here were kept prisoners. It's situated on top of cliff Bant (prison).
Chapel. It is situated on Yeghtsun hill, towards south from the village. The chapel has fully-preserved. Tsakkar (holly stone). It is situated on a cliff, situated not far from village Tblkhu and once has served as a hiding-place.
From the south-western slope of mountain Gevorgasar, from the village of Ulupap opens a beautiful panorama. In the distance, in front of Surb Hakoba monastery, on top of a mountain-ridge covered with thick forest is situated fort Kachaghakaberd. Rising from dense nature and showing up against the azure of the sky this fort gives birth to real poetic images in our imagination. People called it Kachaghakaberd (magpie's fort) not without purpose, as only birds can get to its tops. On top of a very high sheer rock, there are few walls in this primarily natural fortress. In historical sources this ancient fort is also called Khachen fort. Movses Kaghanakatvatsi wrote in IXc that one of the area's princesses, Spram, after losing her husband "found masculine courage and taking along her saved daughter overcame a night's way and hid in Khachen fort".
The ancient constructions of Kachaghakaberd refer to construction time of Metsaranits monastery. The cliff was fastened and turned into a fort with the purpose to protect from Arabic campaigns by Metsaranits province's owners.
It seemed that the nature itself took care for Kachaghakaberd fort to be impregnable. The mountain top, with a slight inclination towards south, from western, northern and eastern sides is surrounded with vertical, as if polished rocks 50-60m tall. The only weak point is the southern slope, where in ancient times was situated the entry. But even today not everybody manages to get to it, because one needs not only to go up, but to clamber by the cliff. "The not high rocks of the southern slope were once again fastened with stony walls and lime mortar. Analogous layer passed by the whole perimeter of the slope".
Though from far away the fort's territory seems small, but in fact it occupies quite a large area. Here have preserved many buildings, secret passages, hollowed out in the cliffs, special gun-slots for throwing stones on the enemy.
The water-supply needed a special solution. In the center of the fort have preserved two reservoirs dug in the cliff and filling with rainwater and melted water. Drinking water was most likely brought from the spring near the mountain-foot.
There are number of churches in the territory of the village. All they are buried in forests.
From them Yekhtsun khut, Hndzan church, Matur church, Jarunts tapen church are in good condition and are results of wonderful architectural ideas. Others are half-destroyed. The churches are mostly basilicas of 16-18cc.
There are many village-territories in Kolatak's surroundings. Some of them the local people call Hndzan, Alanveran, Koharan, Beshtam, Moshi hogh, Hunoti, Tchrtapas, Mghondats Tala, Shahen Ser, Yekeghetsu khut, etc. In the mentioned village-territories remained the ruins and grave houses.
Those dwellings were destroyed by Turkish despots in the end of 18c.
St. Hakob Monastery
St. Hakoba temple is considered to be the most remarkable monument of Kolatak. It is situated on a mountain foot 2km far from the village. In the historical literature it is also known as Metsaranits temple. Metsarank is known as the name of one of the villages of Artsakh. Later it was also called Nerkin Khachen. There is no concrete information about temple's foundation date. The oldest inscription is engraved on a pedestal of a khachkar, which was later placed in the wall of the church as a building material, and refers to 851. The other written information is in the records of Yerevan's Matenadaran named after M.Mashtots. Here the parchment speaks about that the builders of St.Hakoba temple were Hasan Jalal's parents- Vakhtang and Khorishah.
Khorishah tells by one of her inscriptions, "I again built the church in Metsaran for salvation of my soul, remember the good".
Here she speaks about St. Hakoba temple, which was a religious center of Khokhanaberd branch. But here the "I again built" expression should be understood as rebuilding and repairing. Even now it's not difficult to be sure about it. The stones of the former constructions the repairers placed here and there in the walls, so they put the grave-stones in the walls and put khachkars on the ceiling. They put the trimmed and inscribed stones in the corners. In short, the constructions leave a patched (mended) impression. Most likely St.Hakoba temple was also repaired in 15-16cc besides the rebuilding in 1212. An undated small inscription here confirms that fact.
The dwelling constructions joining the southern church from eastern side according to the other inscription were built in 1725. This way separate constructions of the monastic complex were built and rebuilt throughout many ages- from IX to XVIIIcc. The main part of the constructions was built in XII- XIIIcc. The complex consists of two churches, two vestibules, a dwelling compartment and economical buildings. All the buildings join each other and are mostly connected by common passages.
The first church of Surb Hakoba monastery is a long rectangular one-nave hall (sizes 7,8 x 3,2m). By the architectural appearance it resembles Ghevondats desert's church. The difference is that here the altar rising is considerably raised from the common level and one can only get there by the stairs in southern side. The necessity to make the altar rising higher then usual was dictated by practical reasons. It's because to the church' northern wall from outside join also small cells (sizes 1,3 x 1,3m), entries to which open under the altar-rising, with which is connected its height. Such situation of cells, used also as hiding places makes one think that right in here has existed a more ancient construction, which was "again built" in XIIc.
The western facade of the church later on became the center of three-arch hall-vestibule. Like the analogous vestibules of Dadi and Tate monastery here the bottom part of the front wall is also an arcade from three arches. The pilasters and arches are from trimmed stone and very well stand out on the background of the whole wall.
For cheering up the monotonous layer from untrimmed stone in vestibule's walls are widely used khachkars, gravestones of 2m long and slabs with fragmentary epigraphic inscriptions. The khachkars used in here are built from pink stone, the gravestones from gray, the inscribed slabs from white, and the sun clock from light orange stone; all this on the background of walls from blue stone create an interesting color-range.
To the northern wall of the described vestibule joins the second church, which is a rectangular simple hall (8,0 x 3,4m) with an eastern apside. The church has two entries; from southern side through three-arch vestibule and from western side through built by its side vestibule-chapel. So, the three-arch vestibule, organically having common things with the exterior forms of the two churches, serves not only a unique front for the entry to both of the churches, but also gives a picturesque look to the whole complex, thanks to the arcade.
From the architectural point of view this surely presents certain interest.
Among the various constructions of the monastic complex a special place occupies the vestibule-gavit of the second church. It's known that vestibules in Armenian architecture appeared in Xc. And we can certainly say that the vestibule-gavit of Surb Hakobavank monastery is one of the most ancient ones. Usually the vestibules come close to the main church which at the same time serves as vestibules' eastern wall.
Here the vestibule is first built by the small church, and second is separated from it by 2, 5m wide corridor. This corridor between the church and the vestibule is single and doesn't meet in other monasteries. During the holy mass as in the church so in the vestibule with the corridor took their places the parishioners, because the modest sizes of the praying-hall couldn't fit them all. Besides, the vestibule served as a cemetery for famous people, a place for discussion as church so life questions. Here, as also in the three-arch vestibule-hall the floor is covered with numerous gravestones. As the inscriptions inform here are buried catholico Hovanes, Aristakes, Simeon and bishops Simeon and Vardan.
From the historical works and manuscript sources it's known that Surb Hakoba monastery in medieval-period was considered one of the sacred places of Armenia's Eastern side. As the gravestones point out by mentioning the catholicoses and bishops, the monastery was a eparchial centre, and in XIIIc it served as catholicos' residence. It was also known as the educational and manuscript center of Khachen.
By the two sides of the corridor are put two richly-ornamented khachkars. According to the inscription the khachkar by the northern wall was put in 1223, and by the southern wall in 1224. Four khachkars were used as side-blocks for corridor's western window. They amaze by their ornament, and though the inscriptions have rubbed off and the exact dated haven't preserved, the style of their decoration has much in common with the analogous monuments of XII- XIIIcc.
The vestibule is an almost square hall (sizes 7,0 x 7,6m), the vault of which leans on the crossing arches, leaning on pilasters. Besides the wide eastern entry, in the south-western part there is a small door passage. Two windows open towards south, and a third one opens towards west. In the northern wall there are no window-passages, as it makes part of monastery's stony fence. One of the khachkars put in vestibule's wall has dating 1212, and the squared beam inscription of the door is dated 1293.
In this monastery were gathered and published around 42 epigraphic inscriptions. A special value present khachkars- the examples of high mastery of stone-masters, the gravestones, cornices, arches, the butt-ends of altar rising, casings of doors, windows and fire-places. If the complex is built in restrained architectural style from roughly-trimmed stone, we can't say the same about the small architectural forms. They are priceless treasures of the past and the perfect examples of medieval art.
Besides the churches and vestibules, the monastic complex includes also other constructions. Inside the stony fence were situated the scriptorium, matenadaran, preserving parchment manuscripts, rooms with fire-places as in Tatev's monastery, and also the dining hall with a kitchen, an oil-mill for making sesame oil, numerous cellars, stalls, reservoirs, guarding post, tonirs. They mostly got to us in half-destroyed condition. The economical and dwelling buildings certainly evidence about the presence in the past numerous monastic faternities.
The monastic cells are situated towards east from the church, on lowland. According to the inscription and by the whole architectural appearance they refer to XVII- XVIIIcc. The dwelling compartment consists from row of rooms, groupped around the common corridor, opposite which towards south-west is situated a large yard. By both sides of the monastery's main entry are built two-story rooms, part of which has fully preserved. From the monastery's gate begins the 10m long corridor, which stretched under the buildings with vaulted covers. Towards north-west from the monastery in a dense forest is situated the monstic spring. Another spring called Ttu jur (mineral water) is situated at the foot of the monastic hill, near Tblkhu settlement.
This way the secular constructions of Surb Hakoba monastery, that had played an important role in spiritual and social life of the area, the inscriptions on its ancient stones, beautiful khachkars and gravestones have a great cognitive significance.
People call it simple Anapat (desert). It is situated in a distance of 8km from Kolatak settlement in a forest on a hill called Anapat. The complex consists of three churches, surrounded with stony fence. Inside the fence has preserved a water-reservoir, here are clearly seen traces of water-supply system. A great historical, ethnographic and artistic value present complex' khachkars, the various reliefs and epigraphic inscriptions. 25 inscriptions of XII- XIIIcc have been published. This large historical complex in historical literature is mentioned by Khoshik Anapat name. The monastery's inscriptions are dated 1179, 1181, 1186, 1191, 1194 and coming ages.
The monastic complex with its spacey yard divided into two parts. The monuments of the northern group present three churches and one common for all of them three-arch vestibule-chapel.To the northern wall of the vestibule joins a rectangular half-destroyed building, most likely an ancient dining-hall. A little towards north-west are seen ruins of monastic cells and economic constructions. Among them are scattered several wholly-preserved khachkars with relief pictures of riders.
The vault of the largest, southern church has collapsed, the other parts have preserved quite well. The walls are built from roughly-trimmed stone. Trimmed stone was only used for alter-rising, on which is carved a 12-line inscription dated 1265.
The constructions of yard's southern wing consist from two buildings, connected with each other by two door-passages.
The bathing-house is an interesting construction, from which have preserved half-destroyed walls, with put in them tens of clay-pipes. Separate ornamental motives, mainly reliefs of grape-bunches on some khachkars and gravestones point that Anapat monastery was founded before XIIc. Towards east from the dessert is situated the cemetery, occupying a large territory.
Far from Kachaghakaberd, in the blue fog traces another beautiful sight- in the general picture of the high rocks is hardly noticed Tartar's valley, famous for its secular oldness.
Besides the ones mentioned there are also other monuments in the surroundings of Gandzasar, the brief information about which will follow.
- Hamam church- stony, ornamented, is situated towards south from Gandzasar, in the canyon named after prince Hamam, near the present Garnakar village. Was built in medieval period.
- Muddisin church- near Moshahav spring.
- Hangats church (13c), people call it Hunoti Tala.
- Matur's village-territory together with the gavehouse.
- Panjakar village-territory.
- Jrhar's (Jrhorneri) stone. Here several water-wells in rocks are situated side by side.
- Vank spring built from clearly trimmed stone, 13c, is situated in the north-western part of Gandzasar.
- A little above the spring in Hartavayr place there are two khachkars called "Sana khach".
- In the south-eastern part of the temple Ruzan's (Hasan Jalal's daughter's name) fort, the church, the dwellings and the gravehouse are situated.
- Not far from Ruzan's fort Darpasner spring is situated, near which there are two larger churches. The territory is also remembered by Yekeghetsineri Yal name. Here is situated a remarkable architectural construction- Zhamatun.
- Towards east from the churches the second spring is placed, which the local people call Aran or Araghbyur. A little west from here in the place Gerezmani yal Tarkhan's fort with its cold springs is noticeable.
Inside the fort two old water-wells 6m deep and 3m wide remain.
- Pekhe spring's village-territory stretches on the left part of river Gandzak.
- Darbasu dwelling's ruins are situated near Tarkhanaberd.
- Iritsin Gomer village-territory is situated on the right bank of Gandzak river.
- Takhten bridge over Khachenaget.
- In old places Khokhin, Kyiratan and Sghnakh construction remainders of production type have preserved.
In the surroundings of villages Arachadzor, Kichan, Chldran, Gyulatagh, Mokhratagh, Kusapat, Ghazanchi and village Martakert are situated the following monuments.
Church Harva, which in sources is mentioned as church Anapat (desert). The complex is situated under a cliff in Arachadzor’s southern outskirts and consists of two connected with each other caves. Thanks to the skillful front-wall-layer from outside they are taken for two separate chapels, though from inside these caves look like two half-rocky halls. On the large even piece of cliff, placed before the church, is carved a 7-line inscription dated 1249. The church differs by its monumental wall-painting. “It’s strange but the wall-painting subject is architecture. In the apside are pictured two different (one rectangular, the other round scheme) church, most likely revered by the local believers”.
In the middle of the village is situated Surb Astvatsatsin church, built in 1668. It presents a type of three-nave basilica. Till the end of XIXc here have been kept two famous manuscripts (now they are in Matenadaran).
3km towards north-east from village Kichan, on mountain-slope is situated monastic complex Anapat. It consists of two churches, a vestibule, a dining-hall, monastic cells and a large cemetery. The oldest inscription of the complex dated 1191 has preserved on a khachkar. This is surely not the only inscription. From various buildings of the monastery have been copied and published over 10 inscriptions.
