The First Church of Stunis
The historic village of Stunis is located 2 km south of Ghushchi village (Tandzut) in Kashatagh region (Lachin region) of the Artsakh Republic, on the left bank of the Stunis right tributary of the Aghavnaget River, on its south-eastern slope of gorge. Stunis was first mentioned among the tax-paying villages of Tatev Monastery, and in the 19th century the Kurds settled here, calling the village Sadinlar (Abrahamyan 1942, 42). The old church of Stunis is located about 800 meters north of the village, on the left bank of another tributary joining the Stunis tributary. It is probably a structure of the 9th-10th centuries (Karapetyan 2001, 135). There is no historical information about the church.
The church is a single-nave, vaulted building with a horseshoe-shaped altar, lacks any vestries (Fig. 1). It has two entrances, one from the south and one from the west (Fig. 2). It is built on a single-level wall base with raw and semi-finished stones, the corner parts of the walls are demolished (Figs. 3, 4). The dimensions of the church are 8.40X6.10 meters. The lintel of the southern entrance of the church is a polished, one-piece stone, but it lacks any inscriptions or ornaments (Karapetyan 2001, 135). Straightway above the lintel of the southern entrance, along the entire length of the wall, there are small rectangular holes, which suggests that there once used to be a structure attached to this wall. Above the holes, in the center of the wall, there is the only window of the southern wing of the church. The building has another window on the western wall with a primitive horseshoe-shaped window cornice (Fig. 5).
Fig. 2 The southern front of the church, photo by M. Khumaryan.
Fig. 4 The western facade of the church, photo by M. Khumaryan.
The condition before and after the war
The church has not been damaged during the Artsakh wars.
After the transfer of Kashatagh region under the Azerbaijani control in December 2020, changes and destruction in the area of the monument have not been documented so far.
Fig. 1 The church plan, Karapetyan S․, Armenian cultural monuments in the region of Karabakh, Yerevan, p. 136.
Fig. 3 The eastern facade of the church, photo by M. Khumaryan.
Fig. 5 The general view of the western facade of the church, window, photo by M. Khumaryan.
- Karapetyan S., Armenian cultural monuments in the region of Karabakh, Yerevan, 2001.
- Abrahamyan 1942 - Abrahamyan A., Chronology of Stepanos Orbelyan, Yerevan.