Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook- Martuni Region

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TOWNS and Villages

  • MARTUNI (Մարտունի 4775 p)
  • KARMIR SHUKA (Կարմիր Շուկա 904 p)
  • VARANDA Վարանդա (FIZULI) (not in this region)
  • Ashan (Աշան 585 p)
  • Avdur (Ավդուռ 151 p)
  • Berdashen (Բերդաշեն 1480 p, Saridash)
  • Chartar (Ճարտար 2161 p)
  • Ghavakhan (Ղավախան 123 p)
  • Ghuze Chartar (Ղուզե Ճարտար 1677 p)
  • Gishi (Գիշի 1207 p)
  • Haghorti (Հաղորտի 227 p, Kendkhurd)
  • Hatsi (Հացի 226 p)
  • Herher (Հերհեր 577 p)
  • Hnushinak Հնուշինակ
  • Honashen Հոնաշեն (Gharadaghli)
  • Jivani (Ջիվանի 145 p)
  • Kaghartsi (Կաղարծի 319 p)
  • Kajavan (Քաջավան 90 p)
  • Kakavadzor (Կաքավաձոր 30 p)
  • Karahunj (Քարահունջ 173 p)
  • Kavahan Կավահան (Gavakhan)
  • Kert (Քերթ 549 p)
  • Khnushinak (Խնուշինակ p)
  • Kherkhan (Խերխան 106 p)
  • Kolkhozashen (Կոլխոզաշեն 302 p)
  • Kusaberd (Aliaghali)
  • Machkalashen (Մաճկալաշեն 576 p)
  • Mavas Մավաս
  • Mirushen Միրուշեն
  • Momna (Մսմնա 71 p)
  • Mushkapat (Մուշկապատ 348 p)
  • Msmna Մսմնա
  • Myurishen (Մյուրիշեն 190 p)
  • Nerkin Kaler Ներքին Կալեր
  • Nerkin Taghavard Ներքին Թաղավարդ
  • Nngi (Ննգի 369 p)
  • Nor shen (Նոր շեն 347 p)
  • Paravatumb (Պառավաթումբ 171 p)
  • Peretes (Kolkhozashen Կոլխոզաշեն)
  • Sargsashen (Սարգսաշեն 264 p)
  • Sarushen Սարուշեն
  • Shekher (Շեխեր 406 p)
  • Skhtorashen (Սխտորաշեն 19 p)
  • Spitakshen (Սպիտակաշեն 422 p)
  • Sos (Սոս 1011 p)
  • Shekher Շեխեր
  • Taghavard (Թաղավարդ 1293 p)
  • Tsovategh (Ծովատեղ 149 p, Dzavadikh)
  • Varanda (Վարանդա 67 p)
  • Varder Վարդեր (Gulabli)
  • Vazgenashen (Վազգենաշեն 219 p)
  • Verin Kaler Վերին Թաղավարդ
  • Verin Taghavard Վերին Թաղավարդ
  • Yemishjan (Եմիշճան 164 p)
  • Zardanakhach Զարդանախաչ
  • Zardanashen (Զարդանաշեն 92 p)

Villages without population figures come from road atlas.

MARTUNI REGION, KARABAKH

Martuni consists of the branch of Karabakh which juts out of furthest to the E, almost reaches Stepanakert on the W, and goes a little past Karmir Shuka on the S. The W half has many hills and small mountains, full of small villages, while the E is very flat, with fewer villages, and the larger regional center of Martuni. The furthest parts to the E remain occupied by Azerbaijan. Historically, this area was known as Myus Haband, then Varand.

Stepanakert direct to Martuni

On the direct road from Stepanakert to Martuni, you pass one village before reaching Nngi. Nngi, situated on two hills in a horse-shoe-shaped hollow has been famous for its potters and gardeners since ancient times.

Remnants of several villages are found near Nngi:

  • Shen (NE of Nngi) – ruins of house of Pitsi Tyununts (younger Harutyun)
  • Ghahramanants and Ghasumants - stonly glkhatuns, economic and cult construction ruins.
  • Yeghtsots - XII cc one-nave basilica, ornamented chapel, scattered ornamented stones, khachkars. The outskirts of the settlement were called Yeghtsogh; i.e. church lands.
  • Artsaghbyur (next to Yeghtseogh) - ruins of the church and gravestones.
  • Kolatak (below Nngi, E of ravine of mills, in Tlants chkhpor pine forest) - noticeable traces of two churches, carved khachkars and gravestones.
  • Ilajajur (SW part of Nngi) - traces of chapel, houses, gravestones.
  • Mknaker (E foot of Mt. Bovrkhan) – Anahit Chapel.

zzz There is a cemetery by Surb Ojakh (sacred hearth) monument. Chapel Tsarekh is built on a mountain of the same name. It's a destroyed one-nave simple basilica, and khachkars. Traces of ancient cemeteries are noticeable also near Chintirimkhach, Yeghtsaghpyur and Mknaker. Nngi's Surb Astvatsatsin Church, a three-nave basilica stands on four slender pylons, with large and small vestries, khachkars set into the walls, and of course inscriptions. According to the building inscription the cathedral was built in 1858, but the preserved traces of ancient monuments leave no room for doubts that it was built in the place of another, older church. In the church there was a 40-pound bell. From the church plate remain a large copper pot, plates and silver spoons. Here remains also a hard-written Gospel with a silver cross on the surface. the khachkar put under the bay in western facade is dated the summer of 972 (1523). The tombstone in eastern wall belongs to 1777.

Church Nngjan is situated in the center of the settlement, on a cliff. It was built in 1895 by means of Khatunents Muki and Avetis Gabrielyan. It's a one-nave rectangular in scheme hall with vestries in estern part. In walls are put khachkars.

The destroyed church of Surb Lusavorich (Saint Illuminator) is situated at the foot of mountain Tsarekh. Among its ruins attracts attention a khachkar, put, as informs the inscription in the summer of 674 (1225). In front of Grigor Lusavorich' chapel there is a square stone with a relief of a crow. the local inhabitants revere it as a sacred place and call it Aghravakar (crow-stone).

In Nngian revine meet numerous monuments of industrial character.

Here have preserved traces of 22 mills. Nngian mill entered the history of Gharabagh connected with a very important event. As the witnesses evidence, in the beginning of the century in it functioned an underground typograph, organized by one of the leaders of working movement of Transcaucausus and Russia, descending from Nngi Bogdan Knunyants.

Nngi is known also as one of the centers of pottery. The potter work-shop is placed not far from the village's cemetery, in a fruit garden, by deposits of high-quality clay.

Still in the recent past in Nngi functioned a famous market for selling ceramincs. From various regions of Gharabagh, Syunik, Dagestan and Azerbaijan people came here to et high-quality and tastefully decorated pitchers, pots, cups and jars. While speaking of ceramic objects of Nngi, it's impossible to forget about the masters who had created them, about the skillful successors of the ancient profession: Poghos Khachunts and his brothers Petros and Mughan.

The original art of Nngian potters successfully continued Amirbar Sahakyan, the creations of who, created by traditional technology and decorated by classical national patterns, are well-known as in Gharabagh, so beyond its borders. ----- MORE NNGI ----- Nngi in Gharabagh is known as one of the pottery centers. The pottery-workshop is not too far, in the secular fruit garden, near a clay-mine. The specialists think that Nngi's clay by its quality is one of the best ones. Not in the far past Nngi has been a market of clay-vessels, where people from Gharabagh, Syunik, Daghestan, regions of Azerbaijan came to buy jars, pitchers, jugs and dishes.

It's impossible to speak about the wonderful clay-objects created in Nngi and not remember the celebrated masters Khachunts Poshos, his brother Petros and Mukhani, who are the skillful heirs of national old art.

The potter's gift of Nngi, the unique art now continues Amirbar Sahakyan. His very rich works, the compositions by national classic motives, the experience of baking, coloring and ornamenting amaze and surprise everyone. ----16. Holy Virgin church in village Nngi.----- ---END NNGI----, the first village in the Martuni Region. 4km S of Nngi on bad dirt tracks is Kavahan (Gavakhan) Village, perhaps better reached from Kendkhurd, 5km E. First known as Kavan because of its history with clay and ceramics (Kav meaning clay), it was later renamed Gavahan, then Kavahan. Built of chipped stone, Surb Astvatsatsin (17.4 x 8.6m) is the village’s one-nave, basilica church with a vaulted cover. "This church is built in 1871 by means of Gavahan's community". There was another church of 1546 built of trimmed stone where the school stands today. It was torn down and a school was built from its stone, on its foundation. Two of the five nearby cemeteries are ancient, with ornamented and inscribed khachkars. In front of village is the forest of Sorpin Doshi, where in 1918 armed villagers defeated Turkish military units which had entered Varanda. In 1950 Kavahan consisted of 178 houses with 1170 inhabitants, and like its neighboring village of Nngi was famous for its potter workshops and skillful potters.

2km S of Kavahan is Msmna (Mismna) Village (Holy Virgin church). NE of the valley of the mountain ridge near Mavas and Msmna is Shoshka convent-church (9 x 6m) with vestries and stage in the praying-hall, ornamented-carved veils on the windows, and memorial inscriptions in the praying-hall.

5km past Nngi, you hit a turn-off to your left, leading N 1km to Paravatumb (Holy Virgin village church. Lusavorich church on the mountain in the continuation of the village, towards west from village Paravatumb.) and the nearly adjacent Kaghartsi. The 3-nave basilica Surb Targmanchants (18.75 x 12.6m), primarily of roughly trimmed stone is situated in the village. In the early 1900’s the church’s relic-place contained an ancient silver cross and a hand-written Gospel with illustrations. From the gospel’s record pages we know that the Gospel was copied by Hovanes "...on Aghtamar Island... during the time of patriarch Zakaria and in the summer of Ancient Armenian chronology 926 (1477) in a hard and scornful period". This gospel went missing, and then was bought by a deacon who offered it to the Monastery of Gandzasar. On a hilltop N of the village is a half-destroyed chapel known as Matey’s sacred place.

3.5km past the Paravatumb turn-off will bring you to the village of Honashen (previously Gharadaghli/Karadagli) on the right. A few km S of Honashen are the villages of Moshkapat (previously Mushkapat) (Holy Virgin church and Vardan Zoravar Chapel) and Haghorti (Kendkhurd), accessible by very bad dirt roads. Holy Virgin Church is in the village, and near the village spring is the ruined church of Ojakh, with large and small khachkars.