The most remarkable monument of Anapat is the main church, situated in north-eastern part of the complex. It is interesting both from visual and architectural point. From the praying hall narrow passages lead to sacristies, each of which has one window. The apsides of the main vestibule-khoran and the sacristies are horse-shoe-shaped. The church-walls are built from roughly-trimmed stone and are plastered from inside. There are 7 bays in the walls.
In the church-architecture of Artsakh this church is unique also because the passage from the altar to the vault is realized in bow-shaped form. The same solution is also in western part. From south to the church by its north-western axis joins a not large vestibule. It occupies also the square, situated towards west from the cruciform wings of the church. The smallest wing in the northern side has a window-passage.
The second church is in the southern part of the complex. This is a vaulted hall. According to the preserved inscription the church was repaired in XVIIIc. By the northern wall is built a vestry. The walls are built from roughly-trimmed blocks, except the belt-arches, built from trimmed stone. Th squared-beam stone of the church’ entry is an ornamented khachkar, typical for XII-XIIIcc.
The dining-hall of the monastery (sizes 7,6 x 4,9m) is situated on the southern slope of the complex. It’s a vaulted hall with numerous bays. Beside the dining-hall are placed the monastic cells. On the western slope of the hill is situated the ancient cemetery with rather interesting khachkars and gravestones. Not far from the monastery, in the ravines is situated a spring called Anahit.
Ghazanchi settlement is situated on the left bank of Khachen river, at the northern foot of Vankasar Mountain. The settlement is surrounded with mountains from three sides and only its eastern side joins Artsakhian steppe.
Situated on the border of Khachen province and Jraberd Ghazanchi it had played an important role in the ancient history of the area. From the historical monuments in the village the most remarkable ones are the three-nave basilica church Surb Gevorg, built in XIIIc, old villages in Gayl Melik area and on Karmir church hill, also cemeteries and ruins of IX-XIVcc cult constructions.
Great historical and artistic value present the numerous khachkars and gravestones with domestic reliefs. Not far from Ghazanchi is situated Chargatagh settlement, in the surroundings of which there are number of monuments, including also barrows.
In the "Historical monuments" fund of the region museum almost all the natural and historical monuments were registered according to the villages. Here are the mentioned monuments in Chldran, Arajavor, Martakert and Kusapat areas.
- Amenaprkich vank. It is situated between Poghosagomer, Ktchogot and Chldran villages.
The round, tall and beautiful church has chapel, vestibule and large cemetery. The temple was founded in 1669 by Hovanes Kronavor.
- Nahatak church, a sacred place, is situated in Akhparkan area, is partly destroyed, there are old and new gravestones around it.
- Karmir church.
- Hndzakar old village-territory. The ruins of the building are destroyed up to this day. Here a large area is occupied by the pear-gardens of the village. In the same place is situated one of the best springs of Chldran - "Churchr".
- Sarnatun called cave is situated in the south-western part of village Chldran, where the ice doesn't melt throughout the year. "Ghrma" cold spring starts from the cave.
96-10. Around the village, buried in the forests are "Harsut", "Ever hogher", "Kenen pat" old grave-houses. In the ruins of all those old constructions on separate stones preserved pieces of inscriptions.
- Melik-Alaverdyan's fortress is in Gyulatagh village. It is 35m long and 14m wide. Pyramid-like towers rise on its both sides. The walls are 1-2m thick and are built from roughly-trimmed stone. Only from outside, and only from southern side the fortress leaves an impression of protective construction, from inside, especially from north it was changed and used as an auxiliary construction by the school.
- Shinategh- is situated in the south-western side of Gulatagh, in about 4km. It is an old destroyed village-area, where have preserved dwellings and clearly trimmed stones from the collapsed church. Gravestones of the cemetery and pieces of khachkars with inscriptions can still be seen. This old area is also called Sambagh or Sameruk-bagh (garden).
- Hin gerezmanatun (gravehouse) is situated on the southern wing of Shinategh, on a canyon. Many inscribed gravestones preserved in the gravehouse. In this grave house were buried notable Melik- Rustam from Jraberd village, active participants of national liberation movement, brave soldiers of Artsakh army.
- Kotrats church is situated in the south-western part of Gyulatagh, in Chokman called place, 10km towards south from the river. The church was standing till lately.
Church Hovsep is situated in western part of Vardatagh, near a copper-mine. Traces of a settlement and cemetery have preserved.
Stud-farm: The local inhabitants think that once here has been situated a stud-farm, where they bred thorough-bred horses. Later on (since 1871) this stud-farm was called the First stud-farm of Yelizavetpole.
Wonder-tree: In the yard of Gyulatagh’s inhabitant B.Hovsepyan from the secular mulberry hollow grew a nut-tree 6m high. For the owner it’s not only a unique whim of nature, but also a source of two harvests in a year- mulberry and walnut.
- Martakert church (it is uncomparatively new, since 1883) is small, with rectangle scheme, vaulted cover, the walls are built of roughly-trimmed stone and clay. On the valley adjacent to the church stretches the grave house with gravestones of various processing vital and geometric engravings.
- Not far from the center of the area, on the eastern side of "Taza khach" mountain, in the area between "Demyi kap" till "Yerek blur" stretches the ruins of a large village-territory. Here one can still see the places of dwellings, the foundation walls of two ruined churches and the cemetery.
The church, where there are ancient gravestones with pictures of idols the local inhabitants called Krapashti hangstaran (pagan cemetery). By the way, not far from Martakert, while planting new vineyard were discovered over 30 idols, buried in earth. All they are transferred to the regional center. These are well-preserved monuments of Armenians’ pagan culture, inhabiting this area. On the front side of stony idols are pictured human faces with an expression of surprise and round, deeply set eyes. On the opposite side of all of them is pictured a dagger. In the ancient pagan settlement of Martakert have been found graves, two of which are exhibited in the regional museum. The stony sculptures in pagan period were used as grave-monuments and are considered the precursory (early Armenian medieval-period) of cross-stones.
Obviously after accepting Christianity the Armenians of Artsakh did not destroy the pagan monuments; from them were sculptured boundary posts, road pointers, khachkars or either they were buried in earth.
In Martakert has preserved a 50cm large capital peculiar to early medieval-period architecture. It was also found while planting vineyards. This capital certainly has once crowned the pylon of pagan pillared temple. The best engineer construction of modern Martakert is considered the one-span bridge, crossed over river Kusapat. According to the epigraphic inscription it was built in the beginning of XXc.
The name Martakert is connected with one of the “Tigranakert towns, built by Tigran Great”. The remainders of the first Tigranakert have preserved near Martakert.
Mokhrataghian church is a rectangular in scheme three-nave basilica (sizes 18 x 11m). according to the squared-beam stone of the portal the church was built in 1883 by means of Shushinian Mesrop Tarumyants. The church in settlement Nerkin Oratagh was built by architects Arustam and Shirin from Charta. The building continued 10 years, since 1904 till 1914. This well-preserved church is a rectangular in scheme, with vaulted cover three-nave basilica. The four wonderful pillars in the center of the praying-hall, which support the cover, and also the crossing arches supporting the vault decorate the interior of the church. The altar and the vestries are placed on one level with the praying hall. The church (sizes 16,6 x 9,5m) is built from roughly-trimmed lime-stone. The vault is built from trimmed stone.
The village stretches along the right ravine of the deep and slopy canyon, towards the direction of the road rising from Martakert to Haterk.
The monuments are considered priceless material evidences about the ancient life in here. Here are some of them;
- The Holy Virgin church of the village with a three-nave basilica scheme was built in 1269. According to the inscription this church was last repaired in the middle of 19c.
- Nahatak pilgrim place is situated towards south from Kusapat, in front of Horatagh village on top of the mountain. In front of the same mountain another mountain stands, on top of which remain the ruins of "Kotrats Yeghtsi" monument. Several ornament-carvings were transferred to Martakert from here.
- Chkhart plateau, on which is situated monastery Inn masi (is between the present settlements Kusapat and Mokhratagh, near settlement Old Mokhratagh. Surrounding the plateau mountains with dense forest- cover, the cold springs interflowing at the foot into rivers form a picturesque ring around the ancient constructions.
This original complex with numerous monuments hides in it many yet uncovered pages of history. Here have preserved the main church, the ruins of a large settlement, a cemetery, khachkars and gravestones, and also the fort-palace of Melik Israelyans. Just a passing glance is enough to discover that the complex throughout many ages has been destroyed and repaired. This circumstance has certainly incluenced its architecture. So, from ancient constructions have only preserved separate parts and fragments.
Till our days have preserved several khachkars and gravestones, which are considered interesting monuments from the point of decoration.
Inn-masi or Anapat called church was built from clearly-trimmed stone. It has a scheme of vaulted hall. The building inscription has preserved. "In 1881 I built this saint Inn Masonts church in Hovsep Vardapet Pnacheat's power".
In the eastern part of Anapat there are the ruins of another church. In the surroundings of this monument preserved the places of houses of Hin Mokhratagh village.
In the eastern wing of Inn Masi, inside the ramparts is placed the palace of Melik Israyelyan. M.Barkhudaryan was here in the end of last century. About the fully-preserved constructions her wrote," The whole palace consists of 12 rooms, which have different shapes and sizes. The rooms were family rooms, bedrooms, cabinet, court, bakery, kitchen, a room for servants and a shed. The windows of all these rooms opened from the inside part of the fortress. The fourth room counting from east has a square shape aned a roof built from stone and clay".
The fort-palace stretches 45m long and 29m wide. The building date is 1771.
In Khach-Horhat settlement have preserved a small church, ruins of oil-mill and a large cemetery.
Tavarakhach (taver-cattle, khach-cross). In old times when was spread epidemy among domestic cattle here were driven animals from Kusapat and neighboring villages and took them around the sacred tree three times, for saving them from the illness. The shepherds broke their crooks on the tree, and hanged the broken parts from it. For curing the animals analogous rituals were performed near other sacred places- in vilalge Drnavaz and in church Shoshk.
Grigor’s Khachkar. Towards south-west from monastery Inn Masi, on top of the hill around the destroyed church stretches a large cemetery. Almost all the gravestones are destroyed and have lost their original appearance. In the shade of a secular oak-tree among the ruins of a church is put a khachkar, which by the stylistic peculiarities and written letters can be referred to IX-Xcc.
Monuments of Tartar valley
The valley of Tartar river (ancient Trtu) is one of the picturesque and interesting corners of Small Caucausus. The nature here is quite various. The river starts from Zangezur mountain-ridge, makes several circles towards north till the historical Vaikunik, gets to the center Tsar, the province of the same name, where in old times was situated “royal bath-houses”- Jermuk. From here it turns towards east, goes around the administrative center of Top Khachen Haterk.
Near Jraberd, interflowing with the mountain river Trghi, which comes from the virgin woods of Mrov, Tartar gradually flows to Artsakh valley and falls into Kur. The whole length of the river is 165m, the average abate in every km is 19m.
The valley is specked with numerous ravines and defiles, large and small gorges. Crossing the slopes of the mountain spurs ravines 250-500m deep, formed strong vertical cliffs. Along these edges in some places are traced earth-cuts, in the direction of which go the cliffs and canyons 350m high.
Most of all by ravines are cut Sarsang-Mataghis and Tsar- Haterk. The ravines here narrow so much that it seems that the rops of the cliffs touch each other, and the river time to time is seen, then gets lost in the natural deep tunnels.
Tartar valley is famous for numerous and various nistorico-architectural monuments. Among them is the princely residence Tsar- with church Surb Sargis, Surb Grigor and Surb Astvatsatsin, monastery Getamej (XII-XIIIcc). Then monastery Dadi, or Khuta, already spoken about in early-medieval sources.
Opposite monastery Khutavank, on the rigvht bank of river Tartar, on top of the high mountain is situated fort Levonaberd (ancient Havkakaghak), which in middle ages was “repaired by means of Kilikia’s king Levon I and that’s why is named after him”.
A little below Khutavank, on the right bank of the river, on a beautiful narrow cape, covered with trees stretch the half-destroyed constructions of Khatravank monastery (XIIIc). Towards right is situated monastery Karmirvank, a little away – monastery Amenaprkich, and from left is monastery Charektar (XII- XIIIc).
On the left bank of Tartar, on Mrovasar mountain’s slopes are the forts of Top Khachen’s princes Vakhtangyans: Akan, Andaberd (XII- XIIIc), and their residence Haterd. In the surroundings of Haterk are situated monasteries Khlen, Kolen, Itskar, Masis or Mesis, Shukavank, settlements Tsos, Khotorashen, Mtnadzor, sacred places Mrovi ojakh, Surb Sargis. These ancient monuments are mainly built in V- VIIIcc.
Below the present weir built by the historical bridge Sarsang (XIIIc), there, where Trghi interflows with Tartar, on top of the impregnable cliff is situated for Jraberd. The ancient fort has never been seized by enemy. Up to this day many secrets of its defense system remain unknown.
Below Jraberd fort in various parts of the valley have preserved monuments, the foundation date of which according to the sources refer to V-VIIcc. These were the first educational centers in the area. Mesrop Mashtots, the genius creator of Armenian letters, opened schools adjacent to monasteries Glkho or Urek, Yeghishe or Jrvshtik.
Here, near Tartar’s banks are situated the ruins of Kaghakategh- the administrative center of Jraberd, monastery Yerek Mankunk, Katoghikasar, Tiramayr, and also number of churches, bridges, settlements, gravestones, canals and forts.
Besides the large historico-architectural ensembles in Tartar river valley have preserved a great number of khachkars. Here are especially worth-remembering the khachkars of large settlements Tsar and monastery Dadi, the frescos of Khutavank, which are the unique creations of medieval monumental art, and to which we will return yet.
Dadi or Khuta temple
There is a large valley in the place where Gharabagh and Mrav mountain-chains get closer by a slopy hill. On that small, but very beautiful plain's central hill is built one of the remarkable constructions of Armenian architecture - Dadivank or Khutavank.
Etymology of "Dadi" and "Khuta" names are given in two ways in our lythograph- one connected with Armenian custom, the other connected with the district.
