Known And Unknown Tavush

Tavush Region

Tavush is the most beautiful, and most forested region of Armenia. It is 2,704 square meters. The lowest point of the village, Debedavan, is 379 m above sea level, and the highest point is Mount Murghuz, 2993 m. The population of the region is 132,000. The regional center is the city of Ijevan.

The climate is temperate, with moderately warm summers and mild winters. Tavush region borders with Georgia and AzerbaIjevan. The Tavush forest zone occupies about 40% of the area (about 30% of the RA forest fund). The main tree species are beech, oak, hornbeam, linden, ash, maple, birch, juniper, walnut, forest berry plants there, wild pear, apple, plum, etc. The flora and fauna of the region is very diverse, but, unfortunately, some of species are registered in the RA Red Book. To protect nature, protected areas have been created in the region: “Dilijan” National Park, sanctuaries, and Ijevan and Berd dendroparks.

There are 2 branches of state universities in Tavush: Ijevan State University, Ijevan, and Dilijan branches of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts. Dilijan International School of Armenia has been operating since 2014, and since 2013, the Dilijan central school of “Ayb” schools. Tumo creative technology centers have been opened in Dilijan and Berd (another one is planned to be open in Koghb).

The region is rich in mineral healing waters․ There is a mineral water factory in Dilijan. The mineral waters of Aknaghbyur, Vazashen, Voskepar, Bldan are also well known. Carpets, embroidery, woodwork, stonework, and winemaking are developed in Tavush. Among the industrial branches, the food industry, stone processing and wood processing are more developed in the region.

Tavush exports wine, mineral water, stone and wood products. Tavush region is rich in ancient historical and cultural buildings, handmade and natural monuments, forested mountains, caves, fast flowing rivers, lakes. The most beautiful of the latter is the Clear Lake, surrounded by a dense forest. The trees are so close to the lake that they are reflected in its clear waters, “painting” it with all the colors of the seasons – green, yellow-red, white.

The “Dilijan” National Park is the biggest wonder of Tavush, which occupies 33,765 hectares, and is located in the basin of Aghst-Getik rivers, at an altitude of 1070-2900 meters above sea level. This green beauty is distinguished by rich flora and fauna. Its area includes both historical and natural monuments, rivers, lakes, caves, recreation areas.

Yenoqavan

In 7 kilometers from Ijevan is Armenia’s Yell Extreme Amusement Park which operates on the 7-hectare area of ​​Yenokavan village.

Visitors to Yell Extreme Park can go horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, zippering, paragliding, and admiring the magnificent nature of Tavush from the height of a bird’s flight. The initiative started in 2003 and is planned to be completed in 2025. Every year the park receives adventure tourists from different countries.

Known and unknown Tavush

The settlements and nature in all Armenia, as well as in Tavush region are decorated with numerous monastic complexes, chapels, khachkars, which are harmoniously assimilated into the environment where they were built.

The construction of monastic complexes in high mountains, deep gorges or forests far from settlements had two reasons. First, the path to the house of God had to be inaccessible to the believer; and second, the monastic complexes had to be protected from the enemies, since it was the place where the creative thought was – knowledge that should be protected and passed to the next generations. In the developed Middle Ages, monastic complexes were large centers of thought, culture and education, where both spiritual and secular sciences developed. Haghartsin, Goshavank, Makaravank, Kirants Monastery, Jukhtak Monastery, Deghdznut Monastery, Matosavank and Dozens of other churches and chapels in Tavush are eloquent witnesses of Armenia’s history and culture, standing or destroyed. The educational and cultural centers of Tavush had their teachers, who were the most educated people of the time, great scientists: Mkhitar Gosh, monk, Khachatur Taronatsi, Kirakos Gandzaketsi, Vardan Arceltsi.

Haghartsin

The Haghartsin Monastery Complex (10-13th centuries), the spiritual and cultural-scientific center of Armenia, in addition to being a spiritual and cultural sanctuary, has become a “spiritual and resting place” since 2019 with its “Live like a monk” initiative. This laid the foundation for spiritual and cognitive tourism in Armenia.

Haghartsin “Vanatun” guest house is designed for spiritual dedication and rest, here you can live a monastic life for a week, eat monastic food and participate in monastic life. And most importantly, the atmosphere nurtured by Haghartsin’s centuries-old prayers takes care of the guests of “Vanatan” for self-knowledge, temporary detachment from daily worries, separation, and self-purification.

