THE HISTORICAL VILLAGE ON THE SLOPE OF ARARAT – AKORI

Akori was a village in Masyatsotn province of Airarat province, on the edge of Mets Masis valley. The wow is also called Akori Gorge, the latter is very beautiful seen from the Republic of Armenia, in the heart of Masis.
According to legend, the patriarch Noah planted a willow tree in Akori, hence the name Arkuri – Akori. The name of the village was mentioned for the first time by Ghazar Parpetsi, in connection with the Armenian-Persian war of 481-484.
In the Middle Ages, Akori was a large town, the center of the episcopal diocese of Khor Virap, later, according to the testimony of Zakaria Kanakertsi, it was the residence of a foreign ruler.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE HISTORICAL VILLAGE AKORI

Catholicos Anastas I of Akori (661-667) built a church in Akori, which was a small domed structure with two separate standing gables, two vestibules on the east side and triangular niches on the front. The architectural details relate to the generalized forms of the 7th century. This church was destroyed along with the village. The plan of the church is very similar to the Catholic church of Ani, only the depositors are square instead of being cuboidal on the eastern side, from the columns remaining from the exterior (or maybe the interior) it can be seen that it is very similar to the exterior masonry pillars of Zvartnots with its pillars.

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Catholicos Anastas I Akoretsi

ST. HAKOB MONASTERY

St. Hakob’s Monastery is located near Akori, at the northeastern foot of Mets Masis. It is consisted of a small cross-domed church and congregants’ residences.
The monastery was founded in 341 by Hakob Mtsbnatsi, the second bishop of Mtsbin. It was built in Masyatsotn province, Airarat Province of the Armenian Kingdom.

It is said that there were wooden relics of Noah’s Ark in the monastery. As a result of the powerful earthquake of July 2, 1840 St. Hakob Monastery, Arakelots Monastery located in the neighboring village of Akori, and the whole village were distroyed. The village of Nor Akori, not far from the destroyed Akori, had about 50 houses, a church and a Russian fortress-like guardhouse at the end of the 19th century.

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St. Hakob Monastery, Akori

THE LEGEND ABOUT ST. HAKOB

According to the legend, St. Hakob tried to climb the top of Ararat many times to find Noah’s ark, which was buried under a thick layer of ice. He would climb the mountain, sleep and wake up at the foot of the mountain from where he started climbing. After several unsuccessful attempts, God tells him in a dream: “Don’t try to find the Ark again. I will give you a piece of the wood from which the Ark was built.’ When he wakes up, to his surprise, he finds a piece of wood next to him. After this incident he decides to build a monastery where he found the wood.

THE DESTRUCTIVE EARTHQUAKE OF AKOR VILLAGE

On July 2, 1840, the village was buried under a thick layer of rocks as a result of the earthquake that occurred in the region of Mets Masis.
Before the disaster, the village had 2,200 inhabitants, 1,600 of whom were Armenians. The residents were mainly engaged in gardening.
There were two schools in Akori. While climbing Ararat, travelers Frédéric Dubois de Montperreau, Boulay le Gouse, Friedrich Parrot were in the village. Geologist Herman Abich visited Akori in 1844 to study the causes of the earthquake.

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The first ascenders of Mount Ararat: Friedrich Parrot and Khachatur Abovyan

HOW WE VISITED AKOR VILLAGE AFTER SO MANY YEARS

We carried out the 4th consecutive ascent of Mount Ararat in 2023 with the filming group. The group was filming a documentary film about Noah’s Ark and the hypothesis that it landed on Mount Ararat. Most of the group reached the top, but I had to take one of the participants back down from the height of 4600m for safety reasons. It was a difficult ascent, bad weather, tired nerves and muscles. Of course, after the safe ascent and descent of Mount Ararat my work with my group was finished, but theirs still had to continue and go all the way to Akori. I was not left out either, we descended from Ararat, rested and the very next day we left for historical Akori.

The road passing by the old St. Hakob’s Monastery was unfortunately closed to all types of vehicles due to renovation works, and on the other hand, it was not allowed to go around and reach the monastery due to the closed border zone. We had to go to the new village of Akori, which is located directly below the Akori gorge, by a different road, and instead of 60 km, we cut a 120 km road.

To be sure, it was an extremely incomprehensible and inexplicable feeling to see the wow in the heart of Ararat from such a close distance. My heart was pounding, I admired for a long time only from afar, and we didn’t try to get closer this time, but I promised to get closer in the near future.

It was impressive to see the old cemetery of the village of Akori, which is the only, more than eloquent ancestor of the village, which is still standing after the devastating earthquake, against the backdrop of the huge Ararat glacier and valley. I have never seen such eloquent beings as Khachkars in my life. Some are bent over, some are lying down, but all the same, so eloquent.

You can see the photos I took there below, I hope they convey some of the impression.

AKORI VILLAGE NOW

The village of Akori is now called Agri or Arguri, but at one time it was called Gharakilisa. In 1840 it was destroyed by an earthquake and turned into ruins. It was later rebuilt and is now a small Kurdish village called Yenidogan. Kurds who live here have always seen only Armenia in front of their eyes like in the palm of their hand. To say that Armenia looks beautiful from Ararat would be a lie. But I am only happy for that, let our most beautiful corners be inaccessible and invisible from this side. And instead, we all know that the most beautiful view of Mount Ararat opens from Armenia itself.

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

Author: Gohar Sargsyan

 

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