The first one is connected with one of the 70 students of the Apostle St. Thaddeus, named Dadi or Dado, who preached Christianity in Artsakh and died there; "Dadi, one of my 70, that went by Tadi's order to Mets Hayk in northern side, nad became the death of Abgar, then came to Pokr Syunik and built a temple here and after his name called it Dadi")
The first apostles that preached Christianity in Armenian were known to be in first century. Therefore the first building of this monk-complex was probably founded in the second half of the same century, if not before that. But very few things have preserved from that time, because the temple was completely destroyed during the campaigns of foreign bandits. The preserved monuments belong to 10-13cc.
From information taken from other sources Dadi temple's serving-worldly people formed a large village named Khot. From that village only 300 families in the end of 18c transferred to Yerevan district, founded village Yengija, later on most part of them migrated to Shulaver.
The temple was robbed by Persians, then Arabs, Seljuks, later by Osman Turks and again by Persians. Moreover, the temple that passed through the experiments of centuries since 17c little by little was deprived of its wealth and what’s most tragic, from the surrounding tens of Armenian villages (who migrated to the depths of Persia), even from serving population. That's the reason why arch-bishop Sargis Jalalyans in the middle of 19c found Dadi temple lonely and ramshackle. "Those places are hiding-places for bandits and robbers of Artsakh district" and they in the traditional sacred placed keep "their animals", then "The large gardens are all destroyed, only the wild fruit-trees grow and multiply".
Dadi temple with its buildings and multifarious building-materials used on them, very fine bas-reliefs with church and lithography’s (as well as the presence of its wonderful wall-pictures) is exceptionally noteworthy. The monk complex is almost divided into two parts- the main part inside the ramparts and the southern auxiliary constructions placed out of the rampart.
The Ancient church or the one-nave basilica is situated on the northern slope of the complex. The northern wall completely and the eastern part are partly dug in the earth. The vaulted roof of the quite large construction was leaning on the half-pillars, three adjacent to each wall. The scheme is a prolonged rectangle without any division. The northern and southern walls have bays, which are encircled by clearly-trimmed stones. One of the two doors of the church is in the western wall, the other is in the corners of southern and eastern walls. The doors, especially the western one, are carved and outline the restrained ornament of the basilica even more.
The second church, which is considered one of the ancients too, is adjacent to the first one from south. This church is comparatively narrower and shorter, the two-row three in each wall-pillars repeat like the first one. The walls are built of untrimmed stone and have built-in closets outlined by clearly trimmed stone. The noticable similar different masonry of basilica's separate parts show that the church was repaired. The repair ws done with so much care that the former look of the old building has completely preserved.
The church hall is divided into two equal parts by a partition. The western hall had probably served as a chapel. "Here there two buildings" wrote Mesrop Magistros arch-bishop Ter-Movsisyan "chosing as a building place for this remarkable temple makes us suppose that this place was consecrated by a deeper antiquity, that Artsakh's princes chose as their family cemetery and enriching it with lands made it one of the greatest temples".
The most important construction period of Dadi temple is the first half of 13c, when begins construction of new buildings. One of the first buildings built during that period is considered Grigor episcop's vestibule-chapel. It's adjacent to the basilica from west and in the general temple assembly it surely has its unique architectural description.
The vestibule-chapel is a unique construction. By its meaning it has half-worldly half-religious importance, by architectural scheme and constructional principle it concerns Armenian national houses.
The builders of the vestibule-chapel, proceeding from requirements to build a common architectural complex first of all had the old basilica repaired, then only built the vestibule-chapel. Perhaps by this can be explained the exterior modest and restrained ornament, and the contrast of interior opulence, which to our mind is the result of architect's delicate and witty intention. If inside the vestibule the architect had the opportunity to solve each intention freely, from ouside those opportunities were so limited that in case of creating opulence, the ancient religious leading churches would remain in shadow and their impressiveness would decrease. Meanwhile, as was mentioned above, the reforms on the churches- the ornament-carvings of doors, the clearly-trimmed circles of bays outline the peculiarities of unique buildings even more.
The arches connecting the vestibule's inside four one-piece stony pillars and their corresponding half-pillars carry the building's cover with an opening. Like the churches the monument is a tall building built from untrimmed stone from inside. The only door is from southern side outlined by ornament-carvings. The inscription on the right side of the door shows that it was built in 1224 by Grigor episkop.
Numerous khachkars were put inside the vestibule’s walls. From that point the western wall is typical, in the middle of which nie khachkars are placed side by side. This small constructions are covered with fine, beautiful lace-decorated carvings and donation inscriptions.
Grigor episcop vestibule-chapel had been the grave-house of Verin Khachen's prince family throughout centuries. From inside the floor is covered with tombstones, part of writings on which are already erased.
Arzu- Khatun church-monument stands out like a wonderful monument in Dadi temple complex. Armenian architecture's remarkable and famous this monument is situated in the eastern part of temple's territory, on the brink of the precipice going down to the deep canyon. All the other constructions are placed towards north and south-west from it. Through monk and worldly these buildings in two rows, from the main gate of the rampart to teh monument stretches a wide and long passage, which in literature is called "poghota" (avenue).
The temple was founded in 1214 by Haterk's great prince Vakhtang Barepasht's wife Arzu Khatun. The large building inscription of the monument (19 long lines) preserved on its southern wall tells about Arzu Khatun and the construction she started in detail. Here is the first part of that inscription; "Thanks to Almighty God and His Only Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I , Arzu Khatun, Your servant, Great prince Krdin's daughter and Khachen's Vakhtank's wife built this sacred monument with great hope in the place of my cemetery and my sons Hasanay and Grigor, that Kesarian lord killed and for their mercy God advised me this".
Arzu-Khatun church-monument is a large construction belonging to vaulted type of halls, crowned with wide and polyhedral high drums and sharp painted spire. It has crucified from inside and quadrangle from outside scheme. The wall-pillars of inside four corners at the same time serve as support for the tall dome. To the second floor vestries one can get by the consol stairs fastened on the walls. The monument's inside half-pillars and their connecting arches are from white heavy stone decorated with very fine carvings. The inside walls' plaster, destroyed and chapped in some places is covered with badly-preserved wall-pictures. The up to date preserved pictures show the traditional traits of Armenian fresco- plentiful colors, the simple method of painting, love towards decoration, brightly expressed eastern type of face.
In the western side of Arzu-Khatun church, directly adjoining to the front wall there is a large hall stretched across, which is built on such account that church' entry with its carved belt became hall's inside decoration's center, and the hall serves as a vestibule for the church.
Like similar medieval vestibule-halls this one too instead of front wall has pillars placed in equal distances, which above join bow-like and carry on them part of the vaulted, gable roof. Other ends of the roof lean on the second basilica's southern wall. This well-preserved monument with its position and building-parts is the repetition of Tatev temple's large hall, only pillars here are built from untrimmed stone. Three inscriptions of the construction preserved, two of which are badly harmed, the third one is the building inscription the date on which was rubbed off. Fortunately once it was recorded and according to it this hall was built in 1241 by Smbat.
Chapel is situated in the western part of the complex, in front of the gate. The two-story construction was built in 13c by Dopeants prince Vahram's son Sargis episcop. The first floor is death from all sides, in western side the staircase goes up to second floor, where in a cell surrounded by walls, carved fronts directed towards west fully preserved Dadi temple's two matchless khachkars.
Chapel's second floor is a four-pillar dome, where in old times probably were hung the bells. The dome's cover, vaults, four round pillars, their capitals and foundations are clearly-trimmed, beatiful and in common make a pleasant expression. Most likely, at first, the construction's first and second floors had a passage, adn only later khachkars were placed in the second floor and covered from behind, so that the whole construction would become kind of a shelf for those highly artistic khachkars.
Each of the khachkars consists of two grey-white pieces of clay-stones, the bottom one of which is four times bigger and is considered to be the main part. The two parts are joined to each other in such a way that from first sight they make an impression of one-piece stone.
Though the khachkars very much resemble each other by their volume and plentifullness of ornaments, but they quite differ from each other by decorative-ornament braids and unique peculiarities. This condition doesn't create contrast and even leaves extraordinary and inimitable impression on the regarder, and their being placed side by side becomes ordinary. Both khachkars stand out by luxurious ornaments and mastery. In their ornaments geometric lines and natural complicated braid-decorations are very impressive. In fact the braid was made smaller and finer to such degree that the decoration on stone looks like a jeweller's or hand-crafted perfect work. In the common formation of these magestic monument decorations inscriptions are included only as auxiliary elements. And, what's most important, the inscriptions give true information about why each khachkar was put, its date and building patrons. That's why all the investigators (and why only investigators) unanimously think that these khachkars "...don't have their equals anywhere, in no temple" or "in their type even if they are not considered the best, then it's impossible to point to a more perfectf one". The ornament of these khachkars are supposed to have been taken from Arzu-Khatun's hand-crafts. Khachen's kind lady is known to have knitted table-clothes for Goshavank, Haghbat, Makravank, Dadi and other temple's tables. The "natural correctness" mentioned by the great historian we can see on the khachkars intesting us even today. 13c created these monuments are the most magnificent ones among thousands of Armenian khachkars.
All the mentioned monuments are situated above the avenue-like passage, in its left wing. Now let's see what constructions are there on teh opposite side, on the southern slopy plain of the hill.
In front of the hall-vestibule's pillar row, on avenue's level is Hasan great's church with brick-dome, the spire of which is destroyed.
It's the second construction in Lernayin Gharabagh's territory, where brick is used in building.
The church, which is often called chapel for its small size has a quandrangle scheme. The roof and the walls are built from half-trimmed clay-stones. There are unusually many khachkars put in walls with memorials of donor patrons. The khachkar on the wall of the inside left bay is dated "Â. àÐ²"
(1182). Even if this inscription was not made when the church was built, anyways, we should accept that the church had already been built for the mentioned khachkar to be fastened on the wall.
South from Hasan the greats church, on a slope is situated the second chapel which by its architecture presents somewhat interest in the complex. The builder is again episkop named Grigor, whose inscription was left on the southern wall: "Â àÎ" (1211).
The chapel consists of three adjoining halls. The first, large hall is built by the special way and resemblance of chapels. From outside the walls are built from roughly-trimmed and from inside clearly-trimmed stone. Four one-stone pillars carry the vaulted cover with a passage. By the richness of their types especially stand out the quadrangle bays and anchors of pillars, the cover of the central part, the stony benches placed along the northern wall.
The next hall is smaller and that's why has three pillars instead of four. The last, third hall differs from the previous ones by its small sizes and receives light from the simple windows opened in walls. This one too, like the previous ones has only one door. There are two other similar buildings on the same slope, towards west. These ones too are divided into three halls each. If thse halls had common doors with each other, they could be considered a large apartment. These buildings are simpler. Later on hall-like apartments with wide passages were built on them. Dadi temple's hotel, work-house, writing-house, wine-press, creamery, sacred-house, friary's cells and number of other buildings are situated in the southern "region's" various spots, in the surroundings of which can be seen traces from grave-hills and old, destroyed buildings. Besides these three small chapels (in ramshackle condition) are situated outside the temple's ramparts, on the near hills.
The whole southern territory of the monk complex till the bank of river Tartar is covered with gardens, once belonging to the temple, and most part of which now have joined the secular forest.
So, Dadi temple's large complex can surely be considered a unique architectural school, where the best traditions of many-century Armenian architecture were generalized.
Towards west from monastery Dadi, surrounded by mountains are situated ancient Tsar’s ruins. This settlement in medieval period was not only the administrative and trading center, but also a large hearth of culture as for Artsakh, so for whole Armenia. It was a large point in ancient trading-road, connecting Vachar Artskh, valley of river Tarat and Partav with the basin of lake Sevan, Vayots dzor and Dvin.
Besides the serf-walls and palaces, judging by ruins here have been three churches and a monastery, supplementing the architectural appearance of Tsar. But neither buildings, nor numerous khachkars, which had amazed the examiners in the recent pst, don’t exist any longer. About Tsar and the monuments around it aracheologist E.G. Pchelin in 1940 wrote “Numerous dwelling caves, ruins of settlements, serf-walls, chapels and churches speak about the past life in the presently almost deserted areas. Unfortunately, most of these monuments being not examined, aren’t even mentioned in literature, at least for registration. From Armenians, who had lived here, remain large cemeteries, stretching as around the half-destroyed churches, so separately”. While describing the reliefs of church building and various gravestones she especially points out the latters. They “present great scientific interest as monuments of medieval-period Armenian sculpture”. In the “Vault of Armenian inscriptions”, created by S. Barkhudaryan, 41 inscriptions belong to Tsar, 15 from which have been published for the first time.
Tsar had been princely residence for a long time, and in recently passed years it was the princely center. The whole province which was once in Sodk’s area, as is seen from Stepanos Orbelyan’s sources, was called Tsar. The former large province is now divided between Kelbajar, Lachin, Martakert and Vardenis regions. Monastery Tsar, which was once called Getamej, was built in 1301. The cathedral church Surb Grigor was built in 1274, church Surb Sargis in 1279. By some information in their place functioned more ancient cult constructions.
Surb Astvatsatin Monastery
The large medieval-period monastic complex, which includes over 20 constructions and rooms is situated 3km towards west from Dadivank, at the foot of rocky hill on Tartar’s right bank.
The most ancient monument of the monastery church Surb Astvatsatsin is in the northern part of the complex. It’s a rectangular in scheme one-nave basilica with vaulted cover. About the foundation date of the church points the squared-beam inscription; “… princess daughter of king Kyurike… in 1174”.
From west to the church joins the rectangular vestibule-gavit. The western entry leads to the adjacent room, and the large south-western door opens to the yard.
From west to the church joins an ancient chapel, the northern wall of which is at the same time the continuation of temple’s southern wall.
In the center of the complex is the main church of the monastery, analogous to the churches of late medieval period. This three-nave basilica with interesting interior has almost wholly-preserved. Th church-vault leans of two pylons and four pre-wall half-pylons. By its volume-space solution it reminds church Surb Astvatsatsin (1621) in village Akaku in Hadrut region. The vestibule of the temple is a square in scheme hall, and like the Armenian glkhatuns, in vault cover it has light-passage-yerdik. One entry of the vestibule is connected with the yard, and the other is connected with the chapel in southern part.
