Amberd, one of the once powerful fortresses of Armenia, is located 7 km north of Byurakan village. It is located at the junction of Amberd and Arkaen rivers, on a triangular cape.

Historical Overview

The remains of the Cyclopean buildings found in the area of ​​Amberd prove that there was a fortress here from early times. Taking into account the natural strength of the place, there was an Urartian fortified city here even in the Bronze Age. The current castle and some parts of the wall were already built by the Kamsara princely house in the 7th century. In the 8th century, the castle passed to the Bagratunis and became one of the important military strongholds of their kingdom, and already in the 10th century, it passed to the Pahlavunis. Two years after the fall of the Bagratuni kingdom of Ani in 1045, in 1047 Byzantine troops captured Amberd. In the 70s of the 11th century, Amberd was captured by the Seljuk-Turks and turned into a military base. At the end of the 12th century, the castle passed into the hands of the Vachutian princely house and became their seat of power. Amberd was finally destroyed during the Lenktemur raids at the end of the 14th century and was never rebuilt.

The structure of Amberd

The monument consists of a three-story palace, fortress walls, a bathhouse, a small chapel, a church, and underground passages. Thanks to the well-chosen location of the castle, it was impregnable from three sides, and strong ramparts served as additional protection.

The three-story castle, which occupies about 1500 square meters area, was located in the northeastern part of fortress. The floors of the castle were separated from each other by planks nailed to the logs. There are 5 rooms on each of the first two floors. Departments and rooms on the upper floor were intended for receptions. The numerous valuables found during the excavations suggest that the castle was richly decorated.

Next to the three-story castle is the bathhouse, which was probably built in the 10th-11th centuries. Water was brought to the bath using clay pipes, and hot water was brought from iron pipes from a distance of 4-5 m. Reservoirs have been preserved in the castle and in the middle of the fortress, where the waters of the melting snow and the springs in the valley were stored. The hypocaust system was used for heating the bath. St. Astvatsatsin Church is located at the tip of the triangular cape, which is also called Vahramashen. It was built in 1026 by Prince Vahram Pahlavun. It is a rectangular structure on the outside, with a cross central dome on the inside.

The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.

Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan