The Surb Saribek Spring of Karashen (Dashushen)


Karashen village is situated in the Askeran region of the Republic of Artsakh. It is located 23 kilometers from Askeran and 6 kilometers from Stepanakert. Within the village's territory, one can find notable landmarks, including the Surb Astvatsatsin Church ( and the old cemetery, the Karin Jur spring (, the Bridge of Tadeos(, and The Surb Saribek (Srabek) sanctuary (, the spring with the same name etc. The village is currently under the occupation of the Azerbaijani army.

Historical overview

Makar Barkhudaryants provides information about Dashushen village in his work "Artsakh" (Barkhutareants 1895, 130). 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 (Barkhutareants 1895, 130).

The Surb Saribek sanctuary in Dashushen encompasses the Surb Saribek spring, situated in the lower roadside section (Fig. 1). Barkhudaryants highlights that the spring water is widely recognized in conjunction with the sanctuary. Adjacent to the spring, there used to be several rooms, although they are currently absent (Barkhutareants 1895, 130).

In his work dedicated to Varanda, Lalayan repeatedly mentions the Surb Saribek shrine; however, does not refer to the spring of the same name. This absence is particularly notable in the section titled "Water Worship," where Lalayan discusses nearly all the sanctified springs in the region.

Information about Dashushen (Karashen) and the Surb Saribek spring is gleaned from the inscriptions found on the church, springs, and tombstones that have been preserved.

Fig. 1 The general view of the Surb Saribek spring, photo by A. Grigoryan.

Architectural-compositional examination

The Surb Saribek spring in Karashen (Dashushen) village is situated on the southern side of the corresponding sanctuary. Constructed with local limestone, the spring incorporates large, inscribed gravestones. It spans a length of 7 meters and a width of 84 cm. The spring features a single source and a lengthy nave, adorned with inscriptions related to its construction and repairs.

The initial inscription, identified as the primary inscription, was acknowledged by archaeologist Gagik Sargsyan. He conducted excavation and cleaning operations in the shrine area during June-July 2011 (Sargsyan 2015, 178). The inscription bears the date (1861) but lacks information regarding the name of the builder."It is a remembrance. Enjoy, pilgrims, and bestow mercy upon your humble servant, 1861" (Fig. 2). This inscription is engraved on an arched stone positioned in the upper section of the spring, on the right side. The upper border of the slab is inscribed with "(2001), which likely pertains to the renovation efforts carried out in that year. Notably, the arched slab with the inscription is positioned atop the tombstone of Ter Hovhannes, dated 1872, serving as a pedestal for this commemorative structure.

The subsequent inscription, also dated 1861, is situated on one of the substantial stones in the lower row of the front wall of the spring. The inscription consists of three lines: "This commemorates Hovhannes Tarumets, 1861." (Fig․ 3).

Fig. 2 The right angle of the spring, photo by A. Grigoryan.

Fig. 3 The three-line inscription of the Surb Saribek spring, photo by A. Grigoryan.

The additional inscription is positioned in the central section of the row featuring polished stones (Fig. 4). The inscription comprises two segments, with the primary section situated in the center of the slab. According to the inscription, the spring was constructed or underwent repairs on July 23, 1867, by Sapar from Shushi: "This memorializes Avetis, a resident of Shushi, son of Sapar Malunts and his wife Manushak, on July 23, 1867." On three sides of the edge of the same slab, there is an inscription confirming the spring's repair: "Repaired by his son Hambardzum Malintsov in 1915." The alteration of the surname from Malunts to Malintsov by Sapar's son Hambardzum is noteworthy.

The additional inscription on the spring is found on a repurposed tombstone and does not pertain to the spring itself (Fig. 5).

Within the village's vicinity, there are also springs named "Karin Jur," "Sorpen," "Chinchin," and "Karin tap" (Gahramanyan 2015, 41).

Fig. 4 The Nine-Line inscription of the spring, photo by A. Grigoryan.

Fig. 5 One of the reused tombstones, photo by A. Grigoryan.

The condition before, during, and after the war

The Surb Saribek Spring is among the five springs in Karashen, and its waters have been continuously utilized to this day. Despite the periods before and after the war, the spring has not undergone significant changes.

Bibliographic examination

In his study "Armenian Springs," S. Karapetyan presents not only the four-part inscription of the Karin Jur spring in Dashushen village but also includes the 9-line inscription of the Surb Saribek spring, without providing additional details (Karapetyan 2023, 68).


  1. Barkhutareants 1895 - Barkhutareants M., Artsakh, Aror, Baku.
  2. Lalayan 1897 - Lalayan E., Varanda, Ethnographic Journal, Book II, Tbilisi.
  3. Karapetyan 2023 - Karapetyan St., Armenian Springs, Yerevan.
  4. Ghahramanyan 2015 - Ghahramanyan H., Directory of socio-economic units of the administrative-territorial units of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Yerevan.
  5. Sargsyan 2015 - Sargsyan G., Excavation-cleaning works of "Surb Saribek" ancient site, Archaeological studies in Artsakh 2011-2012, Stepanakert.
  6. Informative database of Monuments of the Republic of Artsakh, Dashushen village, the spring of Surb Srabek,Դաշուշեն
  7. Informative database of Monuments of the Republic of Artsakh, Dashushen village, the spring of Surb Srabek,Դաշուշեն
The Surb Saribek Spring of Karashen (Dashushen)
The Surb Saribek Spring of Karashen (Dashushen)
The Surb Saribek Spring of Karashen (Dashushen)