Going 5km past Honashen along the main road you reach the turn-off heading NW to the hillside village of Spitakashen.

350 meters past the Spitakashen road you will come upon the substantial Martuni-Karmir Shuka road. 5km further you come upon the Martuni suburb village of Khojavend, and then Martuni itself.

1km NE of Martuni are the ruins of Amiranlar. 4km NE of Martuni is Muganli.  ??km SE? of Martuni is the Russian church in Gevorkavan. Near Martuni is an "old resting place" with mausoleums. Near a stone-mine 2km from Martuni are Bronze-Age burial hills.

The northern villages

Best access to this area is provided by the main Aghdam-Martuni road. Take the turnoff heading SW which comes 7km SE of Aghdam, or 23km NW of Martuni. 3.5km SW along this turnoff brings you to a big fork. Heading left at the fork takes you quickly through the ruins of Giolabli (Az.) and 6km past the fork you come to Norshen Village (St. Hovanes church). Ashan Village is 1km E of Norshen.

2km E of Ashan is Karakend Village, also accessible from the main Aghdam-Martuni road. 2km SW of Karakend is Yemishjan (St. Stepanos church).

1.5km W of Norshen is Hatsi. ---ADD HATSI----- Hatsi village / its enough just to remember, that this village's past was connected with Vachagan Barepasht king's (5c) activities and was even included in the national legends and tails devoted to Vachagan and Anahit's love (by name Hatsik).

Bri Yeghtsi consists of three small churches, remainders of four wall-khachkars and a large crypt. All the monuments are built from brittle and easily harmed shale, due to which the carvings and inscriptions are now in bad condition. The architectural style and the inscriptions show that they were primarily built in 13c.

The first church is situated to the very W, on top of the mountain. The only entry of the almost fully-preserved vaulted church is on its W side, with carved braids, squares and braid ornamented crosses. On two upper sides of the entry are birds with their heads crumbed. The exterior front of western wall is completely carved with crosses. On the northern wall, near the bird's carving is the following inscription: "Preceptor Khachenik’s sacred church; when entering remember him with Christ".

Master Khachenik, whose name is mentioned in the inscription, besides this church also built a large and nice khachkar at the bottom of the same hill, in the southern end of the road. The top front of the monument is destroyed, under which, as evidences S. Barkhudaryan, wre placed 8 trimmed stones in a row, on which is written the large inscription in six lines. By the way, the celebrated scientist in 1961 was in here, thoroughly examined and described both the monuments and the inscriptions.

This monument built by Khachenik preceptor is one of the best samples of 13c spread similar monuments and belongs to the largest ones we have ever seen.

The khachkar-monument is covered with trimmed slabs from 4 sides, it has high and luxurious pedestal, from the cover stones of which only one is unfortunately left, on which preserved similar rhomb-shape ornaments. In the bay were put four khachkars with beautiful carvings. The second church was founded in 13c, on top of a hill, on a small plain. In present the church, the exterior sizes of which are 7,5 x 7,8m, hactangle scheme and is built on the basis of an old medieval monument.

The building is built from white untrimmed limestone. The vaulted cover leans on walls. The church also has two vestries and a narrow stage. The entry of the vestries are outlined with beautiful carvings. Near the stage, on a trimmed stone, is written the following inscription, "Year of ¼Ä (1270) under patronage of Ter-Stepan (Bishop Nerses) I Mkhitar son put this cross". There are number of grave-stones inside the church, on one of which is carved this lithograph, "this is the grave of Ter- Hohanis' son Karapet in èØʾ (1798). In the eastern side of "Bri Yeghtsi" monument-group, at the bottom of the hill is situated the next church, the one, which is comparatively small and is built from roughly-trimmed slabs. The cover of the church is ruined, the walls, especially the western one both from outside an inside is covered with diffirent sizes tens of khachkars. The only entry opening in the eastern side are ornamented with carvings. The half-vaulted squared beam has a special interesting solution. In the middle is a cross, around it are chess-shape ornaments and on two sides are placed peacock high-reliefs one in each side.

At the top part of the same western wall is engraved a 5-line building-inscription, from the front part of its lines two stones have fallen down and got lost, the others in half-harmed condition evidence that the church was built during Aghvanits Hovanes cahtolicos and his younger brother Nerses catholicos' power, before 1235.

Next to this inscription has preserved the architect's memorial inscription;

Jhashen precepter remember with God in my church:

As in this, so in the inscription of the previous church instead of word vardpet (precepter) being written vardapet( precepter) the specialists consider "a mistake". THE TRANSLATION (PRECEPTER) DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!!

"So, in "Bri Yeghtsi" monument-group's foundation two names of architects are mentioned, from who Khachenik Anetsi built one church and a khachkar, and Shahen built a church. But, taking into considaration the half-destroyed monument's stylistic and building resemblance the ones built by the masters, we can suppose that part of the latters are the works of these architects, especially when the preserved inscription-dates and names on the unknown church-walls, as the Nerses Bishop and prince Smbat are the contemporaries of Khachenik and Shahen builders".

What concerns the other monuments, which Makar precepter Barkhutaryants calls stage, they are khachkars from three sides encircled with common walls, adn in eastern bay are put kachkars. In 13c built such encircled-with-walls-khachkars have preserved in Hadrut and Vank.

Holy Virgin church is situated in the middle of village Hatsi. It's a vaulted, high and large church. For many years it has been used as an auxiliary construction. Among the ancient things of the village the school-building is also an interesting monument. It was built in 1911 thanks to villagers Jvanshir and Gyulbahar Ghazyans.

The witnesses tell how the still young spouses started the works with enthusiasm. On the front of the building is written

To Armenian children

Let in your mouths sound for ages
Sahak, Mesrop native words
Love the kind, the light, the science
That take us to salvation
Presented to Hatsi village Jvanshir and
Gilbahar Ghazians in 1911.

There are number of memorial-springs in village Hatsi, "Svega Dzoren" spring was built in 1909. As this one, so the "Anahit", "Konov" called springs are considered the main spring-monuments of the village. Near Spitakashen, in the north-western part of old village-territory, on a small plain there is a church, which for many years had served as a club. That large and high construction was built in 19c by local untrimmed stone.

There are ruins of another old historical monument between Spitakashen and Yemishtchan villages, on top of Zargamarag hill. From here the mountain-path towards north-east direction takes to Yeghtsukhut sacred place, a small plain place, where there are ancient huge untrimmed black grave-stones half-way buried in earth.

From the etymology of the sacred place's name is seen that here once was a church-construction. After it was destroyed, the local people gathered the stones and built Nor Surb (new sacred) called church, the ruins of which are again in the left side of the road taking from Spitakashen to Ashan and Yemishtchan.

In front of the ruins there is a conic hill, which is named Pghndzakal and is covered with remainders of destroyed constructions. From that memorial place of the past only a khachkar is left.

Another ancient palce, which is called Mataghakhu, is situated on the Martuni- Stepanakert highway, towards south from Spitakashen. A little above Mataghakhut, where ends the road taking from pig-breeding farm to the village, is situated a 1,5m high artificial hill, which is called Charghambul. Here, while working the land were found large pitchers, metal dishes and ornaments. MORE ON BRI The village-road, passing by the right side of the ravine called Anahit is like a natural border, towards south-east from which stretch mulberry, pear, apple and other fruit-trees, grown on the opposite side of the ravine. In the north-eastern part rise hills from chipped stone with little nature. The bushes of berries and prickle partly cover the bare slope, on which is placed complex Bri Yeghtsi. In the deserted stony area unexpectedly comes in view the large monastic complex. We may only express our surprise and admiration of how the talented ancient masters divined the place of this construction in this unattractive area.

Arouse a unique, unusual combination on the grayish background with rare green stains of high mountains and deep ravines contrast the mat-copper silhouettes of monuments. As preserved so partly destroyed buildings of the complex, according to inscriptions mostly refer to XII-XIIIcc. But the found numerous remainders of ancient monuments, and also the popular legends evidence about existing in here early-medieval and even pagan cult center. In the whole territory of the complex are scattered remainders of ancient constructions, "parts of four-hedral stalls", pieces of ornamented gravestones of V-VIIcc, cornices, capitals, bases, which have characteristic features of building technique and decoration of early period. Certainly, these architectural details belonged to a famous temple, one of those cult constructions, the numbers of which in Artsakh were as many as "... the number of days in a year" and the basis of which was connected with building work of king of Armenian Aghvank Vachagan Pious.

The oldest church built probably in early medieval period is situated on top of a hill, towards north-east, next to the vestibule. It was a three-nave basilica, occupying a territory around 100m2, while it had already been built in the place of a more ancient cult monument, probably a pagan capital. This circumstance evidences about the ancient cult significance of the whole area, where is situated the complex. here was discovered interesting material, among which should be mentioned " the pedestal of some gravestone, two capitals, basis with characteristic for that period geometrical and natural ornaments and equal-winged crosses".

Complex Bri Yeghtsi consists of four churches, a vestibule, three bays with khachkars, a collapsed chapel, destroyed subsidiary buildings and a large cemetery, mostly created in developed medieval period and rebuilt in following ages.

The first church, which is situated in south-eastern side of the hill's top has quite small sizes (5,85x3,6m) and is built from untrimmed stone (except for the western facade). It's a one-nave hall with vaulted cover and an only entry rom west. The construction has almost fully-preserved. In decorative point stands out only the facade, partly the casings of doors, covered with braided stones with crosses inside them, and a half-round stone-tympanum with chess pattern.

The second church joins the first one from eastern side. It's also a small building, built from whitish chipped stone, already quite weather-beaten. As the first one it presents a one-nave basilica with rectangular scheme (3x5m).

The plaster of the church has almost completely come out and are very well seen the horizontal equal rows of the pointed vault. The floor of the only eastern apside is on one level with the praying-hall floor, i.e. there is no alter-rising in here. Vestries are missing, only in altar-corners there are deepenings. One of the window-passages, placed above the entry, is covered with the arch of the later on pre-wall vestibule. As we see, these two churches, though the distinguishing features have certain likeness in stylistic point.

the vestibule joins the western facades of both of the churches and is common for them. This interesting architectural construction is considered one of teh best among analogous ones.

In vestibule Bri Yeghtsi, as in other analogous constructions, one can't avoid paying attention to mutually-crossing four arches of the one interior space, and also on laconicism and clearness of architectural forms.

In short, the vestibule, especially its leaning on arches vault is the important achievement of Armenian architectural art of XII- XIIIcc.