Hovk

The khachkar area found in the forest 10 km away from Hovk village was a sanctuary for the villagers.

But they did not even imagine that they would witness a real miracle in the same area. In 2019, the locals decided to clean the area of ​​the sanctuary and accidentally found the 2nd preserved khachkar and 2 half-ruined medieval churches of 90 sq.m. under 2 m of soil. . The area used to be inhabited by foreigners, who, according to specialists, “hid” the “foreign” church for themselves. Meanwhile, you will not hide anything from God, and thanks to a revelation made in the dream of one of the locals, the monastery was freed from the layer of earth of many years.

Fortresses of Tavush Region

There are several dozen fortresses in Tavush region, destroyed or half-ruined, which were spared by the relentless hand of time and man. They were built both before our era and in the Middle Ages. On the one hand, the destructive human hand destroyed them, on the other hand, the grateful human memory has preserved their history or woven legends. Every hill or impregnable rock has its fortress: Aghjkaberd, Astghi Blur fortress, Berdavan fortress, Berdategh fortress, Buduri fortress, Tanik fortress, Tmbadir fortress, Kayan fortress, Koraberd, Mantashaberd, Norashen cyclopean fortress, St. Nahatak, etc.

Tavush Fortress:

Tavush Fortress is one of the major military-political centers of medieval Armenia. It is located on the bank of Tavush river, at the outskirt of Berd Town. The exact date of the foundation of the fortress is unknown․ It was first mentioned in historical sources in the 10th century. Tavush Fortress belonged to King Ashot Yerkat. Although the people often call it Tslik Amram Fortress, according to historians, Tavush Fortress never belonged to him. Tslik Amram was the manager here. According to the historian Hovhannes Draskhanakertsi, Tslik Amram rebelled and fought against Ashot Yerkat.

In the 14th century, the fortress was gradually weakened by the Mongol invasions, destroyed, and then abandoned, losing its former reputation and role. Tavush Fortress had a high citadel surrounded by impregnable rocks, and a lower fortress with a water system connected to permanent springs, the remains of which have been preserved. At the foot of the fortress 11th century They are the ruins of St. Astvatsatsin Church. Unfortunately, the fortress is one of the less studied structures, it has several historical layers that have yet to be discovered. According to historians, the excavations can provide many surprises, introduce the inhabitants of medieval Armenia, the inhabitants of the castle, the economic description of the period. As a result of the excavations carried out at different times, household items were found: masonry stones, pottery, and in the surrounding areas, mausoleums and settlements.

Girl Fortress (Aghjkaberd)

Aghjkaberd is a defensive structure, located about 15 km from Ijevan. The fortress on the top of the mountain is surrounded by forests and high cliffs. The natural defensive position of the fortress was fortified with barricades and fences, with a small guard post at the entrance.

Inside the Aghjkaberd there are ruined dwellings, two reservoirs with their water system, pipelines, and a church. The walls and buildings of the castle are made of bluish basalt. An interesting legend has been preserved about the castle, according to which the beautiful princess was pestered by many princes who were in love with her. Many even tried to seize the beautiful woman, who rejected everyone. And the princess builds this fortress to protect herself from everyone and settled here with her army. One of the admirers of the beauty, Prince Mantash, builds Mantashaberd in front of the princess fortress, from where he constantly attacked the princess’ fortress, but in vain․ The army of the beautiful princess always defeated him. After the last defeat, Prince Mantash asked for ceasefire. After that, they “communicated” with each other at a distance, with different signs, from the impregnable heights of their fortresses. According to another legend, Lenktemur learns that a beautiful girl lives in this fortress and sends soldiers to bring her to him. The three soldiers of the tyrant kidnap the girl; a shepherd sees this and start following them. On the way, when it gets dark, the soldiers fall asleep. The shepherd gets to them kills the soldiers and returns the girl to the castle. When Lenktemur finds out about this, he besieges the fortress with a help of a traitor old woman and cuts off the water of the fortress thus succeeding to defeat the inhabitants of the fortress. Seeing this, the girl throws herself down from the impregnable wall․ From that day on the people call the fortress The Girl’s Fortress – Aghjaberd.

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