St. Stepanօs Church of Hochants

Location The church is located in the center of Hochants village of Kashatagh region, at an altitude. Historical overview Hochants is one of the most famous villages of Kashatagh canton with a rich historical past. The first mention of the village as Hunchak is evidenced in the list of villages of Aghahetch canton compiled by St. Orbelyan (Orbelyan 1912, 372). The village is also mentioned at the beginning of the 17th century, when two bishops who had left the Tatev hermitage founded the Hochants hermitage in its vicinities (Davrizhetsi 1896, 260) and at the end of the 17th century, when the Armenians of Karbi village clashed with the nomadic Kurds at the very village (Zakaria 1870, 9). The first information about the church dates back to the late 19th century, when an abandoned church in the depopulated Armenian village was used by the Kurds as a fodder store (EM 1898, 50). Back in the 60s of the last century, a slab was preserved in the western wall of the church with the following inscription: “In the name of God, I – Hekaz, gave a quarter of our own oil mill, which was mine, as a waqf to Stepanos…” (CAI 5, 194). It becomes clear from the inscription that the church is called St. Stepanos. Architectural-compositional description There is no exact information about the time of construction of the church. Judging by its architectural type, it was probably built in the second half of the 17th century (Fig. 1). It is a single-nave, vaulted structure built of raw stones and lime mortar. It has a main altar, a sole entrance opened from the south, windows opened in four facades that widen inwardly and a baptismal font in the northern wall, several khachkars are embedded in the walls. The external dimensions are 13.40*8.15 meters. In the last decades of the Soviet Union, the church building served as a bakery for the village, for that purpose separate segments of the church were altered, other buildings were attached to it from the south and west (Karapetyan 2001, 164) (Fig. 2-3).

Mknatami Khach Monastery

Location The monastery is located in the middle of Tandzut and Moshatagh villages of Kashatagh region (Lachin region) of the Artsakh Republic, on the right-bank rocky hill of the Aghavnaget River (Fig. 1).   Historical overview There is no historical evidence about the monastery. According to the assumption of monument expert Samvel Karapetyan, the name of the monastery may be associated with the treatment of the disease mknatam (a fungal disease of the skin: ringworm) (Karapetyan 2001, 138). Architectural-compositional description The church is built of polished stones and has architectural and compositional features typical of the 12th-13th centuries. It is a single-nave vaulted building and resembles more a chapel rather than a church (Fig. 2). The only architectural decoration is the frame of the western entrance and the crown of the window (Fig. 3). The walls of the church lack any inscriptions. The roof is covered with semi-circular covering slabs.

St. Minas Church of Hak

Location The church is located in Hak (Minkend) village of Kashatagh region (Lachin region) of the Artsakh Republic. The village is located on the left bank of the Aghavnaget River, 1720-1800 meters above sea level (Karapetyan 1999, 128).   Historical overview The village is first mentioned by the 13th century historian Stepanos Orbelyan as a village located in the north-eastern part of historical Syunik – a village of Aghahetchk canton bordering on historical Artsakh, which was tributary to Tatev Monastery (Hakobyan, 1960, 209). It paid 15 units in taxes to the monastery (Orbelyan, 1910, 516). The folk etymology of the name Minkend (Turkish: literally a thousand villages) is linked to a legend, according to which it was the 1000th settlement destroyed during the invasion of Tamerlane (Ghanalanyan, 1969, 172). The village was inhabited by Armenians until the beginning of the 18th century, later it was depopulated of Armenians. Instead, Kurds settled here. Only in 1841 did the Armenian population again return to the village, when the Armenians who had moved from Khndzoresk village settled in the village thus living in a separate district. The Armenian population suffered significantly during the 1905 Armenian-Tatar clashes, and in 1918 the village was finally depopulated of Armenians. During the Soviet years, the population of the village presented Turkified Kurds (Karapetyan 2001, 129-130).   Architectural-compositional description St. Minas Church is located in the center of the village (Figs. 1, 2).


Location Amutegh is located on the namesake mountain (1315 m) in the southern part of the mountains of Artsakh, on the left bank of the Hakari River, north of Urekan village in Kashatagh region of the Artsakh Republic (presently Ghubatli region of the Republic of Azerbaijan) (Figs. 1, 2).

St. Poghos-Petros Church of Shalva

Location Shalva village is located in Kashatagh region of the Artsakh Republic, 53 km to the north from Berdzor, on the bank of the Shalva tributary of the Hakari River. St. Poghos-Petros Church dated to the 17th-18th cc. is located in the southern side of the village (Figs․ 1, 2).

Kavakavank Monastery

Location The monastery is located in Hadrut region, in the valley of the Ishkhanaget River, left to the road leading from Togh to Varanda (Fizuli), on a hill separated from the plain. It is located near the villages of Jrakus, Hogher and Kyuratagh. Historical overview There are no accurate records preserved in historical literature on the foundation and activities of the monastery. The fact that there used to be a monastic complex is evidenced by the remains of the foundations of the surrounding walls, cells of the congregation, pilgrim rooms still preserved on the hill. The present church (Figs․ 1, 2, 3) is the only structure left standing from the former monastic complex, which was rebuilt in 1742 by the order of Melik Yegan of Dizak and his father – Archimandrite Ghukas, and the residents of the surrounding Gyumush, Chima and Hogher villages (Mkrtchyan 1985, 112).