Built in the western parts of the churches the vestibule partly hides their ornamented facades and by it not only contrasts by its monumentality with the rich decoration of both of the churches, but also outlines the ostentation and impressiveness of their portals. The vestibule-gavit has almost a square scheme (7,5 x 7,8). Like the other vestibules it served also as a burial-vault and a place of wordly and religious gatherings. Such functional assignment definitely influenced on the whole composition, conditioning restriction of decoration and interior forms. For creating a larger interior space the architect boldly made longer the tall arches, fixing them to the pre-wall pylons of side-walls. the small architectural forms; khachkars, gravestones, ornamented stone placed only in eastern part of the vestibule in large bays, fromed sith arches.

The flatness of vestibule-belfry's walls (except for the western one) by means of pilasters and arches is divided into three large arched bays, the middle one of which is wider then the others.

On the western wall of the vestibule there are no pre-wall pylons and the arches here directly lean on walls.

By means of crossed over the pre-wall pylons arches the vestibule is divided into 8 parts, covered with a wide vault. Over the eight-hedral light passage, placed in the central part of the vault, existed a rotunda- belfry, about which evidence remainders of pillars and their basis on the roof in the corners of the light-passage.

The four-side roof of the vestibule monumentally rises over the gable roofs of the churches. In the interior of the vestibule, in the bays of the eastern wall are put six wonderful khachkars, numerous gravestones with decorations and domestic relieves. By the entry to the southern church there is a richly-ornamented gravestone, on which is carved: "Tomb of sir Hovanes, Karapt's on. In the summer of 1247 (1798)". On both khachkars is pictured a figure in national clothes.

The third church is situated on teh highest part of the hill, in 4km towards west from the vestibule. It's a one-nave basilica with a pointed vault, a stage in eastern part and bays by its two sides. The floor of the rectangular hall (interior sizes 2,6 x 4,8m) is covered with gravestones.

In decorative point stands out the richly-ornamented western facade. The casings of the main portal are wonderfully decorated. On the half-round tympanum there is a composition, consisting of a cross and rhombs around it. In the upper corners of the portal there are relief images of birds with broken heads. The rest of the wall-surface is covered with sculptured crosses. Next to the bird's picture in northern side there is a gravestone put in the wall. "Remember in your prayers to Jesus Christ Khachenik- The architect of the sacred church". On another stone, placed in the praying-hall is carved "In the summer of 719 (1270)...during Nerses' Bishopy I, Mkhitar, son of Kh... built this cross"> Architect Khachenik, whose name is mentioned in the inscription also built a large beautiful bay with khachkars, placed in southern slope of this hill, by the road. The front part of the stall is destroyed, below, as evidences S.Barkhudaryan, hwo has examined this complex in 1961, ahs preserved a row of eight stones, on which was carved an inscription, consisting of six long lines.

"Built by architect Khachenik this monument" wrote S. Barkhudaryan, "is one of the best examples of spread in XIIc analogous monuments, and belongs to the number of most remarkable one from the ones, which we chanced to see".

The monumental bay, covered from four sides with trimmed stones is placed on a high, quite destroyed pedestal. The preserved surface- stones of the pedestal are covered with diamond-shaped ornaments. In the bay are put 4 khachkars with beautiful carving, which is unfortunately harmed and rubbed off.

Towards south from the complex, by the foot of the hill around the village is the Fourth church, which is the smallest one and is built from roughly-trimmed stone. The cover of the church has collapsed. The western facade is decorated with tens of khachkars of various sizes. The only entry in the western side has ornamented framing. The half-round tympanum has especially interesting solution. The composition here consists of a cross on chess back-ground and peacocks, one in each side. In the top western corner of the wall is carved the building inscription in 5 lines. The stones with first-letter lines of the inscription are missing, in the other, quite harmed part it tells that the church was built in the time of catholicos of Aghvank Hovanes and his younger brother catholicos Nerses, i.e. before 1235. Next to this inscription remains also the memorable inscription of the architect: "Remember (in prayers) to God, Shahen- the architect of this church".

"So in construction of Bri Yeghtsi complex participated two archtects: one of them Khachenik Anetsi built the church and the bay with khachkars, and Shahen built the church. The stylistic and building likeness of other half-destroyed monuments with constructions of these masters let us suppose, that they too are the creations of the mentioned architects, while the preserved dates and names (Bishop Nerses, prince Smbat) on the walls of the churches are the contemporaries of constructions of Khachenik and Shehen".

What concerns teh toher monuments, which Makar Barkhudaryants calls bems, are actually simply bays, surrounded from three sides with sommon walls and khachkars on the western surface. The analogous bays, built in XIIIc, have preserved also in Hadrut and Bank. Two bays with khachkars are placed in a row, a little above the fourth church. As by separate building details so by decoration they very much resemble one other and have the same sizes (height 3,5, didth- 3,22, depth- 1,85M). In each bay from western side are put four khachkars. The third analogous monument is in the side of the cemetery. But with time all the ornaments and inscriptions in this bay have rubbed off and the face-stones have fallen down.

In the cemetery there are numerous interesting gravestones with inscriptions and domestic relieves. -----ADD MORE TO HATSI----- Church Surb Astvatsatsin - The church is situated in the center of village Hatsi, by the eight-grade-school’s building. It’s a rectangular in scheme one-nave basilica with a vaulted cover (inside sizes are 12,6x 6,0m). it is built from the local trimmed stone. By the two sides of the apside are placed vestries. The main entry is from southern side. But the church also had an entry from north, which was later on covered. Most likely through that door the church communicated with the placed in northern part chapel-burial-vault or with some other building with another significance. Now it’s all ruined, covered with earth and turned into a farmstead.

The gable roof of the church with the light-passage leans on a pair of arches, crossed to the pre-wall pylons. On the portal’s tympanum is missing the dated stone, which makes it difficult to define the foundation date of the church. But the not copied yet unreadable epigraphic inscriptions on four richly ornamented khachkars, carved on large granite pylons of pink color evidence that here in XIIc there was a cult construction. Judging by the wall-layer and by stylistic peculiarities of epigraphic inscriptions of small khachkars, the church was founded in the place of the previous one in XVI-XVIIcc. Towards south from the church by spring Anahit there is a beautifully ornamented khachkar. In village Hatsi in the number of best ones belongs spring of Mara on the village’s approaches, among mulberry trees.


Among the monuments of the village also attracts attention the school-building, built in 1911 by means of villager-spouses Jevanshir and Gyulbahar Ghazayans. The witnesses tell about with what great love the spouses took up that job. On the façade of the building is written:

To Armenian children!

Let in your mouths forever ring
The native tongue of Sahak and Mesrop,
Love kindness, light and science,
Which take us to the salvation.
A gift to village Hatsi from Jevanshir
And Gyulbahar Gazayans in 1911.

In the surroudings of Bri Yeghtsi are situated villages Avtur (Holy Virgin church), Emijan, Mirishalu (St. Gevorg church), Norshen. The preserved in mentioned villages churches Surb Astvatsatsin, Surb Stepanos, Surb Gevorg, Surb Hovanes are constructions of late period and are built from roughly-trimmed stone. They mainly belong to the type of basilica halls with vaulted cover. On the tympanums are carved the building inscriptions.

-----END HATSI----  Upon entering Hatsi you take your immediate right and follow the stream (on your right) to reach the Bri Yeghtsi Monastery, in less than 1km. 

If from the big fork you turn right instead, you will pass some ruins and after 3km reach the village of Abdal (old church, possibly in ruins) then 2.5km S of Abdal are the villages of Mirushen (Holy Virgin church) to the W and Avdur to the E, about 1km apart.

Martuni to Karmir Shuka

5km due west of Martuni along the main Stepanakert-Martuni road is the road heading straight S before it begins to wind along the contours of the hills. 3km down you come along to Gishi Village. Gishi has nearby ancient settlements, potter workshops remains, burials under small hills and also in pitchers, stony boxes and sarcophagi. Among these monuments is Ghlen Khut Fort (fort hill), placed on top of a high mountain between the villages of Gishi, Mushkapat and Chartar. The fort was surrounded with impregnable cliffs on the S & W, with the other sides were fortified with defensive walls. zzzz??? here still remain traces of ancient serf-walls, in some places are also noticeable remainders of worldly constructions. In scheme the church has a round look. In its surroundings were found pieces of ceramics, bricks, defective clay vessels- evidences of existence a potter work-shop. A little below there are ancient caves, which were included in the defense system of the fort and are quite interesting from archeological point of view. In the museum of Gishi's secondary school there is an interesting collection, consisting of dried grape-cores, grains and millet, pitchers, gray pots, vases with line-ornament, china cups, beads of various forms found in monuments Ghlen khut, Bbhaj khut, Khotahat, Uzumi. These objects again evidence that in the remote past the main work of the local inhabitants was viticulture and melon cultivation. It's noteworthy that they are the main agricultural branches of the village today. The results of examinations of constructions and burial stock, found in area Gishi- Martuni and comparisons with earlier known analogous monuments, point on their belonging to Aghchkaberd- Archadzor- Getabekian culture, which was spread in mountain parts of Small Caucausus, and also in Lake Sevan's basin.--- 26. Voske khach (golden cross) ruined church with a standing khachkar near Gishi vilalge's spring.--- 11. St. Minas church in village Gishi.-----END GISHI---- A couple of kilometers further is Khnushinak Village. Village church is the Holy Virgin, there are nearby traces of old settlements, ruins of religious constructions.

Just over a km after passing Khnushinak Village you come upon Kaler (Gioneikaler, Ghuze Kaler, Gyute Kaler), which is divided in Verin (upper) Kaler and Nerkin (lower) Kaler by a river and has three roads leading out of it. The one going W takes you in a circle first to the N section of Chartar (Gioneichartar, Ghuze Chartar, Gyute Chartar) Village (which is closely tied to Kaler village) then the separate S section. -----CHARTAR ADD---- Chartar consists of Ghuze (northern) Chartar, Ghuze Kaler, Gyute (eastern) Chartar and Gyute Kaler villages. These villages lie 1-1.5 km from each other and are situated on in between two mountain-ridges which rise up on three sides while the forth side to the E is open. From here start the large gardens and grain fields, which form the direct continuation of the Artsakh valley.

To the south of the village is Yeghishe mountain, on the slopes of which is Yeghishe Convent. On the NW side of Chartar is situated a huge fort, on top of the citadel of which still remain the ruins of "Nahatak” (martyr) chapel.

