Surb Hovhannes church of Taghot
Taghot village is located in the Republic of Artsakh's Hadrut region and is currently occupied by Azerbaijan (Fig. 1). Historical sites and monuments abound in the village and its surroundings. Surb Hovhannes church is preserved on the village's northern outskirts and is fully intact (Fig. 2).
Fig. 1 The general view of the village from the north, 2013, photo by S. Danielyan.
Fig. 2 The church from the southwest, 2016, photo by S. Danielyan.
Taghot is one of the historically significant villages in Artsakh.The village's life became more active in the early 18th century when Khoja Ghazar and his fellow villagers relocated here from the Darpas village of Syunik (which was also known as Aghverts at the time).
Makar bishop Barkhudaryants writes in his description of the village, "Taghot is located in the southern part of the Dogh settlement, above the height on the right side of the brook flowing from the Mokhrenis valley. The residents migrated from the Darbas village of Syunik. The land is royal, and the local harvest is the same. The climate in the village is temperate, the quality of water is excellent. The average life expectancy is 85 years. Surb Hovhannes church is built of stone and mortar. The church has three priests. Households- 70, male-256, female- 219" (Barkhutaryants 1895, 73).
Surb Hovhannes Church's construction date is unknown; it is most likely a building from the early nineteenth century. Since 1841, the church has been mentioned in written sources.
It is a vaulted single-nave hall with a rectangular architectural plan (measurements 13,9x8 meters), built with unpolished lime mortar and sandstone from the local area (Figs. 3, 4). Only the corner and arch stones have been polished. The southern and northern walls support the gable roof.
The only entrance is from the south. It is illuminated by three windows from the east and one from each of the other facades. During the Soviet era, the southern window was demolished and enlarged (Fig. 5). The semicircular tabernacle faces east, and the two sacristies run parallel to it. The baptismal font has been preserved inside, in a niche in the northern wall near the sacristy.
Fig. 3 The interior of the church facing east. The photo is provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of the Republic of Artsakh.
Fig. 4 The interior of the church facing west. The photo is provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of the Republic of Artsakh.
Fig. 5 The southern facade of the church. The photo is provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of the Republic of Artsakh.
A Quatrain donative inscription has been preserved on the south facade of the church, above the entrance, directly under the cornice (Fig. 6). The inscription says, "This Shurjar (Armenian chasbule, religious attire) was gifted to the Surb Hovhannes church in 1896 by the Taghot villager Hovakim Andonean Karapeteants."
Several tombstones have been preserved beneath the church's southern wall, two of which have inscriptions (fig. 7). The inscriptions are the following:
"This is a tombstone from the year 1731 for Eghiazar's son, Hakhnazar."
"This is a tombstone from the year 1741 for Meliqset's son, Friar Qaspar" (Abrahamyan, 2021, 61, 62).
A fragmented but complete, beautifully sculpted khachkar has been preserved on the church's eastern side, resting on the main wall.
Fig. 6 The donative inscription, photo is provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of the Republic of Artsakh.
Fig. 7 Tombstones attached to the southern wall, 2013, photo by S. Danielyan.
The condition before, during and after the war
The church was not functional, and the roof tiles had not been preserved. As a result, trees and vegetation grew on the roof. Although the church was completely intact prior to and during the 2020 war, no information is available about its post-war condition.
- Barkhutariants 1895 - Barkhutariants M., Artsakh, Baku.
- Abrahamyan 2021 - Abrahamyan E., Historical Monuments of Taghot Village, Vardzq, No. 15.
Surb Hovhannes church of Taghot