In the western part of the complex, along north-south axis were situated now wholly-destroyed auxiliary constructions. Here remains only the rectangular in scheme with vaulted cover prolonged building in south-western part. Obviously in the past it was used as a stable. Number of dwelling and communal buildings are in southern part of the complex. All the constructions of the monastery are mostly built from untrimmed stone, except for some main parts, where is used roughly-trimmed and clearly-trimmed stone. Khachkars and stones with epigraphic inscriptions are badly harmed.
In the monastery are calculated 8 inscriptions, 3 of which are dated 1174, 1178, 1261.
Judging by the preserved and destroyed monastic monuments in the past here had been a large religious center, belonging to Tsar’s princes.
Towards south-east from the above mentioned monuments, on Tartar's bank, 2km far from the river, on the end of a sabre-shape mountain-ridge stretches Khatravank complex with presently blackened and mossy, half-destroyed ramparts, old and new churches.
Khatravank, which certainly was a remarkable architectural complex, contains number of voluable collection of khachkars. There was a nice custom in Medieval Armenia; while building monk buildings they put old khachkars and inscriptions, things connected with historical memories in the walls.
So, this way the built building became a unique museum. A best example of it is Khatravank, tens of khachkars and wall-carvings on the walls of which can open many folds of the area's previous history and culture, about which there are no other sources.
The temple consists of three churches, a vestibule, dwelling and communal constructions. Khatravank construction's building inscription is since 1204 and informs us that the church was built by Hovanes Khachenetsi. He collected crosses and khachkars, written journals and other sacred objects, planted a new garden and with onother garden presented to the temple.
The church has an enterior cruciform, exterior rectangle, vestries in four corners composition. It's not symmetric in scheme. In the praying hall there are two one-nave vaulted chapels with rectangle stages. From this point it is exceptional in Armenian architecture. The inside pillars of the church are from trimmed-grey stone decorated with carvings. The first two from four pillars are integral, the others consist of two-pieces each. Symbols of Evangelists are carved on their anchors. The stage with the main table is situated in half-circle of eastern wall. There are also two large and two small vestries. The inside walls are plastered with lime mortar. The destroyed chapel is adjacent to the church. It can be seen from its half-destroyed walls that the chapel had two stories covered with madder stone.
On the western side of the chapel is situated the vaulted hall type of dining-hall. This construction stretching from east to west performs quite an important role in the general architectural solution of the complex. The dining hall has preserved comparatively well. The walls and the vault are built from local roughly-trimmed stone and lime mortar, only the arches and the wall-pillars that carry the vault are from trimmed stone.
The dining-hall is lighted by means of four windows, which widen towards inside in southern and eastern walls. For auxiliary lighting and airing roofings are opened in the vaulted cover.
As has already been mentioned, all the buildings of the temple are completely covered with trees and bushes, which cover them entirely and the presence of an architectural construction in the thick forest can be noticed only whn very close to it. The ramparts, cells, other constructions and buildings became nature's victims and it's now impossible to give the full picture of complex' main scheme. Even the roofs of the buildings are covered woth trees and bushes. The gable roof of the big church is completely covered with trees.
In western side of Khatravank, in the rock on the slope of a deep canyon is situated Khatra called fortress.
Haterk is one of the oldest settlements of Lernayin Gharabagh. As historical sources evidence it had performed a great political role in Medieval period.
The borders of the princedom “stretched from surroundings of monastery Yeghishe Arakyal or Jrvshtik to the large religious center- monastery Dadi”. Its most prosperous period was during Vakhtang’s rulin (1182- 1214). It’s known that the famous Armenian lawyer and fabulist Mkhitar Gosh spent some time in Haterk. Here is what writes Kirakos Ghandzaketsi about it. “… He came to Haterk region to Haterk’s owner Vakhtang and his brothers, who treated him with honor. There he stayed for several years”. The owners of Haterk didn’t only add to monasteries Dadi or Khatra new buildings, but also took an active part in building Nor Getik monastery. With Haterk were in close relations Armenian miliatary leaders Zakare and Ivane Zakaryans, brothers of princess Dop, wives of owner of Tsar Hasan Sakaryan. The leaders of Haterk and Tsar were kinsmen- branches of one and the same Aranshakhian famiy.
The political, economical and cultural life of historical Haterk hasn’t yet become an object of special examination. Important information about the famous settlement have preserved in works of Movses Kaghankatvatsi, Kirakos Gandzaketsi, in Al- Istakhri’s book “About the princedom roads”. Separate questions, connected with the settlement were spoken about in researches of M. Barkhudaryan, Ya. Manandyan, B. Ulubabyan. About Haterk and the patriotic activities of its inhabitants also have the numerous epigraphic inscriptions scattered in the surroundings of New and Old Haterk.
Haterikians took an active part in the national-liberation movement, that began in the area. In the archive of Foreign policy of Russia has preserved a list of 40 Armenian delegates, who had visited Petros Great, where there is also Artsakhian Ushukhan’s signature “Ushukhan from Haterk”.
Situated at the foot of Mrov Haterk, population of which is now over 3000, stands out by wonderful nature. The thick forests and meadows, the cold springs and fast rivers, the arable fields and fruit gardens give a unique attractiveness to the village. And all this splendor crown the historical monuments.
From south and south-west Haterk’s fields are washed by Tartar, and rom west- by river Gyarag. The settlement itself is divided into three parts: Shen (village’s center), Kyok (most likely gog- lap) and Mtghaser. To Haterk migrated inhabitants from the surrounding villages Yengija, Akni Hoghi, Takjur, Tetats aghpyur, Tsngnavor, Mrkyurin kyumer, Sumin Kyumer, Trakan, Tsaghkots, Chakhen ants, Ghlamajur, Hunot pos, Astghablur, Sranuts, Purchaghak, Dahanak,etc.
From the three churches of Haterk has preserved only one- Surb Astvatsatsin, situated in the middle of the village. The church is a three-nave basilica with a horse-shoe-shaped apside. The bottom layers of the walls are realized with large basalt rocks.
In Shen remain separate trimmed and ornamented parts from church Surb Nshan. The church also had another name- Pap in the past the local inhabitants always swear in the name of Pap or Surb Nshan.
Fort Akana. Occupying large area for Akana, judging by the remaining parts of walls has played an important role in organizing defense of inhabitants of Haterk province. It is situated towards north-east from Haterk, at the foot of mountain Balin, on the left bank of river Akana, on an impregnable plateau from two sides surrounded with canyons.
Inside the serf-walls have preserved ruins of various buildings, built from roughly-trimmed stone vaulted halls, gravestones. From the north-eastern wall starts the secret underground passage, which takes to the river, where is the bathing-room with four department, built from brick. In the walls have preserved horizontally placed ceramic pipes (diameter of one of them is 11, the other 7, and the whole length is 36cm) for supplying hot and cold water from the boiler-room, remainders of which are also noticeable .
Towards south-east from the fort lay ruins of a large settlement. Remainders of large and small constructions, three half-destroyed churches, trimmed stones and slabs, three spacey cemeteries serve basis for supposition that right in here was situated Berdavan- the administrative center of Haterk princedom.
One of the churches of Berdavan, built in XIIc has six remarkable pillars with interesting architectural solution and ornament, typical for that period. Here have been found pitchers, coins, arms, khachkars, and other objects.
Mughdusin cemetery. An old grave-house, is situated in the eastern part of the village, in the right slope of the canyon. There are number of khachkars in thickets. There are 13-17cc dated inscriptions on them. Towards east from here, on the left bank of Tartar, on a hill is situated a ruined chapel, already turned into heap of stones.
Astghablur. The settlement is in forest, 4km from Haterk. Here have preserved half-destroyed walls of the chapel from trimmed stone. This is a famous pilgrim-place. It’s mentioned in Movses Kaghankatvatsi’s history. According to the legend in this chapel is buried princess Astghik, who died by a martyr dead.
Masis or Msis: the local inhabitants call the complex Mesis Vank. Around it are noticeable traces of serf-walls and a cemetery. Near the monastery was situated a settlement of the same name. Here has preserved the millstone of the oil-mill, the dwelling foundations are noticeable.
The monument is situated towards north from Haterk, above Ulupap, on a woody spur of Mrov. The complex, judging by the ruins consisted from a church and a vestibule. The church is a basilica (5,3 x 3,2m), and occupies a not large area. The vestibule is a square in scheme large (6,5 x 6,4m) construction. The church from north is connected with a vestry, in the western part of which is placed the door to the vestibule. The exact foundation date of the monastery because of the absence or fragmentary inscriptions is yet unknown. Only separate details point to XIIc. The monastery was surrounded with a serf-wall. In the beginning of our century the complex was partly repaired by brothers Bala, Aghabek, Musael and Nerses from Vardunts family. Shukavank:a settlement with destroyed church, cemetery, spring. Here have also preserved traces of ancient threshing-floors and storages. It is situated on a beautiful hill on Trghi’s bank.
Mtnadzor: settlement. Have preserved the ruins of the church, cemetery, ancient threshing-floors, boundary marks of hill allotments. In the settlement there is a spring, which as observer’s evidence had a memorial stone with an epigraphic inscription, which unfortunately hasn’t presreved. As the local inhabitants tell, near the spring was situated a large anvil, on which could sit two men and eat.
Khotorashen. The large settlement stretches till Plangh. Has preserved the ancient cemetery, traces of thresing-floors, walls of oil-mill, ornamented khachkars, typical for XIIIc.
Srashen: the area of this settlement stretching to the lake of the same name has long ago covered with wood. Because of the grown on gravestones thick moss there is no chance to read the inscriptions. 5km from the settlement there is a khachkar, called by people Ander khach (deserted cross).
Sumin settlement: is situated below Sranots. Between them have preserved ruins of a monastery and a large cemetery with richly ornamented gravestones. The monastery consisted of several constructions.
Tsos: part of the territory of this settlement is occupied with nut-trees. In the cemetery have preserved several khachkars. The settlement was last demolished in the end of XVIIIc, after which the inhabitants transferred to Gandzak’s surroundings.
Settlement Srin: is situated near Sumin cemetery with khachkars and ornamented gravestones.
Chapel: is situated above settlement Hunot pos. around it is a large cemetery with numerous khachkars. Monastery Itskar: is situated in the territory of a destroyed settlement. have preserved parts of trimmed pillars and walls, ornamented gravestones, khachkars and fragmentary epigraphic inscriptions. this XIIIc monument has not been examined yet.
Monastery Kolen: from the monastic buildings has preserved the church surrounded with cemeteries. The complex functioned in medieval period.
Settlement Hegheghoten: it is situataed between Sarukhach and monastery Glen kol. Are noticeable large ruins, threshing-floors, partly opened under ground khachkars and gravestones. The settlement was demolished in XIIIc.
Surb Vanes: a famous pilgrim place, situated not far from Terakan settlement’s spring have preserved only foundation of buildings and separate trimmed blocks. Here in ancient times came pilgrims from surrounding villages.
Settlement Tghkot: is situated between Tsos and Mtnadzor, near river Trghi. Have preserved traces of dwelling foundations, thresing-floor, khachkars and mill-stone. Near the cemetery stands a destroyed chruch. Settlement Tkoghnut is on the left bank of Trghi, near the confluence of rivers Trghi and Mrov. Are noticeable traces of dwellings, mills and threshing-floors. Have preserved several khachkars.
Saru kahch: is situated towards north from village Ulutlu. Are noticeable traces of settlement. in the eastern par has preserved a chapel.
Village Umutlu- a new settlement. it was founded in the beginning of this century by Kurdian clan Koloni. Tvlen Kertsen tak. Among the ruins of the settlement still stands a half-destroyed monastery, around which are sacttered ornamented stones. The natural opening in the cliff is closed with a wall and turned into a safe hiding-place. Its only entry opens in 30m here have been found numerous khachkars. Have preserved remainders from once large apple-garden.
Hamam: is situated on the way to Mtnadzor, on the right bank of Trghi. It is also called Ghlashmi. Have preserved potter-pipes, half-destroyed monastery, kahchkars with unreadable inscriptions.
Mrov’s Ojakh: a cave in the high plateau of Mrov mountain. In the ancient times served as a pilgrim place. Jani khach: once a pilgrim place.
Dziavor khach: is situated on the road taking to Mesis.
Tsnknavor: is situated in the south-western part of Haterk. The name of Tsnkanvor is the dialect form of tchgnavor (pilgrim). Connected with this we can suppose that here once has existed a cult construction. Surb Sargis: once of the famous pilgrim places in Haterk.
Havkakhaghats: on the right bank of Tartar, among thick forests proundly rises the huge rock Lachinaberd with a spacey plateau on the very top. This impregnable cliff was once the defense fort for Khachen’s leaders. Berdakar: the fort is situated in the western part of Haterk. From three sides it’s protected by ravines, and from north was fortified by two-layer serf-walls.
Lchakner: Towards north and west from Haterk are situated two not large lakes, on the shores of which are noticeable traces of ancient sonstructions.
The settlement is situated towards south-west from Haterk, on the left bank of river Tartar, in a wide hollow covered with wood. The church and the cemetery have secular history. In Chapar’s surroundings are the ruins of ancient settlements, cemeteries, churches, khachkars and other monuments.
Towards south from Chapar, in Tartar ravine were registered 36 settlements with half-destroyed churches, chapels and cemeteries. Number of settlements were later on inhabited with Kurdish trime Kolani. The inhabitants of prosperous settlements of ancient province Tsar, including also such famous ones as yeranshagh, Kh9ot, Mesropavan, in the beginning of XVIIc after the demolishing campaign of Shah Abas I, were transterred to Persia against their will.
About the antiquity of Chapar also evidences the ancient epigraphic inscription found in the village’s surroundings: “…in Surb Stepanos’ day. The one who brakes will be cursed by 318 fathers, and may he carry all my sins…”.