There are five village-territories near Chartar. The most remarkable of them- Shinategh, is situated in the southern part of the village, 200m towards north-west from Yeghishe convent. The numerous archeological objects found by local people- clay and copper dishes, traces of buildings, old grave-house, and also the circumstance that the local people call the are "shinategh (building place)", give basis to insist that the mentioned village-territories are the remainders of former old settlements. Examinations show that "Mravi tagh", "Kyamala Aghbyur", "Ghalin khut" ancient places were not permanent living-places, but rather temporary protective and hiding places from enemy's attacks. The village's spring-monuments joining in Chartar also present great interest. Throughout ages "Mote jur","Tsrva jur", "Gover aghbyur" ,"Esla", and "Elazin" springs with their vivifying waters satisfied Chartarians' needs. The Bronze-Age ancient place situated on Dvin-Partav historical road, 15km towards south-east from old Amaras, in the surroundings of village Chartar is still unknown to the wide scientific circles. In 1965 accidentally discovered large old settlement that occupies 150 hectare territory were found remainders of buildings, domestic objects, strategic and work instruments, among which stand out broken or whole huge pitchers. From the primitive examinations of these things scientists came to a conclusion, that the settlement most like was destroyed no later than the middle of the first millennium (bc), because neither foreign (Greek, Roman) nor Armenian sources tell anything about it. The around 2m high huge pitchers, besides evidencing the potter's professions' high-level of the local people. also evidence about the agricultural and especially vitucultural activities of their owners. Grape-seeds and dry wine sediment were found in the pitchers. Among the monuments of Tchartar the churches in villages have preserved comparatively well. Gyune Tchartar church is a basilica, peculiar to late medieval style. The squared beam stone's inscription of the church shows that it was built in 1787 by master Harutyun. Unfortunately the other churches don't have building inscriptions. But we can tell that they belong to later periods by their general architectural composition and the way they were built. While building the present wonderful cultural palace of Chartar (the arach. is Gevorg Tamanyan) a fine capital was found, which is transferred to regional museum. It persuasively confirms the idea of specialists, that during Christianity propogating period of Tchartar, a convent was built in the neighborhood of Amaras. But in this ancient place Yeghishe convent presents great interest, which is situated on top of a mountain rising in the southern side of Ghuze tchartar. The only church of the convent is called Yeghishay virgin monastery in inscriptions. The church is a basilica, peculiar to late medieval period, it has two pillars inside, the cover is vaulted. In two sides of the stage there are two vestries by rectangle scheme. Three large passages are opened in the walls. The only entry is from western side. The arches, pillars, windows and the sides of the door are from trimmed stone, other parts are from untrimmed granite. In the walls are used numerous stones of old buildings, khachkars, domestic and other type of interesting decorations, even grave-stones, pieces of inscriptions, which enlarge the value of the church. The inside plaster has mostly come out. Some part of the vestry-plaster has preserved. The exact foundation date of the old church is not known. According to a stone inscription it has been one of the remarkable pilgrimages since 12c. Later on it was ruined and in its place was rebuilt another one in 17c. "I , master Gabriel built this church with my own hands". (the inscription should be understood in the meaning of rebuilding). The church was rebuilt in 1655 by two religious people- Hovhan precepter and his younger son Hovhan. The building inscription is on the roof, as a chapel it had a small construction, now it is in half-destroyed condition. In the large vestry of the church, under the stage is situated Yeghishe virgin's mausoleum. Near the church, on a rising stretches the small grave-house. Part of the grave-stones is quite large and well-trimmed. By the way, on the large grave-stones placed in the church-walls are carved medieval agricultural instruments, sins of working the land, threshing the grain, grape-vines, etc. Thanks of all these the monument is also interesting from ethnological point. The carvings speak about that the inhabitants of the area mostly busied themselves with agriculture and vituculture, just like now. The convent was once ramparted. On the ruined ramparts grew oak-trees, ash-trees and other trees, which took the whole convent-complex under their patronage. ----END CHARTAR---- The big road heading E (which will split then rejoin) takes you the 7km to the Martuni-Varanda road, with the village of Iokharb Veisalli located halfway (technically in an Az. enclave). The Martuni-Karmir Shuka road continues SW from the S end of Kaler village, leading in about 2.5km to Sos Village.

Sos Village has a St. Gevorg church. Near the village is the St. Lusavorich pilgrimage site. 1.5km SE of Sos a road leads to Machkalashen Village, and from there a dirt track leads another 3km to Amaras Monastery.


ADD TO AMARAS----

Amaras Monastery has played a strong role in the propogation of the Armenian alphabet when it was newly created. According to old Armenian manuscripts, Grigor Luysavorich founded a monastery here in the beginning of the 4th century, which was completed by his grandson Bishop Grigoris (buried there). It the 330’s, this had already become the seat of the bishop, and remained an important religious center until the 19th cc. Its long history of destruction and reconstruction began soon after it was complete. The monastery was destroyed the same century it was built, probably during the battle of Vardanants. At the end of the same century Hayaghvank's King Vachagan Barepasht completely repaired the temple. When Mesrop Mashtots came to eastern Armenian regions, he began teaching the new Armenian letters in Amaras, and opened the very first Armenian school there.

During the first period of Arabic invasions, Amaras was again destroyed. Rebuilt again in the 9 c under Dizak's Prince Yesayi Abu-Muse's patronship, and prospered once again. In 1223 Tatar-Mongols looted the wealth of Amaras. Among the robbed treasure were St. Grigor's crozier and a golden cross ornamented with 36 stones left from 4 c. According to historian Stepan Orbelyan, Greek Emperor Despina's daughter's (married to the Mongol confiscator) had the cross and the crozier sent to K. Polis(???). Again in 1387, like dozens of Artsakh's churches, Amaras was levelled by the forces of Lenk-Temur. Legend has it that he lined his soldiers from Amaras to river Araks and ordered them to throw the throw the stones of the destroyed walls into the Araks River, passing them down the approx. 35km chain. But, again as legend has it, the invaders had hardly left, when the monastery was rebuilt. Further work was done on the monastery in the second half of 16c by Bishop Peros’ (Glshetsian) efforts, and a summer-temple was built for it in Herher Village. Ramparts were added in the 18th cc by Varanda’s Prince Shahnazar. These ramparts consisted of many rooms, cells and other auxiliary constructions. In 1858 Amaras was completely restored by efforts of the people of Shushsi, causing a loss of many of the old inscriptions.

A khachkar found in the Matchkalashen village's old grave-house, near Amaras, which is an excellent example of medieval stone-work was carved in 1091 by ‘Kazmogh’ Ghazar. Rising on a pedestal, this khachkar with grape and pomegranate carvings, is a good example of medieval Armenian ornamentation.

In the second quarter of the 19c Amaras served as a customs house. Caravans going from the orient stopped here en route to Russia or to other European countries. The monastery at one time owned many lands, water-mills and summer-cottages.

The martyr St. Grigoris' underground mausoleum, which is situated under the stage of the present church was built from trimmed stone brought from Khazaz mountain's stone-mine. The mausoleum has an entry to the S (wall opposite these stairs is ornamented) and a closed off one on the E.

In the mausoleum was St. Grigoris' tombstone, a focus of pilgrims. On the tombstone are carved a Bishop’s mitre, crosier and cross. The following inscription is on the tombstone: “The mausoleum of St. Grigor of Aghvan, the grandson of the Katoghikos, and St. Grigor Lusavorich of Parthia. Born in ÚÆ´- 322, annointed in ÚÊ- 340, and died in ÚÊÀ-348. Sanesan King Mazgtats from Drbend brought to Amaras these sacred relics to the hands of the new bishop of Artsakh".

The present three-nave basilica (13.5 x 23.2m) church of Amaras was built in 1858. It is quite different from the domed church that Jalalyants describes in the 17 cc. On the gable roof rise a six-pillar rotunda. It's interesting to mention, that until its last renovation the roof had three rotundas, the largest in the center. The convent is in the center of 5m high ramparts (85x59m) with round towers at each corner. Into the ramparts are built many rooms for dwelling and auxiliary uses. The large space inside the ramparts is divided into two yards. In the center of the W yard is St. Grigoris church. The dining-room and the two-story building of the abbot are situated on the S wall. The smaller E yard was housed a shed, the stable and storage.

The only entry into the compound (NE corner) opens into the small yard. Hasatryan points out that this allowed an additional layer of defense, since any force breaching the outside entry must also get past the second gate (now destroyed) which separates the two yards.


END OF AMARAS-----

On the main Martuni-Karmir Shuka road, passing Sos, you come in 2.5km to the turn-off leading N to the close-by villages of Karahunj (Hin Hangstaran is near the village; Darahoj village ruins are situated 2km W of Karahunj, on Rskehan mountain's slope, and is called "Kyohna Karahonjenyal"), then Kert. Along the main highway, the next turn-off a half a km down the road also leads N to Kert. S. Gevorg is the name of the village church. Excavations at a road construction site in 1971 revealed some interesting artifacts, and to the E there are nearby ruins of Karavechi village.

About 700m past the Kert turn-off you come to a fork. The right branch leads to the distant (4.5km) village of Peretes (Kolkhozashen/Kalkhozashen?) (at the second branch again take a right), and can go even further (at the second branch stay left) to Mismna Village (THIS is coming up for the second time, is that right?). If at the first turn off past Kert you took the left branch, you will reach the Herher turnoff in 5km. ----ADD PERETES----7. Holy Virgin church is in village Kolkhazashen. 8. Shinategh village-territory is situated a little above Kolkhozashen. 9. Tertni grave-house is from untrimmed grave-stones, near Kolkhozashen. 10. Peretesa church is between Kolkhozashen and Msmna villages, there are grave-stones around it. -------The Herher turnoff heads NW 2km to the village (1. Holy Virgin chapel in the resting-area of Herher.), then continues to the nearby village of Tsovategh (Dzavadikh, Zavadikh) (2. Holy Virgin church in village Tsovategh.) ---ADD TO TSOVATEGH----3. The Red church or Melik Pashayan's mausoleum is on a hill in the eastern side of Tsovategh. In the old grave-houses around the mausoleum still remain inscribed khachkars of 10-13cc. The mausoleum itself is an underground monument of four pieces, which join by doors. The buildings have number of lythographs with èƺ (1576), èȺ (1586), èÐ(1621) dates. Around the monument once had been situated many villages, one of which was Kozich- the residence of Melik- Pashayans- the rulers of southern Varanda. The family burial-vault of Melik Pashayans church Karmir now lays in ruins. Here haven't even preserved the stones of the entry to church-vestibule. On the tympanum had been carved an inscription, which reads: "In the summer of 1070 (1621), (I), Bishop David (built) in the memory (of me) church- monastery as a burial vault over the tombs of our ancestors. In the earthy cave, wich is situated in the cemetery, "as Sargis Jalalyants informs are placed relics of people who died from sword and hunger". ---- 5. Pilin pos village-territory is near Tsovategh. The bronze bowl, rings, ear-rings, bracelets, black shiny pitchers found in the ancient place present great interest and are considered valuable museum exhibits.-----END TSOVATEGH---- then Kherkhan. ---ADD---4. Between Tsovategh and Kherkhan villages preserve two artificial lakes. Tsovategh village is supposed to have got its name because of the lakes. --- 6. St. Gevorg church is in village Kherkhan.----END----

3km past the Herher turnoff brings you to the Karmir Shuka-Varanda road and Karmir Shuka (meaning Red Market, and well known by that same name in Russian, Krasni Bazaar) is 1km W of this point (Varanda is 20km E). Karmir Shuka has a Jokhtak church, and near the village is the St. Gevorg pilgrimage site.

