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Rambler's Top100

AMBERD
: Itineraries | : admin | 15.03.2007, 03:49

On the southern slope of mountain Aragats, above deep gorge of the rivers Arkashan and Amberd, a multi-storied Amberd fortress was erected. The triangular territory of the fortress from two sides was reliably protected by deep gorges, and from the third, northern side, by powerful walls of large basalt blocks re-enforced by semicircular towers. Water to the fortress was supplied by mountain springs and from the ring of dams that collected water from the thawed snow. In general the system of water supply in Amberd was arranged rather reliably. There were constructed also two water reservoirs in a case of a siege, and, besides that, there was an underground passage by which the inhabitants of the fortress when needed could have accessed Amberd river. Till now one can see stone sculptures of fishes - dragons (vishaps) traditionally marking sources of irrigation system.
For enemies the fortress was unapproachable. Walls were laid from roughly processed stone blocks and should have taken up impacts of throwing shells and battering rams. Their only ornaments were faience plates fixed under merlins of towers, whose shine, due to a legend, should have strike an evil eye.It is assumed, that Amberd fortress was build in the VII century during the reign of the Kamsarakans. Then it passed under the possession of glorious Armenian commander Vahram Pahlavuni after that it was bought by the governors of Armenia - Bagratunis who turned the fortress into the main advanced post of empire.
While inaccessible for enemies, the fortress warmly welcome guests with unexpected luxury of inside decorations. During the excavations they found bronze lightings, censers and mortars,fragments of faience utensils, toilet bottles of the painted Egyptian glass, expensive goblets and painted dishes. Among the inside constructions there was a bath section consisting of two rooms.
To warm the bathroom walls, there was a space under stone plates, where heated air from furnace could enter. A reservoir - a prototype of a stone bathtub, was installed in one of the bathrooms, which used hot and cold water supplied by two different pipes.
In the year of 1026, the Amberd church was built on the territory of the fortress. There is such a surprising equality of all proportions in its construction, that it is considered one of the most perfect creations of such type. The church building surrounded by severe mountain landscape, did not require fine ornaments. Construction is enlivened only with the frame of the southern door that is executed in large forms. Nevertheless, all construction looks very beautiful.
On the territory of the fortress one still can see the ruins of industrial and residential buildings and the chapel.
Despite the seeming impossibility to conquer it, the fortress was first taken by storm in the XI century by Seljukes, and then for the second time - by Tartar-Mongols in the XIII century, when they burnt everything that could be burnt and what couldn't be burnt was destroyed. Remnants of the constructions of this remarkable medieval complex got buried under the ground.
Neverthless, after many centuries demolished and abandoned fortress attracts everybody for its greatness and power.
Not far from the Amberd fortress , the settlement of Byurakan is located. There in the first half of the X century a church of St.John was constructed. The building has rectangular shape and two vestries. From the outside, the walls of the church are covered with smooth stones, whill from the inside it has rich with decorative ornaments and furnishing. Especially remarkable are the arches supporting the dome. The platbands of windows were covered with beautiful ornament.
Another church - Artavazdik is located in the suburbs of the settlement.
In the second half of XVII century Byurakan became a summer residence of the Armenian Katholicos.
At the archeological excavations on the territory of settlement, ancient burial places were discovered containing big amounts of weapons.
Nowadays, in Byurakan is located famous astrophysical observatory, founded by the renowned Armenian astrophysicist Victor Ambarzymian.

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