Akarakaberd: the fort is in 3km from Chapar. High and impregnable cliffs, where the fort is built, were fortified with double-walls. In the fort remains a large reservoir, the water-level of which remains unchanged throughout the year.
Surb Minas is towards north-west from the village, in 4-5km from Chapar. The one-nave basilica with trimmed-stone-walls is now completely destroyed. Approximately in 2km towards north from village Ancient Chapar stretches a large cemetery with kahchkars and gravestones.
Karmir Kari Vank: in a distance of 8km from Chapar is situated the construction of a monastic complex- consisting of a large and a small church, a vestibule and a chapel. Judging by the epigraphic inscriptions and khachkars these constructions refer to XII-XIIIcc. Towards north from the large church is situated a smaller church and a chapel. In the eaatern part the large church and the chapel are situated almost in one line. Between them there is a rectangular bay, forms bay, forms because of the deep (over 1m deep) position of the small church.
The church and the chapel are one-nave, rectangular in scheme simple basilicas, and the vestibule joining the church from west is a square in scheme interesting construction with a vaulted cruciform cover and light-passage in the center. All the constructions are realized from common untrimmed stone. The casings of doors, windows, the corner stones and some other important parts are from trimmed stone. The chruch and the chapel are solved in one architectural style. They differ by position of doors. The windows of the cult constructions are placed in the central part of the eastern walls. The entry to the large church and the vestibule is from west, and the small church- from north-west. Practically, the small church and the chapel are connected with a common yard. The vestibule has two entries from west and from north. Being a meeting place, the vestibule at the same time served as burial-vault for monastic friary.
In the surroundings of the monastery is situated an ancient cemetery, where are noticeable khachkars with ancient decorative motives. The epigraphic inscriptions are dated X_XIIIcc.
Ojakh: a pilgrim place. Is situated in 3,5km towards north from Chapar, by a mountain-path. Here have preserved the side-walls of constructions. In years with abundant precipitation inside these ruins forms a spring.
Poghos Tchgnavor: the monument is situated near village Ancient Chapar. It is surrounded with gravesones and huge khachkars, which point on the time of its functioning- XII-XIVcc.
The word “chapar” translated from one of the dialects of Armenian language means “fence”. The village’s name is mentioned in inscriptions of monastery charektar, situated not far from Chapar.
This famous monastery of Top Khachen is situataed on the left bank of Tartar, on a high hill, in village Charektar. Most likely the village’s name originated from the monastery’s name. The older name of this complex is unknown. The main church of the monastery built in 1260 according to tone of the inscriptions was called Surb Astvatsatsin.
The monastic complex is almost fully-destroyed, its trimmed stones were used in building dwelling and industrial buildings. The same fate overtook also the khachkars and gravestones, numerous pieces of which are scattered at the foot of the hill. Here has fully-preserved the church, remain separate parts of the vestibule, dining-hall, belfry and also khachkars, gravestones, and pieces with epigraphic inscriptions.
Examination of the preserved buildings in architectural-scheme aspect, the few written materials about them, the epigraphic inscriptions, and also the observations made in the area let us point out that the constructions supplementing the compositional appearance of the church refer to different periods. The church is a rectangular in scheme not large (sizes 7x 3m) basilica with a gable roof an rectangular-form altar in the eastern part. In Khachen there are many churches with similar altars, mostly in the valley of river Tartar. According to the building inscriptions they were built in XI-XIIcc. From the ruins of the vestibule in the western part of the church has preserved very little. The remainders of corner half-round towers in its southern part speak about that the vestibule was also part of the defense wall. From south to the church joins the dining-hall, stretched by north-south axis. Here has preserved the northern wall and the foundations of eastern and western walls.
Important historical value present the inscriptions of the monastery, 11 of which were published by S. Barkhudaryan in the fifth edition of “Vaults of Armenian inscriptions”. These inscriptions are dated 601 (1152), 709 (1206), 796 (1347), 809 (1360) years of Armenian chronology. There are also many undated inscriptions, which have concrete information about the medieval-period reality of Eastern Armenia. so, by the northern wall of the church on a stone-block is carved “By God’s will this is the letter of Nuradin, that gave (land) Patlanants to Koghtapan for my soul’s salvation. Leader of spiritual friary Hovanes and other brothers gave two days of liturgy on Saint Sargis’ day: one to me and another to Khorishah. The one who takes away the land or protests, will be cursed by 1318 fathers”. This inscription (undated) has wholly-preserved.
In the monastery, especially in the vestibule there were numerous gravestones. The khachkars and the gravestones, as the witnesses evidence stood out by magnificent processed vegetable or geometric ornaments. By an especially rich decoration stood out the gravestone of Grigor- the brave prince of Tsar province. Unfortunately, in recently past years judging by the scheme of the medieval-period monastic complex, some of its building were destroyed, except for an only preserved church, which is used as a cattle-shed.
Vaghuhas, one of the famous villages of Top Khachen, is situated on the right bank of Tartar, on a slopy plateau, opposite Haterk. The ancient bridge over the river was the main connecting point on the trading road Dvin- Partav. Passing over the bridge the road was the shortest way, by ages connecting provinces of Khachen, Jraberd with basin of lake Sevan. Presently in 20m from old bridge is built a new bridge, by means of which Martakert region communicates with Kelbajar. Here, in the left bank of river Tartar still preserve ruins of an ancient caravansary.
Churches, cemeteries, foundations of dwellings, meeting everywhere speak about existence of ancient villages in Vaghuhas’ surroundings. Villages Ancient Vaghuhas is situated in 2-3km from the present village. In the presently ruined church once stood a large, skillfully ornamented khachkar 3km high and an inscription of 1218.
The Vardan village have preserved ruins of a monastery, one of the inscriptions of which informs: “In the summer of 664 (1215) I, Hasan, daughter of Grigor Great, prince Taghan’s wife, built a church…” The monastic complex consists of a church with two vestries, a chapel, a vestibule and other constructions, now destroyed. The church is rectangular in scheme, not large one-nave basilica. The half-round altar, which is the continuation of the praying-hall in the direction of east has vaulted cover. Built in coming years two vestries with cylindrical vault connect with the praying-hall by its entries. They are mainly lit by the windows, placed in eastern walls, one each.
The vestibule, joining the western wall of the church is considerably destroyed. The vestibule’s vault with a light-passage in the center leaned on belt-arches.
The chapel is in the northern part. This wall is a rectangular in scheme hall, in the southern wall of which there is a bay, and in eastern- a window. It’s covered with a cylindrical vault on belt-arches and a gable roof.
As building material is used simple stone as untrimmed so trimmed. The casings of windows and doors, and also the belt-arches and corner-stones are from even-trimmed stone.
Towards east from Vaghuhas is village Mataghis, in which according to the legend there were 800 houses. In the north-eastern part of the village still in the end of the past century were noticeable “half-destroyed chapel, ruins of a bridge and large khachkars”.
Another village with a church and cemetery is situated near village Khunktala. From the third village, Yeghtsu Tala, remain a “half-destroyed large church, a large cemetery and a stony cross 3m high”.
Certain interest present also two chapels, called Vahin on mountain Hin Gaylasar. In rainy and dry years here were performed people’s ceremonies- for starting or stopping raining. According to the local popular belief if “water the right chapel, it will start raining and if make fire on the other one- the sunny days will start”.
Mayrakaghak or monastery Tiramayr
The complex of destroyed buildings in the center of Vaghuhas settlement is usually called Mayrakaghak. It consists of a large and a small church, a vestibule and a large cemetery. In old times the monastery was very famous. Here even set the episcops. For the large fresco picturing Holy Virgin the monastery was also known by Tiramayr (Holy Virgin) name. In its time “part of the vestibule was separated, and judging by the large bays in the walls, it was turned into a book-storage”. Unfortunately the monastery and the cemetery became victims of frame of mind of 20-30’s.
As is mentioned in scientific literature the monastery was built with trimmed stone of madder color. Now remain separate parts of walls, several khachkars and inscribed stones. The inscriptions of the monastery fortunately were copied on time. On the northern wall there is an inscription of 9 lines, informing about the building date of the church: “In the summer of 632 of Armenian chronology (1183)… I, Hasan, Vakhtang’s son, built a church..”. the vestibule of the church was built considerably later, about which evidences another inscription on the front bay- “During Great Jalal Doli’s principality and leadership of Ter Nerses, catholicos Aghvanits… (summer) 695 (1246).
The monastery is situated in forest, surrounded with deep canyons and slopy slopes, in 3km from ancient Vaghuhas. The complex consists of a church, vestibules, chapel, destroyed cells and other constructions. All the constructions were built from the local chipped stone. Trimmed stones are only used in the casings of bays, openings of doors and windows. The inscribed stones with epigraphic inscriptions are also trimmed. For monastery’s khachkars is used rough pink stone. They have certain similarity with the above-described stones of Tartar valley. All the khachkars stand out by high carving technique and have several stylistic peculiarities.
The monastery is full of epigraphic inscriptions, from which 18 were published. The inscription are carved on the walls of the church and the vestibule, on the squared-beam stones of portals and khachkars. They tell true and valuable information not only about the monastery’s construction, but also about the social-political relations of Top Khachen’s principality.
The 16-line building inscription carved on a narrow and long stone, placed in the eastern part of northern wall says, “ In the summer of 673 (1224). I, Vakhtang’s son, Hasan’s brother built this church and gave to (church) service my son Grigor and the planted by me garden in Chak together with the gardener (for) my soul’s salvation…”. About this church’ building, but with mentioning other date and other orderer is informed in a 13-line inscription of its southern wall- “In the summer of 708 (1259). I, Ter Grigor, Amaras’ episcop joined the sacred friary and paid wage to the architect, that built the church. Monastery’s leader, Ter Grigoris…”. A repeated building of the church 35 years later, most likely speaks about that the church was harmed or even maybe destroyed by the enemy to such degree that the repairers found suitable to use the word “build”. The dates can’t be mistaken, as according to the first inscription , Sakar sends his son Grigor to serve in church, and in the second inscription the same Grigoris appears as the leader of the monastery.
As is known Sakar or Sakr was the representative of Tsar’s princedom. In the other, not less interesting inscription on one of Karmirvank’s khachkars is told the name of the church, or maybe the monastery: “Surb Grigor from Berdadzor”. In the inscription are also mentioned the gifts, presented by Sakar. This way, Sakar most likely rebuilt Surb Grigor monastery in Berdadzor and became its guardian.
Obviously the architect that rebuilt the church was rather a famous person, as his name he changed by title Varpet (teacher) the inscriptions on the church-walls give interesting information also about the amount of wage of architects. According to S.Barkhudaryan’s calculations the unknown architect-master that fully repaired small constructions of Karmir monastery, got 80 dehekans. This for XIIIc “is a considerable sum of money, especially in outskirts”
What concerns the monastic constructions of Karmir or Berdadzor, then we should mention that the church is a small vaulted hall, to which from north joins the vestibule, and from south- the chapel. All the walls are built from chipped white and orange lime-stone. Here were also used large slabs.
The southern and northern walls of the monument are rather large. in the walls from interior side of the vestibule were built large bays, through which one can get to the vestries, placed in the walls.
Monastery Karmir is known as a prominent center of manuscript work. One of the monastery’s writers, named Vardan, in an inscription since 1621 informs about in what difficult conditions were the creators of Armenian manuscripts to work. “While writing a page they had to stand up 10 times. Don’t be sever to me for the book and the mistakes in it”. I take the pen and I need to take care of the stones and the wood, then will write a little- again I need to go take care of the garden…” obviously writer Vardan was charged with keeping monastery’s economy.
Monastery’s church, a unique construction with interesting architectural solution, is situated in a wonderful mountain slope on the right bank of Tartar, between villages Kochghot, Chldra, Aghber kan (Ghazarahogh), Poghosagomer, Drmbon, Zaglik. From its western side starts a slopy slope, at the foot of which is the monastic spring. From north noins a small edging, surrounded with rare fruit-trees.
Thanks to this and also the exact-found and harmonious proportions, the temple looks not only elegant, but to some extent also monumental. The builders of the church displayed high professional mastery: the church stands out not only by integrity, expressiveness, but also by outlined verticality.
The church is a not large cruciform in scheme construction (sizes from inside 5,2 x 4, 2m). The cross-wings, expect for the eastern apside, from inside have outlined rectangular configuration. They join with four arches carrying the dome, which in their turn lean on the corner-pilasters of the cover, which supports the cylindrical drum with four windows.
In the side-walls off eastern, southern and northern cross-wings there are windows. In northern and southern cross-wings in the walls are hollowed out four bays, two of which are square and the other two are oval. The walls from inside were plastered, which has come out in some places. The leveled rock served as the floor. The corners of cross-wing-arch-joints have some things in common with monuments of early-medieval period. That in the place of the present church had been more ancient constructions, also evidences the two-ladder socle, preserved from the former church. On the squared-beam of the portal is carved an undated inscription, which says, “…in principality of Vakhtang, Hasan’s son, I, Hovanes, and Sargis, and Grigor, and Serob- Arbatsayr’s sons, built Astvatsatsin by our own means”.
Though the building date of this construction is not mentioned, but certain clearness brings mentioning Vakhtang, who died in 1214. We may suppose that in the end of XII or in the beginning of XIIIc the former church was repaired, or even maybe rebuilt.
Around the church are noticeable ruins of subsidiary constructions, gravestones of ancient and new cemetery, and also kahchkars, with peculiar to XII-XIIIcc inscriptions and decorations.
3km towards west from monastery Amenaprkich, on a plateau stretches village Kochoghot. By the deed of Gandzasar’s catholicos Sargis in XVIc this area was given for migrants to inhabit, that were saved from Turk-Seljuks. People tell that in the place of the ancient village the inhabitants found only three half-destroyed churches, around which were scattered logs. From this originated the new village’s name; in Armenian “kochgh” means log. Other monuments too point on the existence of more ancient settlement in the place of the present village.