1km S of Karmir Shuka is Taghavard Village ----ADD TAGHAVARD---- Taghavard is full of noteworthy places and numerous material cultural monuments. Taghavard village is divided into two parts- Verin and Nerkin. In the upper part of the road taking from Taghavard to Shekher, in a woody plain remains half-destroyed Brdahonj called church, which is encircled with ramparts. The double-ramparts, which have preserved comparatively well stretch from rock to rock, make impregnable the towers, dwellings, pools and rocky caves of the citadel. The church should be supposed to have been a one-nave basilica, a nice building with rather long and comparatively narrow cogged cornices and other trimmed stones, which are peculiar to medieval period buldings. The underground entry of the fortress has an interesting form. The stony stairs go down to the fort's underground "economies" by narrow passes, which are unfortunately full of earth. In its time Brdahoy, especially during war, played an important role in the protection matter of local inhabitants. Gyughamiji church, according to the squared beam inscription of the door, is called Holy Virgin and was built in 19c. The church is a three-nave basilica-type building, the four-pillar gable roof is vaulted, from the eastern side it has a half-rounded abside with a high stage and vestries. Another church is situated around 0,5km distance from the village, in "Gyune bagh" field. It's again a three-nave basilica-type construction. It was probably rebuilt in 17-18cc. The walls are from untrimmed granite and lime-mortar. The inscription found in the ruins of the church, which was the squared beam stone, sais, "I... Grigoris built Taghvardu church by Tavut's leadership..." Another church, which for many years has been used as a storage, is situated in Verin Taghavard village. It's a basilica with gable roof, the exterior sizes of which are 18, 35x 9,65m, it was built in 19c by means of Taghavardians. Since ancient times in Taghavard has been known Patants khach sacred place. It is situated in Kaler called field of the village and represents a flat stone with a cross carving. In the past, when the local people wanted rainy days, they poured water on the cross, and for sunny days they made fire on it. Barevatsari or Jukht ptvatsari convent- The ruins of this construction are situated in the mountain-wing, in the southern part of Verin Taghavard village. The church, the real name of which is not known, is encircled iwth remainders of ramparts. Till the end of the last century nobody knew about its existence. The construction is buried in earth, but on the earth-surface, in the small plain of the hill, as a pointer there was a khachkar. In 1844 Taghavardians decide to build a chapel over the Khachkar. While digging the land they meet the earth-covered church. The khachkar appears to be one of the numerous wall-khachkars of the large convent, which somehow remained on the earth-surface. The exact foundation date of Bareva tsar is not known, but the two inscribed khachkars show the following "Saint Petros, put this cross for salvation of my and my parents' souls. From now, when you worship my sacred sign, remember me and let God remember you.Üʼ (997)." . "Saint Pavghos, religious Hovhanes Bishop of Amaras, the prince of princes Gagik of Aghvan. I father Kirakos the leader of my pilgrim, my brother's son Kokona". Gagik prince of prince-king's inscription remains, and is kept in archeological museum of Gharabagh; he lived in the end of 10c and in the beginning of 11c. In means that in both cases is inscribed one and the same happening. The mausoleum-hills stretching along the bank of the river, flowing by Taghavard, evidence that this field was a passing-way for the ethnic-groups moving from Araks plain to Lernayin Gharabagh. These pictures repeat in the river-valleys of Khachenaget, Zingyanakap and Inja. Here over 200 large and small groups of mausoleums stretch along the river-stream. Still in 1895 Ryosler has excavated in this valley, near Gharabulagh village. The huge mausoleum-hill, which was excavated by him was surrounded by 30 small groups of mausoleum-hills, which look like Khojalu's mausoleum-hills. The other great part of mausoleum-hills stretches along the low stream of river Kyondalan.------ Taghavard - This village has numerous sights and monuments of material culture. It is divided into two parts: top and bottom. In the top side of the road, taking to Shekher from Nerkin Taghavard, on a woody plateau in half-destroyed condition stands church Brdahonj, surrounded with stony-fence. The double fence-walls have preserved comparatively well, they stretch from one cliff to another, creating an impregnable chain around the placed in up-town towers, dwellings, reservoirs and cave-constructions. Probably the church was one-nave basilica with a long and narrow praying-hall. From it have preserved characteristic for medieval period constructions separate details, pieces of cogged cornices and trimmed stones. The underground passage of the fort has an interesting construction. The hollowed out in the cliffs stairs go down to the underground constructions, which are unfortunately covered with earth. The parish church of the village, according to the inscription on the front stone of the entry was called Susrb Astvatsatsin and was built in XIXc. It’s three-nave basilica with vaulted cover, leaning on four pylons, taken under the gable roof. In the eastern side there is a half-round apside with a high altar and vestries. Another church is situated on a distance of 0,5m from the village, in area Gyune Bagh (sunny garden). It’s a three-nave basilica most likely built in XVII-XVIIIcc. The walls are built from untrimmed stones and lime-mortar. On the front stone of the entry, laying now in the church-ruins is carved an inscription: I… Grigoris built the church of Taghavard during Amirbek’s Bishopy”. Another church in Verin Taghavard is a one-nave basilica (the exterior sizes are 18,35x 9,65m) with a gable roof. It was built in XIXc by the villagers. In Taghavard since ancient times has been known pilgrimage Patants khach. This smooth stone with an image of cross is situated in area Kaler (threshing floor). In ancient times during drought for bringing rain they poured water on the stone and vice versa, made fire on it for sunny weather. Church Chiravush or Gyune is on top of a high hill below Kaler. iN the walls of the small church are put numerous khachkars with inscriptions, dated 1608, 1645. The southern district of Nerkin Taghavard joining village Karmir shuka is called Kaler, and Top Taghavard is called Zardarashen. These three villages are placed on one line in 1-1,5km distance from each other. The fort called Hin ghala (ancient fort) is situated in 5km towards south-east form the village, on top of a woody hill. Here are noticeable traces of numerous buildings. The reservoirs remain. In 3km towards east from the fort, on a woody hill are situated remainders of an ancient church and joining it a cemetery. The gravestones with inscriptions of XIIIc are covered with relieves. Among Taghavard’s monuments a special place occupy situated in south-western part of the village cave-dwellings and dug in clay-earth later earth-houses. In the village there are number of monument-springs: Tasaghbyur, Dein Aghbyur, Minasants, Rusen, Hudun, Yeghiyan, Plpilan, Pshin, Tslok, Sheshma, Sahunts, Yeghonegi, Karmir, Shoren, Katnaghbyur,etc. The burial hill by both banks of flowing by Taghavard river evidence about that this valley in ancient times served as a caravan-road during moving the ethnic groups from Araks valley to Gharabagh. The same picture is seen in river-valleys of Khachenaget, Sangynakap and Inja. Towards up along the river are placed over 200 burial-hills. In 1895 in this valley, near village Karabulagh excavated Emil Resler. The huge burial-mound excavated by him was surrounded with 30 small hills, resembling Khojalinian hills. Another burial group stretches down along river Varand-Kendalan’s stream.


END TAGHAVARD----, and 1km W of Taghavard is Zardanashen (Zardanakhach?) Village.

2.5km S of Karmir Shuka, via Taghavard is Shekher Village (1. St. Vardan church in village Shekher.).

A couple of km NW of Karmir Shuka are some turnoffs leading N up bad dirt roads about 2-3km first to Skhtorashen Village, known for its massive, ancient plane-tree. The tree dates back to the time of Christ and was the oldest in all of the USSR. The tree has a hollow with 44m2 of space, and which can fit a hundred people, has a height of 54m (18 stories), girth of 27m, and the shadow it casts is 1400m square. This is a great spot for a picnic, and indeed you will most likely find picnickers there already when you arrive. By the tree is Tnjru spring, which has served the tree well and once worked a water mill. The village itself has a Skhtorashen Church, and nearby are the ruins of Blblak Village. 1km after the Skhtorashen turnoff, the main road leads to Mavas. Past those turnoffs, 3km past Karmir Shuka are some very bad roads leading 3km to Sargisashen Village (Holy Virgin church). A better turnoff is 3km N, just S of Sarushen (in Askeran Region). ----ADD SARGISASHEN---- Sargisashen-On the left bank of the ravine, in a fruit garden is situated the sacred place of village Sargisashen- ancient cemetery with nice gravestones. The cemetery has preserved very well and in this point it has no equals in the mountain area. The special boast of the natives is the richly ornamented gravestone with an inscription, dated 1814: “Prince Petros- the grandson of military leader of liberation army of Syunik Ter Avetis”. On Sargisashen’s territory are situated the following memorable places. Shinategh(village). Is situated in a distance of 1km towards west from Sargisashen, by the middle stream of river Lvats. Remein deepenings from destroyed dwellings. Yeghtsun khut. Is situated above spring Shrshran. In this place remain numerous gravestones and remainders of constructions. The area is covered with bushes. Koku: it’s a large area in the southern part of the vilalge. On the western slope of the high hill are noticeable traces of ruined buildings the considerable part of the monument’s territory now occupy mulberry gardens. Under the tall plane-tree there is a spring. There are scattered numerous pieces of khachkars, dated XII-XIVcc. Khachen khut: is situated towards south from the village, there, where Varanda and Lvats confluence and make a small cape bordered from the surroundings by deep ravines. In rainy weather from the southern slope starts a spring. Once here stood a khachkar, which had unique artistic solution. Khachen tak (under the cross). It has also another name. Is situated by Shenin spring. Here stands a khachkar of average size, put in 1257. The natives considered it as “bringing sun and rain”. Church Surb Astvatsatsin or Zham. The three-nave basilica with vaulted cover was placed on a tall cliff, towards south from the village. Unfortunately it has collapsed in 1960’s. the church-stone served as building material for the local eight-grade school-building. Tandzi aghbyur; this remarkable monument-spring is in northern side of the village, by the side of the road. Around the spring stretch fruit gardens. Bulvants dzor: an area of ravine of river Varanda called like this in the past was famous for numerous mills. Now remain mills of families Aghans, Aslanants, Bulvants and remainders of other mills. Mills were also built on river Lvats.


