The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Karashen (Dashushen)


Dashushen (also known as Karashen) village is situated in the Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh. It is located 23 km from Askeran and 6 km from Stepanakert. The village area is home to several notable landmarks, including the Surb Astvatsatsin Church, surrounded by tombstones, the Karin Jur spring (For further details refer to, and the Tadeos Bridge (, Surb Saribek sanctuary, etc. Dashushen village is currently under Azerbaijani military occupation.

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Historical overview

Makar Barkhudaryants provides information about Dashushen village in his work "Artsakh" (Barkhutareants 1895, 131). The author describes the village's location, amenities, and climate, highlighting that the village’s 40 local households are indigenous. He mentions the Surb Srabek pilgrimage site and observes that it attracts numerous pilgrims, primarily from Shushi. Barkhudaryants also makes note of the ruins of the Nerkin Shen and Soghomon Shen settlements, explaining that their residents relocated to Shushi in 1860 (Barkhudaryants 1895, 131). Information about Dashushen (Karashen) can also be gleaned from inscriptions that are still preserved on the church, springs, and tombstones in the area.

Barkhudaryants also makes a mention of Surb Astvatsatsin Church, noting that the church had one priest. During the Soviet period, Surb Astvatsatsin Church served as a house of culture and later as a warehouse. A two-story adjacent building was constructed on the western side. In the years of independence, the church's original purpose was reinstated, and it underwent restoration thanks to the contributions of benefactors.

Architectural-compositional examination

The Surb Astvatsatsin Church is situated in the village and has dimensions of 8 meters in width and 11 meters in length (1843, fig. 1). It is a single-nave hall with sacristies on both sides of the high altar. The baptismal font is located on the northern wall (Fig. 2). Constructed using local rough limestone, the entrance is situated on the southern side. The interior is vaulted, with the roof being supported by the structure's walls, the tabernacle arch, and the vaulted arch. Polished stones are used in the construction of the corner sections of the building, the entrance lintels, the tabernacle arch, and the arch that supports the vault (Fig. 3). The arches are designed in a stylized manner (Fig. 4). The structure originally had a tiled roof, which was later replaced with tin sheets during the Soviet period. As part of the restoration efforts, a four-column bell tower was added to the central portion of the roof of the building.

Fig. 1 The general view of Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Dashushen (Karashen), photo by A. Grigoryan.

Fig. 3 The church and the adjacent building before the renovation, photo is from the Informative Database of Monuments of the Republic of Artsakh.

Fig. 2 A section from the inner space of the church, photo by A. Grigoryan.

Fig. 4 The beginning and Transition of the Arch in the Main Apse, photo by A. Grigoryan.

The church features an inscription in two semicircular lines located on the edge of the lintel (Fig. 5). It reads: "By the will of God, I built this holy church of Surb Astvatsatsin in memory of myself, Tatos Arakelyan, and my parents, so that they may be remembered in my eternal prayers." The cross sculpture depicted in the central part of the lintel, along with a small cross in the upper part of the arch, and the sculptures in the lower part were scraped during the Soviet period. However, on both sides of the upper wing of the central cross, the construction date "1843" is still preserved.

In the southern courtyard of the church, on the right side of the entrance, there is a tomb with tombstones dating from the 19th and 20th centuries (Fig. 6).

Fig. 5 The Church's Inscribed Lintel, photo. A. Grigoryan.

Fig. 6 Tombstones in the churchyard, photo by A. Grigoryan.

The condition before, during, and after the war

The state of the church has remained unchanged after the 44-day war.


  1. Barkhutareants 1895 – Barkhutareants M., Artsakh, Aror, Baku.
  2. Artsakh Republic Monuments Information Database, Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Dashushen Village,Դաշուշեն
The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Karashen (Dashushen)
The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Karashen (Dashushen)
The Surb Astvatsatsin Church of Karashen (Dashushen)