In village’s center stood a church, which according to the inscription was called Karmir Yeghtsi. It was destroyed in 1926 and its stones were used while building a school. Another church was situated in south-eastern part of the village, in district Maturi (matur-chapel). The third church is situated in southern part, in Srakants area. It too was destroyed not long afo, on its place have preserved foundations, gravestones and khachkars. In Khochoghot’s surroundings one may meet number of valuable khachkars. So, towards north from monastery Amenaprkich is placed a khachkar, called Baghrama khach; in the place Yerku Jrio Arank remains an interesting, ricly-ornamented khachkar; two khachkrs of larger size were found in the field during working the land; two others stand in area Verin or Khacheri ser. In Kochoghot time to time are found ceramic vessels, daggers, sarcophagi, gravestones and decorations.
Village Khorastan is situated between Kochoghot and Pghosagomer villages. Here have preserved ruins of a chapel and cemetery.
A large territory occupies village Tkhaghorn. Here have preserved ruins of a church, many gravestones and khachkars in the cemetery one of the khachkars is dated 1226.
Vilalge Karmir Kar and Yeri Oratagh is situated by the left outskirt of Kochoghot. Traces of church, dwelings and cemetery have preserved in the forest, in place Veri and Vari ghamshut tsov (Top and Bottom redd-lake). Not far from Amenaprkich monastery, towards northy from village Drmbon, in a woody ravine Maturi there are several monuments, which are not mentioned in literature. Among them stands out the chapel, situated by the spring in a fruit-garden, joint with the secular forest. As the local inhabitants tell the chapel has collapsed not long ago.
The inscription on a stone, which once has served as the squared-beam for the portal, informs that the chapel was built in 1187, under the guardianship of Khachen’s princes.
Next to the chapel there are two ancient cemeteries, church Anapat, numerous khachkars. A little away stretch villages, ruins of cult constructions and mills.
The following villages are known:Machegh, Pmenshen, Tkhakhor, Shahbaz, Khorastan. We should also mention about two khachkarfs, still standing on hill-slope, towards north-west from spring Moshahav. The water and the winds during time rubbed off their ornaments and inscriptions. but the preserving fragments evidence about the high art of their trimming. Two interesting khachkars (Tchokhtak khach) remain in villae Shahbaz, the third khachkar stands by spring Kor (blind) among the remainders of fruit-garden Melin.
Surb Astvatsatsin: The church is in 3km towards north-west from village Mayhman. Around the church, built from small untrimmed stone, are noticeable traces of other buildings and also gravestones.
Greeks, which lived in Mehman, call the church Panagia (Holy Virgin). The building inscription is carved on two slabs of the western wall of the destroyed church “Summer of 698 (1249)… I, Ter Nerses, and Hakob and pakhchan built this church…”. By the church’ entry stands a small narrow kahchkar. The inscription on it was put in 1250 by the same Nerses, who built the church..
Mets Shen... This ancient village is also rich of historical monuments.
A high mountain rises in front of the village. THe mountain is called Hrtptok. There are remainders of stony constructions on top of the mountain. Accoding to Makar episcop Barkhutaryants it had been a Berdasar, i.e. an observation post.
The ruins at the foot of the mountain are called "Zoratap". This "Zoratap" can be supposed to have been an arsenal, and it guarding observation post was Hrtptok's top, from where the surroundings nad even river Kur are well seen. Such boarding arsenals were called sghnakhner and last functioned during Avan Yuzbashi's power.
In Khanagyah called place of the Maghavuz and Mets Shen village are situated "Kaghakategh" ruins. The remainders of pince' stony palaces are noteworthy among the ruins. Leo wrote about them; "One of the most remarkable princes of Nothern Gharabagh, Melik Hatam built two palaes in Jraberd region, one of which in village Mokhratagh is beautiful, built from trimmed stone, stands half-destroyed and has 12 rooms, the other is in Mayrakaghak called place, is two-story and the top floor has 15 rooms. Prince's cabinet was built with much care and has a vaulted vestibule. The rooms had no windows, received light from the openings in the ceilings, which corresponded to the traditional roofings. Again traditional fire-places were built under the roofings. But it seems that they didn't burn wood in those fire-places, for the walls and the ceiling would have been black from the smoke, something that now can not be noticed.
The pinces' palaces, that belong to late medieval period contain palace architectural many elements of earlier times. In different times here also lived Jravberd's prince Hatam, Abraham and Mezhlum. Their palaces, arsenals, powder-flasks which are connected with each other by underground passages still remain. The bath-house, which gets water from Shrshran spring is considered a valuable monument in the town. The bath-house is situated in "Dimats tagh" (area). Only the front wall of the bath-house is destroyed. THe two towers of the twon still stand. They are 6m long. The town had had a secret passage, a chanel, which went down to river Tartar through the rock. 16 separate stables built specially for horses also preserved.
On the right bank of Tartar, on the right side of the path going down to the river from Met Shen villages "Khanagyah" called place, where Tartar coverges with Trghi, a granite cliff-rift stands. Nature has created very few more impregnable forts in Artsakh-Gharabagh world. From two sides- east and west rocky natural walls hang over Tartar and Trghi, in southern side a stony rising vertically goes down over Tartar.
Fastening this impregnable fort of nature by means of artificial constructions, they made it a fortress. In Jraberd’s surroundings it’s hard to find at least a small even surface, everywhere are cliffs with blue-green transfusion. The mountain-ridge is divided by rivers, the most important of which are Tartar and Trghi.
The great Armenian novelist Raffi, who has been in here in the end of XIXc, in his book “Traveling notes” comparing Jraberd with rebellious spirit and inflexible will of Gharabaghians, wrote “From a monstrous depth rises a bare wedge-shape cliff. You look and admire; how clever is the nature that presented such a wonder to people, who can find hiding-place here from fierce and foreign hordes”.
Not only rocks and man-built ramparts fasten this fort, not only the trench-like canyons close its four sides. Restless waters surround it from three sides, Trghi from one and Tartar from two sides. The fort's and area's name "Jraberd" was originated from these waters.
In other sources the fort was also called Charaberd, mkhitar Gosh called it "Prince Tcharaberdin and his palace...". This fort was firt mentioned connected with 620's campaings of Khazars.
Aghvan's catholicos Viro "... called to him all those great people, governors, precepters, deacons, junior deacons, who at that time were in Jraberd fortress...".
Gharabagh's safest and strongest fort was left uninhabited during peace, women and children gatheared there during war. Last time in 1789 Jraberd's prince Mezhlum's relatives and connections hid in this fort. As was mentioned, in three sides of the fort rise impregnable high rocks, the mountian-side is entirely covered with strong walls. The only entry of the fortress rises by the rampart.
Parallel to the path, leading to the monastery Yeritsmankants there is a passing under the fort tunnel, the diameter of which is half a meter.
The tunnel was dug after war-years by geological survey expedition. When passing through it you get to the opposite side, on the edge of a precipice on a giddy height. From here it’s considerably easier to get to the fort.
The inside of the fort occupies quite a large territory. Here can still be seen ruins of tens of constructions. Stairs come down to river Tartar from the fort through the secret passage dug in the rocks. This stony passage is very narrow and was called "Jragogh's way".
There is no other wholly-preserved old fort like Jraberd in regions' any district. But Jraberd is remarkable not only for it rocky ramparts, but also for its protective, sygnal system. That system that was important for the strong fort has almost been left out from examiner's circle of interest and was even left unnoticed by medieval historians.
The sygnal system's first spot, construction is on Tartar's left bank, 1.5-2km towards north from Verin Chaylu village. The second similar monument is situated in Madaghis village's "Kapit Dzor" place, in an old grave-house.
The third construction fully preserved in "tchthporot" called park, the forth one is situated not too far from the bridge over Tartar, in Tonashen's village Getin-Gomer district.
It is supposed that once was also built also fifth observation post, the traces from which should be searched for towards west from the fouth one, near Jraberd. The importance of those constructions could not be perceived for a long time. Only years later, camparing their positions- along the left bank of the river towards Jraberd (thanks to the local celebrated scientist Aharon Movsisyan), sprung hte persuation, that those constructions had protective nad sygnal meaning. The choice of sygnal posts was done successfully, they're placed on one line and look well as towards east, where the first construction is, so towards west, where Jraberd is situated.
The above-mentioned constructions are perceived by the local people as chapels. THey are very small and lack the special attributes of sacred constructions. The walls are flat, there are no bays, vestries, in short there are no signs to compare them with a chapel or even a common sacred place. As Maghadisian Levon Movsisyan evidenced in western side of Getin Gomer observation post, on the squared beam of the door there was an inscription. Unfortunately the stone has not preserved.
When the invaders couldn't seize the fort by war, they pinned their hopes in betrayal or coming hunger to seize it. THe legend tells taht such hunger begun in the fort, but some inventive braves didn't let the hunger become migration door of people. They brought out the lime gathered in the fort, laid it and started sieving it. The enemy saw it from far, took the lime for flower and thinking that it will keep the people going for along time yet, went away hopeless.
But they couldn't always decieve the enemy by lime. They tell that there were some people, who at night wetn out of the fort and by difficult roads brought flower for the beleaguered from villages. People remember the names of two of those heroes- Tivlunts Karmratav (his shoes had red-cover) adn Avrakolin. Going out and bringing flower in such conditions was heroism.
Yeritsmankants vank, or Yerek Mankunk
Monastery Yerek Manknunk is situated in 7km from Jraberd. The harmoniously placed architectural constructions not only give majestic appearance to the whole complex, but also organically blend with the surrounding nature.
Here the mountains raise their rocky heads almost to the sky, the ravines are narrow and deep, the streams are fast and noisy, the forests are virgin. And on the dark-green background of mountain-slopes shows up white the cathedral church of the monastery.
As to get to monastery Yeritsmankants, one needs to arm with patience and be a great lover of the country, so that to manage in overcoming difficulties on the way. Actually all the roads taking to Artsakhian monasteries are difficult.
According to the remaining inscriptions, Yerak mankunk monastery’s church was built by catholicos of Aghvank Simeon and his brother, archimandrite Ignatios, by means of parishioners under the patronship of Persian Suleyman shah. The monastery was built as an anti-throne of Gandzasarian with the purpose to break the unity of Aghvanants catholicos, and it’s not accidental that in his creature was interested the Persian shah. The kahchkars put in the church-walls are dataed 1020 (1571), 1069 (1620), 1194 (1745) years of Armenian chronology.
The church is a three-nave rectangular in scheme domed basilica with an asymmetric construction. The dome by means of breast-arches leans on four beautifully-processed pillars. The whole surface of portal’s tympanum is remarkably ornamented.
The praying hall (sizes of the interior part 13,5 x 9,5m) is a large and light room. In the eastern prt is the altar-apside, from both sides of which there are rectangular in scheme two-story vestries. Entries to the top stories of the vestries open through the apside, to them lead interior console stairs. By analogous way were built the two-story vestries of churches Gtchavank, Tsaghkavank and monastery Ptkes-berg (XVc). In side-walls of the half-round altar there are 7 bays. In the northern part of the small hall remains the place of the font. Here has also preserved the door in original form, the klobuk-shape top of the dome with fixed on it cross and remainders from the even cover of the floor. The pylons in the hall had been at first cruciform. Later on, in XVIIIc for fastening the two eastern pylons they were turned square. About this evidences the inscription on the southern pylon. Portal’s tympanum is wholly covered with fine delicate carving with an epigraphic inscription about church’ building.
The architect of the church was Sargis, the inscription, which he carved on the inside wall of the altar from northern side, says: “the builder and architect of church- master Sargis. Remember (in prayers) to Christ”. The interior of the church is impressive. The greatness and silence of the roomy hall are even more outlined by the splendor of slender pylons, lightness of intercrossing bow-like arches, by the sun-ray’s game, penetrating through large windows to the dome’s drum, by the mystery of two-story vestries, by the large inscription on altar’s butt-end, by tens of large and small khachkars.
It’s suitable to mention some outstanding peculiarities of this monastery. First of all it’s the asymmetry of dome’s position. As is seen by temple’s scheme the dome isn’t in the center of the praying-hall, but is considerably moved towards west. But, thanks to the correct position of the only door in southern part, to the one who enters the church seems that the dome is placed almost in the center. There is asymmetry not only in the construction, but in placed on one vertical with the dome central window-passages of front side of northern and southern walls, and also in various by façade decorative elements. Stylistic peculiarities are also displayed in complex’ building technique. As to give the church dynamicality and create an impression of up-trend, the dome with the eight-hedral drum and klobuk-shape end, and also the top part of the façade, joining the dome are covered with white trimmed stone of yellow tint, and the other walls are built from simple untrimmed stone of grayish-blue color. At last, disproportion is displayed in the volume-space composition of the monastic complex. As has been mentioned above the place of the monastic complex was chosen correctly. Built on a high, covered with woods narrow cape, the monastery presents “an example of picturesque construction”. Well-viewed from Jraberd (the only and main place) the temple appears in an inimitable beauty. So, the disproportion is not at all accidental in here, but is a certain means of creation harmony of Yeritsmankants monastery'’ architecture with the magnificence of the surrounding it nature.
such compositional ways for getting architectural-artistic expressiveness are one of the distinguishing features of Armenian architecture. In this interesting and unique complex lived a large monastic friary, about which evidence numerous dwelling constructions and other buildings. The monastic cells and subsidiary halls, as a rule, have fire-places and windows. By the general architectural solution these worldly buildings and their separate details remind analogous constructions of Surb Hakoba monastery in Kolatak, though from volume-space point they are somewhat larger then the latter.
The dwelling-part by the eastern wing of the church consists of a vaulted hall, the entry to which opens from the yard and the rooms, placed by its two sides. The second group of dwelling buildings is situated by the southern wall of the church and consists of two communicating rectangular halls. From the northern side of the other, completely hidden in earth hall there is a large round room, where were placed the patriarchal rooms. This is an interesting and unique in its way construction. From here at the window, as if through a telescope looks Jraberd and Trghi river’s ravine.
Jraberd’s monastery Anapat (desert) is on the right bank of river Trghi in 2km towards north-west from Jraberd. The desert is one of the ancient and famous religious cult hearths of the area. The present church, monastic cells and other constructions, part of which lay in ruins, were built in XVIIIc in the place of an ancient monastic complex. The church is a one-nave basilica, the gable-roof of which leans on a pair of pilasters. The entry opens from west, and two of four windows are placed in the southern wall. The eastern and western walls have one window each.