END SARGISASHEN--------


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Monuments of Amaras valley

Though it was completely ruined in the 16 cc by Osman Turks, the early-medieval town of Amaras has great significance. That large settlement, the traces of which still remain, stretches on the right and left banks of river Amaras flowing near the ramparts of the monastery. On the E and W side there are two grave-houses. One in an area called Khol, the other on Kznapat hill. Many of the present monastery structures were built from the stone of this settlement.

Amaras' summer-cottage is in village Herher. It stretches in the neighborhood of Tsovategh, in the south-western part of Rskehan mountain. The church in here is from 17c and is called after Lusavorich. THe not-at-all-harmed monument is a four-pillar domed basilica (19x14x8m), the drum of the dome of which is almost unnoticable in the building's exterior volume. The walls are from trimmed stone. By the way, Amaras church has the same width as Herher's monument, but is a little longer, for forming a three-nave basilica. This condition again prompted M. Hasratyan to say, that the 17c "Amaras church was also a low-fixed, four-pillar, domed basilica. The four, trimmed pillars of the church carry the vaulted, gable roof. Inside the construction the stage and the vestries preserved well. The inscribed stones placed in walls have 16-17cc dates. In the territory, which is the direct continuation of Amaras valley are situated many ancient famous, but later on devastated settlements. Some of them remained out of eyesight of examiners. in the list of toponyms arranged by ancient-lover G.Beglaryan are mentioned names of four medieval villages. "One of them is Darahoj, mentioned also in Movses Kaghankatvatsi's book, is situated in 2km towards west from the present village Kirahunj, on the slope of mountain Rskihan and is called Hin Karahunj. Part of the settlement's territory is ploughed, clear traces of constructions remain in the top section of the field. On top of the mountain near Karahunj is placed a sacred place, which in the past had attracted many pilgrims' attention. Paths through slopy bare cliffs rise to the top, where still preserve traces of a chapel, built from stone and lime-mortar. Here are also placed several khachkars, which present untrimmed slabs with pictures of crosses on the western surface. As they tell in villages Kert and Karahunj, in the past the inhabitants of these villages took from here trimmed stones for building their houses. Next to village Hin Karahunj, towards east from it, by the present village Kert, on the slope of mountain Rskihan is situated village Karavetch. in 1971 while building the road in here were discovered remainders of underground dwelling, built from stone and lime-mortar. Some slabs of this construction, brought by inhabitants of Kert as building material are scattered near the village's cemetery. Church Surb Gevorg in Kert was built in XIXc. It's a one-nave basilica with a vaulted cover. In 20-30's it was used as a club. In the period of the WWII over the church was built a club. By the temple's entry on the wall is carved a khachkar. The altar apside and the vestries are in good condition. In Kert, in area called Tatunts tap up to this day remain traces of a chapel-sacred-place Karmir Avetaran. It had been destroyed and its stone was used in construction. On the impregnable northern top of the mentioned mountain Rskihan is built a well-preserved chapel. on the northern slope of the mountain called Arabi tap (according to the legend, ARabs once had put a camp here, and the name stuck) has preserved chapel-sacred-place Chiku tak. About it is mentioned in E.Lalayan's book "Varanda". Here once grew a giantic platan, which later on fell down from a lightning blow. In area Galeren tap were discovered cells and various buildings, which are unfortunately not examined. Towards south is Kaghnun yal, where are noticeable traces of an ancient settlement. It is thought that here should be searched for the residence of Varanda's princes, who had separated from Dizak. The next village Britis is placed between villages Kolkhozashen and Msmna. The village is mentioned in historian Arakel Davrizhetsi's work. The local inhabitants call it Perets. Here has preserved an ancient cemetery with a destroyed chapel. The rest of the village's territory is ploughed, except for several covered wtih bushes artificial hills, formed from ruins of dwellings. Not less interest presents also the specification of Kochiz' place- one of the villages, connected with Amaras monastery's history. Traces of the ancient Kochiz are noticeable on teh hill's slope, placed below villages Tsovategh and Kherkhan. About it prompt the cemeteries stretching in here. One of them, the nearest one to Tsovategh, according to the inscriptions of gravestones had belonged to Melik Pashayants. Another cemetery, more ancient than the first one joins Kochiz' ruins. The gravestones are half-way covered with earth. Towards west from Amaras, on slopes of mountains and along banks of river Amaras stretch the present well-equipped villages: Sos, Machkalashen, Herher, Tsovategh, Kherkhan, Kavahan, Msmna, Kolkhozashen, Karahunj and Kert. Some of the monuments of Amaras valley are;


Grigoris Church

Situated in the center of neighboring with Tsovategh village Herher church Grigoris, according to the building inscription was built in 1667-1676 by order of catholicos Petros under the leadership of archbishop Barsegh Gishetsi. According to narrative sources and epigraphic inscriptions, carved on the walls of the church, Herher for many years has served as summer residence for Amaras monastery's friary. this circumstance played an important role while creating the interesting architectural monument. Here had been gathered various relics, khachkars, inscriptions, containing certain information about important events and historical persons of that epoch. The rather well-preserved church is a four-pylon domed basilica. The low drum of the dome is hardly noticeable in the exterior cruciform volume. The walls are built from trimmed stone. The three-nave hall with vaulted cover is 19,24m long, 13,63m wide and 8m tall. By the way the cathedral church of Amaras has the same width as church Grigoris, only it is a little longer, in course of it being turned into a three-nave basilica. This circumstance served as basis for M.Hasratyan's conclusion about that "Amaras church in XVIIc also presented a four-pylon domed basilica with a low dome". The four trimmed pillars of the church and connecting them arches carry the vaulted cover, taken under the gable roof. In the interior especially well have preserved the pillars, edges of window-passages and entries. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the altar. While turning the church into a storage the altar-rising was completely destroyed with a very important inscription. Fortunately the inscription in its time was copied by S. Jalalyants and M.Barkhudaryants. The stones of altar's butt-end with fragments of inscriptions were used while creating the storage departments for various products. The inscription carved on the tympanum of the southern portal of Herher's church contains detailed information about repairings of Amaras complex in XVIIc, about building the fort fence and joining it numerous rooms, cells and stalls. The inscription says: "With Christ's blessings, I, Bishop Barsegh, student of catholicos Petros, and my parents Agha and Gulagha, rebuilt the radiant St. seat of Amaras: encircled (it) with walls of numerous rooms, decorated and made the church luxurious. They ordered to build a church named St. Grigoris (as) a cool-house of Amaras's St. seat, and transferred here part of its powers and land-borders. And the cathedral was founded in 1116 (1667) and finished in (the summer) of 1125 (1676)". The other 12 inscriptions of the church contain information referring to XVI- XVIIcc.

Remainders of village Hin Herher stretch 1km E of village Sos, situated on Lusavorich mountain's slope. Up to now situated below the monument earthy creations belong to Herherians, while the arable land of these gardens are among gardens of farm Sos.

Monastery Mavas, or Mamase

On the high slopes of the mountain-ridge, stretching along the right side of wide Amaras valley, there are two monasteries. The first one is known as Mavas (in literature is also mentioned as Mamas), and the second one is Shoshk.

Mavas Monastery (XIII cc) stood out with its defense constructions, thanks to which it at the same time served as a fort which played a role in organizing defense of the local population. All that remain are collapsed sections of the wall, which once stretched from one cliff to the other and encircled the whole complex.

From Manas Monastery itself remains the three-nave church, ruins of the adjacent vestibule and vestiges of a number of dwellings. The church’s gable roof recently collapsed. Two highly artistic khachkars are placed under the altar, and there is a burial-vault with four ornamented gravestones. A relief picture of an eagle stretching its wings was in the church-yard until the end of 1960's.

Kavahan- Gavahan


12. Ptkesi berki (harvest) chapel is around Ghavakhan village, on top of "Sorben tosh" woody hill.

21. Kozich village-territory is on the hill-slope between Tsovategh and Kherkhan villages. The grave-house and the ruins of the church have preserved. 22. In the high-fixed center of the mountain-ridge stretching along the right side of Amaras' large valley there are two convents. One of them is Mavasi convent-church (in literature it is also remembered as Mamasei). This monument at the same time performed a fort's role in the past. This monument, built by a composition peculiar to medieval convents, also contains peculiarities peculiar to vestibules. There are grave-stones in the vestries of the church. 24. Sorpa khut (sacred hill) chapel is on top of a conic mountain, rising in the southern side of the mountain-ridge, encircling the beautiful valley of Amaras. Besides the ones mentioned, in Amaras valley were recorded numerous archeological monuments. Only archeological excavations can add new information to the few materials about these monuments. Abot various sides of life, about rich culture, mode of life and customs also tell a lot the remainders of work instruments and domestic objects, discovered during land and building works. Especially are worth attention the discovered in here copper objects. On the slopes of Lusavorich mountain while ploughing were found preserved copper vessels. On one of the copper plates is carved the following inscription "Anania son Manase". the inscription of another plate reads: "Yeghia son Tsatur". These objects are kept in the Regional Musem. Copper things found in Gharabagh are not accidental. As processing copper and copper-work in Artsakh have deep roots and traditions, coming from IIIbc. The evident exaples of this serve high-quality copper and broze objects (work instruments, arms and decorations) from tombs of Bronze Age of Arachadzor, Khojalu, Dolanlar, Amaras, Kirkajan, pointing on existence of metallurgical industry of natives. Neighboring with numerous barrow burials in Amaras valley come across also burials in stony boxes and pitchers. Pitcher-burials are mostly discovered in area of Sos- machkalashen road. Belonging to different historical epochs the objects were found in the surroundings of villages Machkalashen, Sos, Kert, Herher, Tsovategh. Right in here, in monument Pilin pos by Tsovategh, as has already been mentioned were found a bronze cup, bracelet, ear-rings, and ceramics. Found in Amaras valley pitchers mostly don't differ from pitchers used in village-life till laterly, and even in our days. Even a passing glance on this archeological material shows that Amaras valley had been inhabited in ancient-ancient times and that life here went on uninterrupted up to our days.