Kataro Monastery

Location Kataro Monastery (Fig. 1) is the highest-situated monument of the Artsakh Republic. It is located in the northwestern part of Hadrut region, on the peak of Dizapayt mountain, at an altitude of 2478 meters (Fig. 2).  

Karmir Vank (Red Monastery)

Location Medieval Armenian writing centres – Mos and Apahen settlements of Tsar canton of Artsakh province of historical Armenia Major which are mentioned in ancient manuscripts and epigraphs, were located in the intermountain trough of the Mos tributary of the Dutkhu stream of the Trtu River. A small-sized church called Karmir Vank is still partially standing on a separated hill on the right bank of the Mos River, between Apahen (Abdullaushagh) and Mos (Mozkend), in the territory of Fatalilar rural area.

The Church of Varazgom

Location The church of Varazgom is located in Kashatagh region (Lachin region) of the Artsakh Republic, between Merik and Ghushchi villages, on the left side of the Aghavnaget River.   No bibliographic data have been preserved on the church, it lacks any epigraphs.  The church is in an emergency state, the spire of the drum and the southern wall have collapsed, there are cracks (Figs. 1, 2).  

Spitak Khach (White Cross) Monastery

Location Spitak Khach Monastery is located on a hill in the village of Vank, directly northwest of Hadrut city in the Artsakh Republic.     History The name of Spitak Khach monastery is related to a legend, according to which after the martyrdom of St. Gregoris, his patriarchal staff and the pectoral crystal cross were originally kept in Amaras, where his remains were buried. After the desolation of Amaras, these relics were moved to Gtchavank, and the crystal white cross to the monastery near Hadrut, from which it gained its name of Spitak Khach (White Cross). Sargis Jalalyants, who visited here in the middle of the 19th century, writes in his travel notes that the cross “was visited by numerous pilgrims to sacrifice rams and calves. ․․․In honor of this cross, a church was built here, it was turned into an episcopal see and an independent diocese was allocated. Here I saw the kontakions of four catholicoses for the establishment of this see, namely Hovhan, Yesayi, Nerses and Simeon, [which were given] to the descendants of priest Srapion, who from the generation to generation were and are now the overseers of this church and cross. The elders tell that due to carelessness, it happened that the handkerchiefs with which the cross was kept wrapped were burned, with which also the cross, but the cross was not damaged in any way, only a small crack appeared inside, after which the cross was silver-plated and carefully kept (Jalalyants 1858, 263). The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is not known, the oldest of the preserved inscriptions, engraved inside the church, under the khachkar of the northern arch, is dated to 1333: “I – Sirok, erected this cross for my father Khutlap in the year of 1333” (Barkhutaryants 1895, 68). Further inscriptions testify to the renovations of the church.  

St. Stepanos, Togh

Location St. Stepanos Church is located in the south-western part of Togh village in Hadrut region of the Artsakh Republic, near the old cemetery (Fig. 1).  

Holy All Savior Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi

Location Holy All Savior Ghazanchetsots Church of Shushi is located in the central part of the city, 1378 m above the Karkar valley. Thanks to its elevated location, it dominates the entire plateau (Figs. 1, 2).


Location Tsitsernavank is located on the northwestern edge of the namesake village in Kashatagh region of the Artsakh Republic (presently the Lachin region of Azerbaijan), in the historical Aghahejk canton of Syunik (Figs. 1, 2).  

St. Grigor and St. Sargis churches of Tsar

Location Tsar village is located in the upper reaches of the Trtu River, at an altitude of 2030-2050 m above sea level on an extensive mountain plateau and is surrounded by deep gorges (Fig. 1). St. Grigor and St. Sargis churches of Tsar are located in the namesake village in Nor Shahumyan region (Karvachar region) of the Artsakh Republic and are currently occupied by Azerbaijan. Historical overview In the Middle Ages, Tsar was a center of princely seat, the seat of the namesake princely house. The role of this princely house increased from the end of the 12th century, when Prince Hasan I Tsaretsi married Dop – the sister of Zakare and Ivane Zakaryans. Becoming in-laws with the Zakaryans and with their support, the Tsar princely branch ruled over the entire Verin Khachen. Dadivank also passes to the residents of Tsar (Petrosyan, 2009, 11-14). In the 18th century, the extensive village was deserted, depopulated of Armenians, and Kurds from the Parakhkanli tribe settled here. Tsar starts to be called Zar. During Soviet years Tukish speaking Kurds lived here. Until the 1940-1950s there used to exist four churches in Tsar, a large cemetery with khachkars, and two monasteries near the village. The main church was located in the village centre almost adjacent to the presently standing Saint Sargis church. In the 1950-1960s the majority of Armenian monuments was deliberately destroyed, the stones were reused in various buildings (Fig. 2).