Though ancient constructions haven’t preserved, their presence in the past is confirmed by put in churh-walls khachkars, figured stones and inscriptions on them. One of those stones with a valuable 8-line inscription is put in the eastern wall. 8 inscriptions of this monastery had been published by S. Karapetyan.
The village stretches as a triangle on the left, slopy bank of river Tartar. The by-river district is called Geti gomer, the top part of the triangle occupies district Shinategh, the third district is called Soghomoni gomer. Below are mentioned monuments of this villge and its surroundings.
Ruins of Gyughakaghak Jermuk in the area of the same name in village Tonashen.
In area Ughti Garun (ught- camel, garun- spring) there is a large rock, in the central part of which, in the depth is put a stone with interesting inscription: “Syunik’s boundary”. Here are also situated two churches with a common name Tchoght Yeghtsi and ruins of village Tagavoraser. Partly has well-preserved the stony spring Chinari.
In Shinategh district remain ancient half-destroyed constructions, in village Tutot, as the only evidence of the ravaged settlement stands church Kotrats Yeghtsi- a monument of XIIIc. By Yeritsmankants monastery is presently uninhabited village Khotorashen- Khokhomashen.
Bridge Geti Gomer, crossed over river Tartar, connects village Tonashen with mills and villages Masghvuz and Lyulasaz. According to the abuilding inscription the bridge was built in 1902 by means of Tonashen’s inhabitant Harutyun Hayrapetyan. The inscription too tells architect’s name: “The master of this bridge is Abraham Kamalyants from (village) Gyune- Tchartar”.
In Soghominigomer distsrict remain two memorial springs: Ruzan’s spring and Verdi Sargsyan’s monument spring.
Yeghishe Arakyal Monastery
Mravasar took under its shadow Yeghishe Arakyal or Jrvshtik temple. Great difficulties must be overcomed to visit the temle. The gath goes through woods and rocks stretching along the edge of deep canyons. The southern side of ther temple-hill is rocky, the other three sides were fastened with wide ramparts.
The legend connects the building of the first construction here with Vachagan Barepasht king's name. In "History of Aghvan world" work this place is remembered as "... Nersmihr's sait friary, which is now called Jrvshtik...".
The name Jrvshtik the temple most likely got for the high-dropping waterfalls in the southern deep canyon of the complex. (This wterfall is Gharabagh's greatest waterfall, the sound of which can be heard even in 7km). Lataer on, when Yeghishe Arakyal's (one of the befefactors preaching Christianity) relics were transferred here from Horeka temple, the temple was renamed after Yeghishe apostle.
The complex consists of a church, eight chapels, a grave-house and other ruined constructions.
The church built by vaulted hall's composition "is very old, the architecture is simple, is too high and hs tasteless style".
But by its antiquity and cultural work it is worth attention. Throughout years the church has been repaired. It's not difficult to notice even today that in the untrimmed stone-walls of the church in some places are used trimmed, processed old stones, which on them preserved elements of ancient architecture. The church (10x 5,8m) has two doors in southern and western sides. In some places bricks can be seen in the walls. The dome on the central part of the gable roof is ruined. THe vestribule is built according to the chruch' architecture. The almost square hall's four pillars carry the vaulted roof. The vestibule appears to be built in 1284 according to the inscription on the door's squared beam. As around the church so inside it there are tens of grave-stones.
In two sides of the church, in equal distances there are four chapels (in each side). All the chapels are built of the local untrimmed stone. One can feel that the chapels have been repaired in different times. THey generally were used as mausoleums. In one of the chapels Vachagan Barepasht's, ion the second- Jraberd's brave lord Adam's, in the third- Melik episcop's gravestones are situated. The lythographic inscription on the walls refer to 12-13cc.
The fields of Martakert region's premountain villages Mataghis, Tonashen, Dastakert, Maghavuz are covered with many cultural momories.
Academic Manandyan in his "Trading roads of Old Armenia" work wrote that we should search for the ruins of Kaghankatvatsi's native village near "Dyutakan village's" Trtu or the present Tartar river's Uti region. The celebrated scientist brings the following evidences from Movses Kaghankatvatsi's Aghvanits world's history to prove his point, "And when the Roman numerous army got and stopped at Uti region, near the torrent in Kaghankatuk village's territory, it stamped down and destroyed the harvest of the gardens and villages through which it passed. Leaving here they stopped near Trtu torrent, not far from village Dyutakan". Then "when the enemies came to a sudden from the happenings, they followed the migrants and got near the foot of the mountain in front of Kaghankatuk large village, which is in the same Uti region, from where I come too.
As Kaghankatvatsi tells, in the end of 5th c in Aghvan's meeting for establishing rules was present "Kaghankatuk's Bakur patriarch, and in the beginning of 8th c, as the same source informs, in "Kaghankatuk region" settled "Rostom Varaz Akryan, whos family is from Persian Stah region".
Arab historian Al Istahri (10c) in his book "About hingdoms' way" describes the road taking from Partav to Dvin. According to that work, the first stop after Partav was Kalkutus (Kaghankatuk) in 9 Arabic parsaghs od around 52km ( 5752, 8 x 9).
The archeological examinations of last years found out that this rich village in Arabic region, which was in the trading road, as was mentioned above, was situated near the present Maghavuz village.
Now every Maghavuzian will immediately show the historian's birthplace, the town-territory. When it was built and what name it had at first is not known.
While working the land and during excavations in the village-territory were found large water jars, traces from old hearths and bakeries, numerous grave-houses, foundations of ramparts, places of water-mills, ruined canals.
In the surroundings of this ancient place, in the forests there are many destroyed settlements. The names of old, destroyed settlements, transferred from generation to generation, preserved up to this day. So, for instance, SHinategh, Khalvatashen, Alahkuli, Torus, Yeghaker, Ttot, Dastagir and others.
- From Shinategh and Khaltavashen settlements preserved only traces of houses and canals.
- Dastakert ("Dastagyul, Dastagir) was founded by king Vachagan. From the old settlement preserved parts of the half-destroyed church.
- Traces from "Ttot" destroyed settlement are in the forest Tandzr. The only witness church of its existence is in half-destroyed condition. The fruit-trees have jointed with the forest. Most likely the inhabitants here grew mulberry gardens, kept silk-worms and had cattles.
- The small church and the large grave-house caontaining inscriptions evidence about Torus settlement's existence.
- Alahkuli settlement's remainders are situated in rye forest 6km away from Mataghis. The village was named after its owner. Alahkuli was Jraberd's lord Yesayi's son, lord Hatam's elder brother. Fot its bravity Alahkuli received nickname Soltan by Persian shah Nadir. In 1756 Alahkuli Solten in Amaras temple was killed by treachery by Panah khan. His body was transferred and buried on the hill not far from the village, which the local people call Solti khach.
- Tsos church is situated in 20km from Yeritsmankats temple, in an imprergnable, woody place.
- Jermuk (tchrmok) village-town's ruins are in the field of village Tonashen.
- In Tonashen's "Camel's spring" called place is situated a huge stone, the inside part of which was cut and taken out. In that cut place is put a square, white, trimmed stone, on which arae engraved "Syunats sahman (border)" words.
- Kamurj (a little down from Jraberd) over river Tartar. Sterns of the bridge have preserved. According to the legend it was built in Tigran Great's power.
- Anapat domed temple is situated on the right bank of Trghi, 2km towards north-west from Jraberd.
- Only ruins preserved from Tukhkasar temple. Accoding to the local legend Lenk Temur has poured fuel in this temple and hs exploded it.
The rich traditions of this famous and large village of Lernayin Gharabagh go back to the depth of ages by their roots. Rather valuable information about the ancient history of Talish tell its monuments, and first of all the epigraphic inscriptions. since Vc near Talish started functioning monastery Glkho or Horeka, settlements Dyutakan and Ureka, which are often mentioned in sources connected with different events.
Dyutakan (its traces still remain) is situated in the forest between villages Talish and Mataghis. The village, where “there is a half-destroyed church 13m long and 7m wide, built tastefully”, is also known for its cold springs, crystal clear air, beautiful forest, luxuriant nature. Probably, the village was called Dyutakan still in early medieval period, not without purpose, i.e. a fascinating place. As the ancient sources evidence Dyutakan throughout ages has been the summer-residence of Armenian Aghvank. Movses Kaghankatvatsi certainly points that king Vachagan III as a summer-residence chose Dyutakan. The following fragment from Movses Kaghankatvatsi’s history show that in Dyutakan had been arranged meetings and royal ceremonies; “When arrived (relics) of Grigor Great… to the large cathedral in Dyutakan, they were met by… king Vachaghan”…”with a large crowd, episcops, priests, and all the servants”.
During the Arabic supremacy the village was devastated. About the proceeding fate of Dyutakan inform the inscriptions from its ruins. According to one of them catholicos Nerses and episcop Nerses “in the summer of 600 (1151)… built the church”. This way it becomes clear that in XIIc Dyutakan after being reestablished became a large settlement. remaining to our days many gravestones, khachkars and other monuments of this period are scattered in the forest.
In late medieval period Talish was the princely residence, administrative-political cetner and strategic station of one of the ancient Gharabaghian princedoms- Gyulistan. We can suppose that in Talish place was situated the early-medieval village Urek, about which little information has preserved in “Aghvank world’s History”. Its second name –Horeka- the monastic complex got from this very village, which is certainly older then it. And the monastery, as we’ll see later, was built in Vc and is considered one of the important cult centers of ancient Artsakh.
The prosperity of Talish as the residence of the princedom was connected with Melik- Beglaryan’s family. Remainders of palaces, forts and religious centers of Meilik-Beglaryans remain up to this day. The famous representative of liberation movement sparapet Abraham in the first half of XVIIIc led the struggle of Sghnakhs against Turks. And his successors took an active part in arrangements for uniting Transcaucausus with Russia.
The only remainding historico-architectural monument of Talish is the church in the village, a three-nave basilica (sizes 21,85 x 13m) with pylons, built from trimmed stone in 1894. For tens of years the church has served as a club for the village of 3000 inhabitants, and now it is turned into a storage. For a long time here has been kept a Gospel of Xic, memorable notes of which contain important information about the province’s past. The preserving fragments of this manuscript book are now in Matenadaran.
In Talish in their original appearance remain whole districts, one and two-story dwelling houses, work-shops, trading-shops, which demonstrate the real look of the area’s national arachitecture. And still the boast of Talish is monastery Glkho or Horeka.
Glkho or Horeka temple
Kaghankatvatsi's given more or less certain information about Glkho temple is as follows.
While propogating enlightment activities in Aghvank Mesrop Mashtots had a sacred cross with him. When he learnt that he was followed, he buried the cross un Gis. Uti region's this famous village was the first Christian preachment place of eastern Armenian side. The church here was considered the first sacred construction in whole eastern Transcaucausia, built by Yeghishe apostle in 1c. While describing the dicovery of the sacred cross in this church and the ceremonies connected with it the historian tells such concrete information, which concersn Gis' directly neighboring goegraphical spot Glkho temple in Metskaghmank village. If the author of manuscripts place Gis between Kur and Tartar rivers, towards werst from Parsav, then Glkho or Horeka temple's place is somewhat clear, it is situated in western side of Martakert region's village Talish, on the northern slope of the mountian rising in the thick forest.
Like hundreds of other monasteries of Horeka district, monastery Glkho has many a times been devastated by campaigns of foreign invaders. But, as the narrative sources and epigraphic inscriptions evidence, the monastery has been rebuilt and repaired not once. The complex consists of a church, chapel, large cemetery and other destroyed buildings. The church and the vestibule have simple and modest architectural solution. The walls are built from chipped limestone, only the entries and windows have trimmed-stone framing. The church is a one-nave hall with vaulted cover, directly leaning on walls, and covered with a gable roof. The rectangular praying-hall has a rather archaic and unusual form, as the square apside, in the depth of which there is an ancient burial-vault, is already higher than the hall. It occupies approximately half of the hall, has stairs in both sides. We can see that while rebuilding in XIIIc before the architect stood a difficult poblem: to preserve the burial –vault of the ancient church as much as possible, which means to create over the remaining whole part an architectural construction, analogous to the previous one. In fact, the church was rebuilt while preserving the remaining parts of Vc apside. Unfortunately in other parts of the construction ancient architectural forms have not preserved. Part of the ornamented friezes and capitals of the early period were used as usual building material. Partly had preserved the ancient burial vault, where was buried the sacred cross, which had brought Mashtots.
On the square-beam of the entry in half-arch shape there is a building inscription, in which are mentioned the builders (perhaps repairers) Hovanes and priest Stepanos. The church was repaired in 1279. The same Hovanes, according to the inscription in 1284 built also the vestibule, which is almost a square hall (sizes 7 x 7,7m), the crossed vault-arches of which, as in many analogous Armenian monuments, lean on walls. The vestibule at the same time serves as the burial-vault of episcops, precepters and deacons of the monastery. The gravestones are processed with true artistic taste, are covered with ornaments and inscriptions. the belfry was built in XVIIc. This small unpretentious building joins the vestibule from its northern side.
In the walls of the church and the vestibule are put numerous khachkars, some of which are used as bridges of window-passages. Besides, over tens of khachkars of XIIIc and following years are scattered in the northern part of the monastic yard. On this monuments are pictured riders, priests, musicians, various domestic scenes, geometric and vegetable ornaments.
In the large cemetery of the monastery has preserved a destroyed burial-vault, where are put two large smooth stones.
Generally the monastic cemetery stands out by richly ornamented gravestones, covered with relief pictures. As comparatively new so the old gravestones are 2 and more meters long and 1m wide. Here is used the local and brought from other places stone. Among others stand out gravestones of national liberation movement’s participants. To the unique works of carving may be referred gravestones of Sarukhan-bek, prince Hovsep, prince Beglar, brave Ter Mkrticht (Keshish oghli), general Shamir-khan. As is known, Shamir-khan was the staff-officer of Yermolov’s Russian army, and later on he was the secretary and interpreter of Griboyedov in Persia. This famous son of Armenian nation, descending from Talish, was the participant in arranging and signing Gyulistan pact in 1813.
