Askeran province occupies the central part of the Artsakh Republi
Askeran province occupies the central part of the Artsakh Republic. In the northwest, Askeran borders with Azerbaijan. The relief of the territory of the region is diverse: in the southwest, it is more mountainous, and in the northwest, it is plain. The rivers Karkar, Patara and Kolatak run through this region.
Enthusiasts of history and archeology will surely be fascinated by the numerous preserved architectural monuments of different periods, starting from the 7th century BC. Therefore, by visiting Askeran, you can get familiarized not only with the history and culture of Artsakh but also with the history of ancient Armenia. To make your trip as enjoyable as possible, we advise you to visit the following places;
The Historical-Cultural Reserve of Tigranakert
In 2009, in the Askeran province, at the foot of Mount Vakasar, as a result of excavations, the city of Tigranakert, one of the four ancient Armenian cities of the same name, founded by Tigran II in the 1st century BC, was discovered. As a result of excavations, ruins with numerous ceramics of the 1st century BC were found, including cemeteries, a basilica built in Hellenistic technique, the remains of one of the oldest early Christian basilicas in the Caucasus, and much more. In 2008, Tigranakert was announced as a reserve. Exhibits found during excavations are presented here.
Mayraberd Fortress (in Armenian, Mother Fortress)
The fortress is situated in the southern outskirts of Askeran on both shores of the river. Karkar located in a wooded area, 17 km northeast of Stepanakert. The modern fortress was built on the ruins of its ancient one. In the Middle Ages, this place was a fortress and an Armenian village called Mayraberd. The towers of the fortress, built from small pebbles and crushed limestone, served as observation stations. Currently, the fortress is in good condition due to the restoration carried out in 2002.
In the village of Avetaranots there are three manor complexes built in the 18th century and used to belong to the meliks of the Shahnazaryans. In the southern part is the palace of Melik Bagi, consisting of several leading houses. In the western part of the village, the second palace adjoins a huge rock, and to the north of it is the palace of Melik Shakhnazar. The relative preservation of the complex will give you a lot of information about the lifestyle and life of the Karabakh nobles of that epoch.
Monastery of St. Gevorg
The monastery was founded in 1263 by the son of King Ashot Shahanshah. There is a unique ritual tradition: in the courtyard of the monastery, there is a tombstone with a hole perforated at the center, and according to the legend, having passed through it three times, you can be cured of diseases. Therefore, the monastery was most significant pilgrimage center in the Middle Ages.
The church is fascinating in that throughout the construction in its walls were immured ancient tombstones with unusual ornaments preserved here from a pre-Christian pagan temple. Near the church, there is a cemetery with tombstones dating back to the early Middle Ages and sparking a curiosity for the enthusiasts of history.
Astkhashen village ( in Armenian, "village of stars")
In Astkhashen village of Askeran province, petrified remains of ancient organisms were discovered - marine fossil animals in the form of stars. The study of the fossilized remains started in Astghashen in 2013 by the participants of the archaeological expedition of the Azokh cave (the Azokh cave is situated at the intersection of the migration routes of humans and animals moving during the Pleistocene through the Caucasus to Europe and Asia). As the Russian blogger remarks: "Asthashen is incredible! It is said that when it rains heavily in Astghashen, the stars are washed away from paradise to earth. Then these stars are instantly found on the earth by people, who make jewelry for their beloved women. This artistic plot is not entirely fiction. It has truthful grounds."
The medieval town of Karkar
Karkar is an ancient city of Artsakh province of Greater Armenia, which is mentioned both in Armenian and in Arab and Georgian primary sources. The ancient settlement was founded in the 8th-7th centuries BC on an anhydrous plateau, where a man-made canal of 1400 m in length was carried out. As a result of excavations in 2011-12 structures with cyclopean masonry of the Late Iron Age - 8th - 7th centuries BC were discovered, that is, the times of Urartu.
There is also a house-museum of the famous figure of the Armenian national liberation movement of the late19th and early 20th centuries Nikolay Duman, in the village of Tsakhkashat, monuments of the Patara River valley, a healing spring near the town of Aygestan.
By visiting these fascinating places in Askeran province, you will touch antiquity and will start to believe in miracles!