AMBERD (Ամբերդ)

A steep and windy road brought us to a 10th-century fortress located on the slopes of Mount Aragats at 2,300 meters above sea level. Constructed on a ridge above the confluence of the little gorges of the Amberd and Arkashen streams, this majestic stone fortress (🎫1400 AMD) dates back to the 7th century, but its current buildings date from the 12th century. It commands a position above the farms and trade routes of the Ararat Plain. Amberd was invaded in the 1070s by the Seljuq Turks, who turned it into a military base. In 1197, a joint-army of Armenians and Georgians led by General Zakare Zakarian liberated the fortress. Under Zakarian control during the 12th and 13th centuries, the walls were structurally reinforced, and the castle and outer buildings were renovated. The noble Vacheh Vachutian purchased Amberd in 1215, making it a key defensive site in the region. Within a short period, the Mongols captured and destroyed the fortress in 1236. The site remained abandoned and untouched until the 20th century when reconstruction and archaeological excavations began. The chapel ruins, a 13th-century bathhouse, and a cistern stand downhill from the fortress.

Parking location – Amberd: 40.389841N 44.225647E (🚻)