Monastery Glkho or Horeka is surrounded with serf-walls, where remain numerous whole and half-destroyed buildings, known among people by Paterin tak name.
Melik Beglaryan’s palace
100-150m towards north from monastery Horeka there is one of the well-preserved monuments of Artsakh’s palace-architecture. The palace was built by Melik- Beglaryans of Gyulistan. According to one of the inscriptions the building of the palace was realized in XVIIIc.
The palace- castle is a complex with towers and surrounded with a wall constructions. tHe rectangular in scheme castle is 42m long and 36,5m wide. All the constructions placed in its territory stretch in two rows by east-west axis. In the southern row there are 8 halls, 4 of which have one common gallery. Two middle halls with long colonnade-galleries with eight-hedral arcade, by their volume-space solution (sizes 7x7) resemble the vestibules of monastery Horeka. These interesting national dwellings with cone-shaped roofing (glkhatun) also don’t have neither pillars nor pilasters. Their stony domes are results of bold and unique idea. Unlike the analogous palaces, which have eight-hedral domes with passages, the roofings of the mentioned dwellings are half-spherical.
Placing two one-type glkhatuns side by side, alongside with simply functional, acquires in the system of palace-fort organizing and outlining significance. The rooms placed by left and right sides of the glkhatuns have fire-places and windows.
The gallery at first had a cylindrical vault, leaning on seven square in cut pylons. The rooms of the northern wing communicate with the gallery’s colonnade through the hall with vaulted cover. Placed in western part galleries have secret entries, fire-places and communicate with glkhatuns. The inside yard of the castle serves as a connecting point for southern and northern halls. Through the yard was also realized the connection with outside life. The main entry of the castle is from western side of the yard. The rooms of the southern wing are destroyed, part of the roof and corner-stones is collapsed. Here are placed 3 rooms, the side ones have almost equal sizes. All the windows open to the yard.
The palace-castle has at the same time served also a defense construction. Castle’s garrison was in a small fort towards north from it on ravine’s left wing. This fort is known in literature as Karaburg (four-towers). In the forest now too are noticeable the ground parts of these towers and connecting them serf-walls. The main fort of Gyulistan’s principality is by a village of the same name.
In conclusion, we should mention that Melik-Beglaryan’s palace-castle is an interesting and unique construction of Armenian national architecture. In the surroundings of Talish are situated villages Mejnashen, Gomeramej, Tutk and Mallakan.
The hill, situated towards west from the palace Malik Beglaryan, in Gyulistan is called Rusi Urd (Russian pass). On its top was fastened the camping tent of Russian army’s general Ritishev. Gyulistan became the witness of a most important historical event. In this very place since October 2 to 12 of 1813 were carried on negotiations and was signed an agreement, according to which considerable part of Eastern Armenia, including also Gharabagh’s five princedoms, joint Russia.
In settlements of pre-mountain zone of Martakert region: Seysulan, Maralyan Sarov, Levonarkh, Margushevan, Leninavan, Karmiravan, Jraberd, Verin and Nerkin Chaylu are often found pitchers, sepulchres, bronze arms, khachkars, Armenian memorial gravestones of ancient and new time. A rather noteworthy godsend- grape seeds and hardened remainders of wine in pitchers. In ornaments of medieval period monumental stones a required detail is grape-vine’s picture. Such plentifulness and variety of material culture’s monuments, connected with viticulture, certainly evidences about that since ancient times one of the main economical works of Artsakh- Gharabagh’s inhabitants was viticulture.
From these early sources is noteworthy the fourth point of “Constitutional canons”, accepted by Vachagan Pious in Aghvank (in already mentioned Dyutakan). Here is told concrete information about commodity circulation of vine in Artsakh. About planting new vine-gardens (in inscriptions for meaning this words is used word mataghis- young garden), about presenting them as gifts to sprititual centers evidence number of inscriptions of monasteries Dadi, Khuta, Karmir and Charektar. In sources of proceeding period about viticulture and gardening, which had great significance in economical and domestic life, is spoken about as of one of the main works of inhabitants. Viticulture is one of the profitable branches of economy for the mentioned villages. Leninavan. One of the rare settlements of Gharabagh. It’s situated among fields, and gets irrigation water from Tartar. Here remains and is still used the irrigation-system, created in early medieval period. The village in the past was called the Field station of Firumov, for some time- Margushevan, and since 1954 it has been called Leninavan the noteworthy architectural construction is the church.
Village Karmiravan stretches on an even and arable plain. Interesting historico-engineer monuments are the ancient irrigation constructions of the local Kararkh. The dry climate with long summer and short winter creates favorable conditions for growing vine, pomegranate, fig and melons.
Seysulan village’s name is the altered form of Seysulan’s dialect6, which means “subject to flood”. In the past the village has become Tartar river’s victim many times. An interesting monument is the church, built from baked brick and oak-bream.
Verin and Nerkin Chaylu village’s history is connected with joining Eastern Armenia to Russia. As is known, according to the Turkmencha agreement since February 20 of 1828 the Armenians of Persia, who had been exposed to religious persuit, were allowed to emigrate to Eastern Armenia. Over 40 000 Armenians from regions Tavriz, Makui, Khoy, Salmast and Urmia moved to Armenia, including also to Gharabagh. Some people from regions Khoy and Salmast at first chose as their living-place Ghandzak, but soon land-shortage made them move to Partav- Bardu. But here they came across unusual heat and persecution of Muslim beks. In the end they got to Getarat, founded here a village and named it, as their former one, Chaylu.
The village stretches along Tartar’s banks and divides into two parts by the river. From here came its name- Verin and Nerkin Chaylu.
On the right side of the road taking from Martakert to Stepanakert a humpback slope of limestone goes down from north to east. Throughout the year its fields are covered with dry desert, poor nature. It's because in these places atmospheric precipitations are very few, the rainwaters that do come are immediately sucked in limestones. THe mountainridge was called Vankasar throughout many ages and in Azerbaijanian it is Beshik dagh. It ind of performs a role of a rampart between the desert and mountain Gharabagh. Towards south-east from Vankasar stretches Kur-Araksian plain, towards west stretches mountain-ridge of Armenian plateau.
At the southern foot of Vankasar, there, where the mountain ridge rallies with the plain, under the limestone rocks springs out a fast spring Shah- Bulagh. It's not just a simple spring, it's a large stream. Most likely Khachenaget in upper and middle streams is sucked in volcanic porous and with small chaps rocks, and by the prevolcanic period river-valley buried under the mountain it comes out to Shah-Bulagh. This vivifying water appeared the first and the main condition, that here has been a settlement throughout ages.
Its implicit evidence are the mountains. First of all we should mention that the monuments in here accoding to their periods are mainly divided into four parts, or to say it by a geological term- consist of four layers. The first layer of monuments, that is the ones built in late period are in half-destroyed condition. Let's start our acquaintance with them. Here in the southern side of the spring a strong oriental style construction has preserved. The exterior layer is completely destroyed and that's why it's difficult to decide what the naked construction is without measurements. A little towards east from the spring are seen parts of ruined ramparts, foundations of towers. THe written facts eveidence that in the second quarter of 18c Panah Ali khan from Kabirli region's Bayat fort together with its nomad relatives hs transferred here, rebuilt the once existing fortress and settled for some period. In the rebuilt fortress he built a market and a mosque. Later on, when the khan had transferred to Shushi, Shan-Bulagh's fortress was little by little abandoned adn it was turned into ruins.
The second layer of monuments refers to medieval period- around Hamam Areveltsi's period.
Several years ago historian S. Barkhudaryan printed a program about one of the Armenian monuments kept in Azerbaijanian history museum, which is situated around this territory. As the historian throus light at skillfully this monument is the grave-stone put on one of the Hamam's relatives, and it implicitly speaks about that the mentioned settlement used to belong to Hamam prince's lands.
Besides that, in north-eastern side of the spring, in a little slope stretches the old Armenian cemetery. Hundreds of gravestones throughout ages were harmed and have lost their original looks. Most part of them were covered with earth, the ones on the more slopy places arae only half-covered.
On the highest rock of Vankasar is placed a church with square scheme. The construction built a little higher that usual is from grey trimmed lime-stone. The cover and part of the walls are ruined. In the northern side of the door, in the wall placed Khachkar's inscription is as follows, "I, Shan-shan Ashot's son built this cross of my soul".
Among the various monuments meeting in the opposite side of Vankasar a speacial place occupy the grave-stones and khachkars covered with high-reliefs and unharmed medieval writings. Every person, who at least once has been here, certainly remembers the more than hundreds of gravestones of remarkable Armenian Ornament art. They are stoney laces, ingenious engravings on hard stones and are the works of celebrated masters of Artsakh. The ancient monuments are buried under earth and occupy a large territory. This old place is Tigranakert town of Artsakh.
It's known from history that Armenian Tigran Second king (95-55bc) had four Tigranakerts built after his name. The largest one of them was built in Aghdznik, which was to become Armenia's capital, surpassing Artashat, but had an unsuccessful end. The other towns of the same name were built in Artsakh, Goghtan region and Utik world. It's noteworthy that the first one of these four Tigranakerts was built in Artsakh (in 90's bc). We should certainly think that Tigranakert was the oldest town of Artsakh-Gharabagh. Unfortunately our historians haven't informed anything about Garabagh's first town, save its name, which existed around 1000 years. In 10c Artsakh's Tigranakert was already destroyed.
The silver coin with Tigran's picture, iron arrowes and sambres, clay vessels and shoes exhibited in historico-geological museum of Gharabagh region were found in these areaa. Besides that, the "Tkrakert" name saved in Khachenian language till this day is Tigranakart's perverse version, which is given to those ruins about which was spoken above.
The next group of historico-architerctural monuments refers to the late, especially developed Bronze Age, by which are rich as this ancient place, so the whole mountain area. Thse monuments that contain priceless materials about the prehistorical society, its social economical and political connections, sice 90's of 19c became an object of long-lasting examinations for Shushi's not-classical college's teacher Emil Ryosler and precepter Khachik Dadyan. In different periods the area's archeological monuments were also examined by arechologists R.Virkov, A. Ivanovski, S.Ter- Avetisyan, K.Kushnaryova, N.Minkevich- Mustafayeva and others. However the archeologists excavated mostly in the central part of the region- in Karkar and Khachen rivers middle streams, in the surroundings of Arajadzor, Khojalu, Stepanakert settlements, but the other tens of not less valuable ancient places need examination.
The Bronze Age monuments as grave-hills are placed in groups either along the streams of rivers or by the sides of old roads. Their spreading belt starts from Gharabagh valley (approximately from north-western sides of present Yevlakh, Barda, Aghdam, Fizuli towns) and stretches towards the depths of Lernayin Gharabagh, occasionally in tunnels, in valleys of Tartar, Khachen and Ishkhanik rivers- one towards Sevan basin, the other towards Syunik. Most part of the grave-hills is situated in the premountain part of the area. So, in Martakert territory there are 15 grave-hills, 8 of which are situated next to each other on one line. Not far from that grave-hills, near the Shah-Bulagh or old Artsakhian Tigranakert's ruins, along the roads start small groups of grave-hills, which end with a huge grave-hill.
These ancient monuments, as well as the settlements of Artsakh haven't yet been archeologically examined, say for instance the remainders of Tigranakert settlement's ruins, for by their source study information to have some idea about the far past of an important region's town of eastern Armenia.
Similar groups of grave-hills meet in the valleys of Khachen and Tartar rivers. Here the grave-hills stretch along the rivers and their streams, from plains towards mountains, while in the bottom streams of rivers they form large groups, and in mountain parts they are spread and often meet separately. They are large accumulations of grave-hills in the southern side of Arajadzor village. On two sides of the road rise 10 grave-hills of different sizes, 3 of which were excavated by Ryosler and Khachik Dadyan, one from the other 7 (having a straight, round hill shape) has around 36m diameter and 6,5m height. The group of grave-hills on Khachenaget's right bank are situated down from St. Hakoba temple, where Kh. Dadyan leaded excavations. Tartar's valley is full of cultural monuments of all periods. The circle of ancient monuments starts with Haterk and goes on up to Sarsang called old bridge (it doesn't exist today, it was left under the cistern built over Tartar).
Several groups of those gravehills are noticable on the right and left sides of the road (on the right bank of the river), which are almost adjacent to each other, but on the other bank they are spread in the mountain skirts. On the head of the cistern, on two banks of the river there are 4 gravehills on each.
A little down Tartar defile in Mets Shen there are new buildings of grave-hills. The old and new road here goes by the those grave-hills, through a ruined settlement. As the grave-hills, so the ruins give basis to suppose that the road in the past passed in here, where stretches the present highway; the group of grave-hills of Mets Shen also prompt about it.
In the bottom stream of Tartar, near Mataghis settlement there are around 12 grave-hills. Another large group of grave-hills is situated in the north-western part of present Martakert, which the local inhabitants call "Krapashti tumb". Besides the ones mentioned, there are also grave-hills in the following district of Martakert.
- In the western side of Chldran village.
- In the southern part of Tmghlu village, in the surroundings of Ulupapi old bridg.
- In Tsaghkadzor valley on the right bank of Khachenaget.
- 300-400m towards "Hlajen" plain from Aghmaghlu village.
- Upper from village Vank, in Tana-okh called place there are four large and 18 small graves.
- On Tartar bank, in Drmbo village's Oloki- okh place there are four large and another three graves a little away.
- Towards north from village Vank, in Mets field there are two large hills, on one of the skirts of which is half-way buried in earth 2, 88m high untrimmed stone without an inscription (most likely a monolith).
- In Nareshtar village's "Kharban" area there are around 100 gravehills.
- Everywhere around Haterk, in forests and fields meet numerous graves.
- In Mehmana there are 8 large grave-hills, 12 small earth-hill.
- In north-western side of Maghavuz there are four large graves.
But the exhaustive description of Martakert region's all historical monuments don't end by this. There are also numerous other monuments in the region, which present interest from the point of history, architecture and archeology.