Kusaberd- Aghchkaberd or Kzkala- karakend Approximately in the middle of high-way Aghdam-Martuni, there, where start the vine-gardens the road-sign with "Kzkala" points to south-west. Stretching 2,5km through the vine-gardens the road stops by a cliff, which is traditionaly called Kusaberd, i.e. Virgin fort. On the slope of the opposite mountain stretches a village of the same name. In all official Armenian documents, in periodicals and among people the village is called Kzkala. In other languages it is known as Karakend. Both Kzkala and Karakend by etymology come from word fort-gala-kala. While Kzkala is the translation of name Kusaberd- Aghchkaberd, and Karakend- is the changed form of Kalakend, where again is clearly outlined stem kala- fort. Toponyms Aghchkaberd and Berdagyugh (from Arm. berd-fort and gyugh- village) have their basis. Situated in 3km from the village fort Kusaberd is simply called Berd among people. Around the fort there were several settlements, which are mentioned in sources by a common name Hing Shen (from Arm. hing-five, shen -village). With this fort and the settlements around it is connected the ancient history of village Kiz Kala. On top of the cliff are noticeable remainders of serf-walls and constructions from trimmed stone, traces of destroyed beautiful pre-wall pylons and stones with cross-images. In the western part of the fort remain vestiges of three artificial reservoirs. The ceramic pipes found in here point on that water got to the fort by a secret means from spring Pilek. Till now the villagers while working the land find the ceramic pipes of this water-pipe, while the length of separate pieces reaches 0,5-1m. If to all this add the underground constructions of the fort- the cave dwellings, created with the purpose of hiding and protection, then it will be clear that we deal with a strong defense system. In the territory of the fort and HIng Shinategh were found numerous objects of archeological, historical, architectural and ethnographic character. These are various work-instruments, examples of arms, objects of every-day-practice, coins, decorations, statues, glazed cups, examples of khachkars and capitals with typical early-medieval ornamental motives. Now in the territory at the foot of Berd are planted vine-gardens, but the former name Hing Shen remains. Here are the ancient cemetery, spring and also remainders of constructions. To each visitor, even not a specialist, it's obvious that we deal with monuments of Armenian architecture. To define their approximate age is not difficult either. The remaining fragmentary inscriptions, architectural, constructive and decorative details (pillars, tympanums, casings, khachkars, ornamented slabs) quite definitely point on that these settlements at first had been equipped: each one had its cemetery, church ,work-shops. Analogous thing is noticeable in the topography of present Chartar, consisting as has already been mentioned from four villages. The materials found in these settlements evidence about that the inhabitants of five villages had economic, cultural and trading relations not only with other regions of Armenia, but with many other countries. Moke likely the discovered in here glass bracelets, glazed and faienced vessels, golden coins, lids with stamped decorations, polychromy cups nad been brought from other places. The glazed cups with polychromy ornaments, decorations, many of which are remarkable examples of medieval art, are almost identical with the analogous objects, discovered in Dvin. Students of the village's secondary school under the leadership of Geography teacher Haykush Azaryan discovered in here a potter work-shop and a stove for melting metal. the well preserved melting-stove with walls from baked brick and ash-pit in shape of ceramic pipes presents a whole industrial complex. Here attract attention also the glazed vessels of the early period, made with great mastery. On separate cups are carved snakes, birds and fantastic animals. Vessels with snake-picture, connected wtih the cult of first material, and clut relief-heads of bulls have lots in common with the analogous objects found in Tashir- Tsoraget. Towards east from Aghchkaberd stretches Artsakh valley, and a little towards south from it- mountain ridge Yerkar kar (from Arm. yerkar- long, kar- stone). Right opposite it rises mountain Mets Nahatak (great martyr), on top of which stands a church and a cemetery with inscribed gravestones. In Kzkal there are number of monuments: Mets nahatak, Surb, spring of Nahapet Kuchak and chruch Surb Astvatsatsin in teh middle of the village. All these monuments, except for Mets Nahatak, had been destroyed in the recent past.

Mets Nahatak This one-nave basilica is situated on top of the mountain of the same name, placed between villages Ghzghala, Ashan, Norshen, each of which ascribes the monument to it. The equipped and high-fixed church is seen from far away. The stone of its walls is roughly-trimmed. From the point of view of building technique Mets Taghlar is an interesting monument of its epoch. The gravestone of the martyr (without inscription) is in the church, and around it stretches the common cemetery. From the church have only preserved ruins of cells. All these give basis to suppose that once here have existed a "not numerous friary". On the chruch walls remain several inscriptions. The building inscription on the western wall reads: "I Gharaykhan from Ghzighali built this church. My father Amirkhan and my mother Mairas, and my brothers Sarukhan, Paghi, Babasi and my son Sargis. In the summer of 1125 (1676). There are inscriptions also on the tympanum of the western entry, on the khachkars, put in the wetern wall. The field placed below the church the local inhabitants call Vardapeti tap. A little below, on the mountain-slope stands a secular tree, one of the roots of which has so much risen over the ground taht one may pass under it. According to popular belief one who passes under it will be cured from caughing. That's why they call the arch "Ikhtl tsar (tree which cures from stifling cough).

Pitsi Nahatak

The monument is situated in 1km towards east from Ghzghala. Here stands an unfinished church, which though have many times tried to finished, but didn't. The cause might probably be the circumstance that Mets Nahatak pushes the chapel into background and on its building wan't paid much attention. Building of the chapel here was also started over the tomb of the martyr. In 30's the chapel was destroyed, and the stone was used for construction.

Church Surb Astvatsatsin Is situated in the center of the village, by the houses of Darzunts and Bakhshunts families. The church was a one-nave basilica (sizes of the hall 14x8,12m), the half-cylindrical vault of which leant of arches. On the tympanum of the entry there was an inscription "I, Hovanes built this church by my own means. My father is Takhtan, my mother Khonti, and Yusan, my wife Khanum, my deceased son A...". The other inscription carved on the northern wall from inside contained names of Bishops Hovanes, priest Poghos, villager leader Velijan and the architect of the church Kesbera Hakob. In the end of the last century in church was kept an unillustrated hand-written Gospel with several missing pages. According to the memorable inscription the Gospel was recopied in 1623 in town Aleppo by writer Avetis and sold to vendor Mahtesi Hovadegh. The latter presented the Gospel to church Surb Astvatsatsin. In the inscription it's not mentioned in which year exactly was the Gospel presented to the church. In Surb Astvatsatsin in the end of XIXc M. Barkhudaryants also saw a hand-written Mashtots of 1671. In the surroundings of Ghzghala and neighboring Ashana meet vilages, churches, cemeteries and other monuments, which are not mentioned in topographic descriptions of the area. here are some of them. Spitak Aghbyur (white spring). The earlier name is Saint spring. In the surrroundings are noticeable traces of settlements. Bakmazahogh (from Arm. dialect bakmaz- mulberry must, hogh- earth). Remain barrow hills, deepenings from ruins of settlements. The soil from this area is used as abrasive for cleaning dishes. Besides, while making sweat syrup the inhabitants put in it small sacks of this soil. Tsover (seas). Is situated in the southern part of the village, where are situated two large reservoirs, from which has originated the monument's name. Khol (underground dwelling). Is situated in the central district of the present Ghzghala. It consists of a rocky dwelling and an earth-house, dug out in the clay-earth layer. Ghazakhen dara (kazak pass). In the beginning of our century in this area stood Russian garrison. The pass was named in the honor of Russian kazaks. Pulkne (clay pots). In this area have many times been discovered ceramic objects. Most likely here has existed a settlement with potter workshops. Remain also traces of the cemetery. Church Surb Astvatsatsin. A three-nave basilica with rectangular scheme (sizes of the hall 17,9x12,85). Stands in ancient Ashan, fully-preserved. Is built from local trimed stone. On the tympanum of the entry remain separate fragments of the inscription;" In the memory of Ta... Dastants", "In the memory of Sahak aBrahamyan". Though the date of the construction is missing, it's a typical monument of XIXc. Karmir Avetaran (red Gospel). The chapel of this name is on the left side of the ravine, by village Ashana. In the past in the chapel there had been a Gospel, in the memorable record of which are described events connected with catholicos of Aghvank Nerses. Village hershen: Is situated by village foundations of dwellings and a small cemetery with gravestones. Ghuzarter settlement: Is situated in 3km towards west from Ashan, on the plateau. In the ruins, occupying a large territory was found a small khachkar. Separate parts of these ruins are revered as sacred by local inhabitants. One of them is called Stepanots. In the surrounding of the other- Karaart (stony field) remains part of the ancient cemetery. Here lately have been accidentally found numerous archeological objects: clay vessels, pieces of glazed ceramics and other interesting objects. Sacred place Pitsi (small) or Nalbandants. Is situated on top of mountain Pitsi, behind village Ashan, where are situated traces of ruins. Tsits kar (stuck stone). An ancient quite devastated village. About its existence evidences only the cemetery. Jnhaz: An ancient, destroyed village with destroyed churches and half-way hidden under ground gravestones. Nahataken tap (martyr's area). An ancient cemetery wtih gravestones without inscriptions. Surb Is situated in area Tsover, towards south from the village. In the place of destroyed ancient constructions have grown several huge trees. Replacing the once existed in here chapel trees are revered as sacred by local inhabitants. Here were brought sacrifices and performed ceremonies.

