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Kachaghakaberd, as a structure, belongs to the 8th century. The fortress is located on the top of the mountain, between the villages of Ptsretik and Kolatak of the Republic of Artsakh. Due to its high location, Kachaghakaberd is visible from tens of kilometers, especially from the road leading from Stepanakert to Gandzasar.
There are two legends related to the origin of the name Kachagaberd. According to the first, the fortress got its name due to its highly dominant and inaccessible position, as it is accessible only to birds, magpies.
Locals also call Kachaghakaberd “Sghsghan”, because many cases were recorded when people, not reaching the wall, slipped from the top of the mountain.
There is also a second legend, according to which an invader lays siege to Kachaghakaberd. Seeing the impregnability of the castle, he decides to use cunning and not take the castle by assault, waiting until the inhabitants of the besieged castle surrender voluntarily.
Months later, the invader is convinced that the castle’s food supply has run out, but the besieged are by no means giving up. He was surprised by a strange phenomenon. There were many magpies in that area. That morning, however, there were more magpies than usual in the fortress. The invader sends some soldiers there, who reach the fortress with great difficulty. The magpies flee from their footsteps, and the corpses remain lying under the birds. The Armenians sheltered in the castle were starving, but they did not surrender.
Thus, the fortress remained in the memory of the people after the name of magpies and they called it Kachaghakaberd.
Kachaghakaberd was built from a rocky island and turned into a fortress during the Arab invasions. Until the 10th century, the fortress was called Khachen fortress, which is why the Khachen government got its name. In some historical sources, it is still admired under the name Khacheni Castle.
The power of Khachen was under Seljuk rule from the middle of the 11th century. And already in the 13th century, Kachaghakaberd passed to the Jalalyan family.
According to sources about the fortress, in 1246, at the beginning of the Mongol rule, Kachaghakaberd lost its historical role and significance.
Kachaghakaberd is surrounded by 50-60 m high flat vertical rocks on three sides: west, east and north. The entrance to the fortress is from the south side, but it is difficult to enter the, because the entrance has practically not been preserved. It is not possible to enter Kachaghakaberd without climbing.
In the old fortress, there were many secret passages, halls, shelters, fire pits for throwing stones. Two rock-hewn reservoirs have been preserved in the central part of Kachaghakaberd, which proves that water supply was given a special place in the fortress.
Kachaghakaberd is one of the outstanding objects of the historical and cultural heritage of Artsakh, which deserves special attention and recognition.
The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.
Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan