One of the four cities of the same name founded by order of Tigran the Great in 1 cc. BC. , Tigranakert of Artsakh, was first mentioned in the 7th century. The town is entirely built of local white limestone. Thanks to an artificially created terraces Tigranakert, stretches down the mountainside to the foot of it. It was surrounded by mighty strong walls and passages, punched in the rocks. A majestic white city, surrounded in green gardens, lasted until the 14th century. As expected, the excavations have revealed the details of cultural buildings of a large and strong city, heading a rich cultural life. Materials and structures found during excavations confirm that Tigranakert was a large city with a strict plan, built with the help of construction equipment. For the preservation of Armenian historical and cultural heritage of the early Middle Ages, in December 2008, according to the decision of the Government of the Artsakh, at the site of the ancient city of Tigranakert was established the State Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Excavations. In 2005 Tigranakert Expedition of the Institute of Ethnology and Archeology of Armenian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Doctor of Sciences Hamlet Petrosyan began excavations of the city and its surroundings. As a result, it was found that Tigranakert, following the example of the classical medieval cities had fortified quarter, cultural and handicraft centre or quarter, extensive agricultural suburb. When choosing the location of the future city, it was taken into account the proximity to the sources, which made it possible to solve the problem of water supply.
Fortified quarter is located above the springs at the foot of the mountain Vankasar. At the very top of the fortified quarter rises a citadel. The pipeline runs down. In the southern part of the valley, to the north of the springs, is the central area, the existence of which is confirmed by the remains of buildings, fragments of medieval pottery and glass.
The Late Medieval Fortress Next to the excavation site is the fortress of the late middle Ages. Rectangular fort, reinforced at the corners with tall towers, was built in the period of Persian rule. An archaeological museum was opened after Reconstruction, in 2010. It exhibits a collection of artifacts found during the excavations.
Vankasar. Not far from the ruins of Tigranakert, at an altitude of 290 m above sea level, is Vankasar. The dome of the church of the 5th century rises at the top of the hill. Vankasar church is a small cross-shaped structure with a dome in the centre. On the walls of the church you can find the Armenian letters, in the past there were khachkars.