Bri Yeghtsi

Hatsi Church Surb Astvatsatsin

Monuments of Varanda valley Varanda valley is between Kirs and its spurs Mrkhatun and Khachmach. In north it borders with Karkar, in south-east with Amaras valley, and in south-west with Toghadzor. Through the valley flows river Varanda. In the ravines day and night purl hundreds of crystal clear springs. The curving roads and paths or go up and go down, or get lost in the woods. The mountain-slopes and hills, covered with forests, cliffs, rising to the blue skies, the intoxicating with its freshness air give the valley a unique attractiveness. Before the traveler opens a touching panorama- lost in luxuriant nature village roofs. The settlements are placed in places with favorable nature, with good conditions for agriculture and gardening. From these Armenian villages the largest and the most remarkable one is Avetaranots, which in late medieval period was the administrative center of Varanda’s princedom. Not far from Avetaranots, towards the direction of town Shushi is the famous station of Gharabaghian army Sghnakh, towards south is Karmiragyugh, or Drnavaz, and a little way, next to Shushk’s monastery is Khachmach. At the foot of the mountains and on slopes stretch villages Sarushenand Skhtorashen , Bilbilak and Pirumashen. Below Avetaranots is situated Madatshen- the native place of famous military leader of Russian army of XIXc, Armenian by nationality V.Madatov. Next to it is Tughnakal and villages Verin (top) and Nerkin (bottom) Sznek. Then come Sargisashen and Karabulagh. In the forest, towards south-west from desert Ghevondats is situated village Shekher, and in the ravine, in both banks of river Varands are situated villages Karmir Shuka (from Arm. Karmir-red, shuka-market), Verin and Nerkin Taghavards, famous for their tombs of ancient epoch, medieval churches, monasteries and forts. In the valley are registered numerous monuments, which have not yet been examined by archeologists. Detailed description of each of them or even only the characteristic features is impossible within the limits of our sketch. That’s why we’ll only stop on some of them.


Ghevondants Anapat Desert Ghevondats (or Ghevondik) is situated on top of a mountain, placed between villages Sargisashen, Moshkhmahat, Zardarashen, Karabulagh and Avetaranots. From 4 sides the complex is surrounded with dense forest. The harmony of architecture and nature is even more outlined by the used in constructions stones of bluish-whitish tint. Historical sources give only stingy material about this ancient monument of Artsakh. But ,basing on results of performed in here observations of Khachkars on the territory of the desert, architectural details and also local inhabitants’ stories, it becomes clear that here once has existed a large and well-organized religious and educational center. According to the legend, which was partly reminded by Yervand Lalayan by records of Sargis Jalalyants “the relatives of saint priest Ghevond went around the whole Varanda, found his relics, buried them in this area and built the church”. Steh details of ancient buildings found in the desert by forms and ornament refer to early medieval period. The complex is supposed to have been destroyed during Arabic campaigns and again rebuilt in XIIIc. Then it was again devastated and rebuilt already during the princedom. Desert Ghavondants is an ensemble monument consisting of a church, a vestibule, belfry, a pitcher-shape well, two-story hotel, destroyed cells and a garden surrounded with a fence. The church is built from the local untrimmed stone. The praying-hall is a rectangular in scheme hall (sized 6,2 x 3,6m). the altar-level is higher than the hall’s floor by 80cm, on its both sides are bay-deepenings, there are no vestries. The praying-hall is lit by passages, placed in eastern and western walls. From inside the walls are plastered. The only low entry opens in west. In the church are put two khachkars, typical for XIIIc with half-obliterated inscriptions. from west to the church joins a rectangular vestibule (sizes 4,8 x 3,25m), which gets additional light through the window in southern wall. On side-walls by means of arches, leaning on pre-wall pylons are created 4 similar bays on each. The vestibule too is built from roughly-trimmed stone. The plaster has come off in some places. Inside there is a khachkar with ornaments of XII-XIIIcc. The tympanum and the corner stones of the entry have fallen out. The church of the complex as by its scheme, so by volume-space solution reminds the churches of monasteries Surb Hakob (Kolatak ) and Bri Yeghtsi (Hatsi). On the northern side of the entry of the church is carved “In the summer of 1107 (1775). This vestibule is in the memory of archbishop Zakaria, Hovsep and Melkon”. To the vestibule from west joins a square in scheme belfry (sizes 2x2m). Along its northern and southern walls there are stony benches. The casing of the door is built from trimmed stone. From the inscription on the tympanum it becomes clear that in 1900 the complex was rebuilt by Sevak Babayants. He covered the desert’s constructions with iron roof, plastered the walls, equipped the yard. By two sides of the belfry’s entry are put two ancient khachkars, the inscriptions of which have almost rubbed off. The hardly noticeable vestiges of two walls stretch from here towards west, where are placed two vaulted rooms. One of them is half-destroyed, the other is completely collapsed. Towards south-east from the church by north-west axis stretches the two-story hotel- one of the most interesting analogous constructions of XIXc. The first floor with vaulted cover is divided into two rooms with fire places and bays. The second floor, which had a smooth cover from logs, wide windows and a balcony is now ruined. On a small well-trimmed stone of the eastern façade is carved the following inscriptions “In the memory of deceased Gevorg-bek Arustamayan Melik Hovsepyan built this two-story house his daughter Ketekan Zhamharyan in 1896”. Inside the story fence of the desert remains the well, which has a pitcher-form. It’s depth is 8-10m, its width is 3,4m, roof’s diameter is 40cm. Its walls are built from stone and lime-mortar. On the complex’ territory have preserved tens of gravestones and the fruit gardens. This way it becomes clear that in V-VII and XIIIcc desert Ghevondants was equipped and was considered one of the pilgrimages of the area. That’s why in XVII-XVIIIcc in favorable political conditions desert Ghevondats was rebuilt though it is situated quite far from the villages- on top of an impregnable mountain.


Aghjkaberd Approximately in the middle of Aghadam- Martuni road, there where start the vine-gardens, the arrow of "Ghzghala" sign turns to south. After passing 2,5km through the gardens the road comes to a deserted- bare and conic small mountain, which according to national legend is Aghjkaberd. It is called Ghzdala. The village of the same name is situated towards south from the fort. Down from the village, towards the highway is Hingshenategh ancient place, where during planting grape-vines were found a potter's work-shop, a row of clay-pipes, many things from bronze and copper, including also plates, men's and women's ornaments, which are the best samples of art and very much resemble the similar things found in Dvin. Lately Ghzghala's pupils found the old water-cistern of the ancient place. The row of the pipes, as the traces of the cistern show, where stretching from the top part of the present church, from Tsovar called place to the top of Berdasar. In the fort was discovered a metal-melting. This well-preserved melting built from baked brick by its connecting pipes presents a productive complex. Clay and stony shoes also preserved in here. Near Aghjkaberd, in the surroundings of village Ashan meet ruined settlements, churches, grave-houses and other ancient places, which are not mentioned in the literature. Here are some of them; 1. Hershen village-territory is situated in front of village Shan in 1km distance. Here still presrve dwelling-places and the small grave-house with grave-stones. 2. Ghuzarter town-territory stretches 3km towards west from Ashan, on a plain. In the ancient place which occupies a large territory a small khachkar was found. In the surrounding there are ruins, which by the local people are perceived as sacred-places. 1. Stepanots 2. Karahart Part of the old cemetery has preserved. Lately in the ancient place were accidentally found numerous archeological objects, pieces of aromatic resin dishes, clay-pipes and other interesting samples. 3. Pitsi (small) sacred or Nlbandants- is situated in Pitsi called mountain behind village Ashan. Here are still seen traces of ruins. 4. Avetaran or Svegyants sacred -is situated in the western side of Ashan. 5. Mets Yeghitsi (church)- in unharmed condition is in the center of village Ashan. It was built from the local trimmed stone. 6. Vskakhach- in ruined condition is situated near Nor Ashan, on top of a hill. 7. Kyumeren (Sheds) or Ashan Berd (fort) 1km from Kyumer area, on top of the highest hill of the surroundings. 8. Tsets (Tsits) kar (stone) - old destroyed village-territory, about the existance of which evidences the grave-house. 9. Mets Nahatak (great martyr) -has fully-reserved, there are inscriptions on the walls. 10. Pitsi Nhatak- towards east from village Ghzghala. From the old settlement are left the grave-house, the ruins of the church. 11. Jnhaz- old destroyed settlement with ruined churches, garve-stones half-way buried in earth. 12. Ojakh- town-territory, is situated on the large plain of "Khaner" place with numerous sacred places, ruined and standing khackhars around it. 13. Nhataken Tap- old cemetery with standing grave-stones without inscriptions.


There are also historico- architectural and other kinds of noteworthy monuments in the region's following settlements and their surroundings.

3. Holy Virgin church in Moshkhmat village.

5. Holy Virgin church in Gharagulagh village. (administratively this village is situated in Askeran region). 6. Gharali village-territory with a large resting-place and a ruined church. 7. Alamants gomer with ruins of industrial and religious constructions. 8. Jaghatsner village-territory with Holy Virgin church.

12. Ghlen-khut fort-territory between Gish, Mushkapat and Tchartar villages, on top of a quite large mountain. Its southern and eastern sides are impregnable rocks, the other sides have been encircled with strong ramparts. Here still preserve the traces of ancient fort's stony thick walls, in some places also the remainders of worldly constructions. The fort is round-shaped; in its surrounding there are numerous constructions covered with aromatic resin, pieces of bricks and unfinished ceramic objects. A little down the church there are ancient caves, which were uncluded in the protective complex of the fort and present archeological interest. Another noteworthy collection in the Gishi secondary school's museum make the pitchers, baked dark-colored jars, ornamented jugs, porcelain dishes, different kinds of beads, dried seeds of grape, grains of wheat and millet discovered in the ancient places of Ghlen khut, Bbhaj, Kolin khut, Khotahat and Uzumi. They too eloquently evidence that in the past the inhabitants in here mostly busied themselves with viticulture and land-work. Today too they're the main economic branches in Gishi.

17. Tsarekh's ruined church iwth old khachkars on the mountain-ridge stretching towards north from village Nngi. Besides these, in the surroundings of this village were recorded traces of number of old grave-houses, half-destroyed churches, industrial constructions. 18. Yeghinjan church in the settlement of the same name. 19. Lusavorich church on mountain Tsarekh.

22. Matek (Matke) chapel between Mirushen and Kaghartsi villages, on the mountain of the same name, with grave -stones in its four sides.

24. Jarga marag (Amenaprkich) ruined chapel between Spitakashen and Amishjan villages, on top of a not high hill.


27. Kohak ruined chapel on the right side of the road taking from village Tchartar to Martuni, on a rising, 5km towards east from village Khnushinak. 28. Berdi Nahatak (fort's martyr) ruined church towards west from Gyune Tchartar, above Ukhtatsaghik church, on a high cliff. 29. Gyoka ruined church between Sargsashen and Taghavard villages, on the right bank of river Kyondalan.




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