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Learn More about Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic): Martakert

Martakert region (one of the 8 regions of NKR) is in the north-eastern part of NKR. Martakert district was formed in 1991 based on the Nagorno-Karabakh region with the same name. It was liberated from the capture of Azerbaijani Armed Forces in late 1993 - early 1994.

Territory and Population

On the north Martakert region borders Shahumyan region, on the west to Karavachar sub-region, on the south to Askeran region, on south-east – Agdam and on the east to Barda. Azerbaijan controls parts of the territory of the region, including the large village of Maragha. The center of the region is the city of Martakert, located 62 kilometers north of Stepanakert. According to 2005 census, 18,963 people - mostly Armenians live in Martakert region.


The leading sectors of the economy of Martakert region are viticulture, horticulture. Industry is poorly developed. The wood processing factory Vank, the mining company and the company Drmbon "ERA" are operating in Martakert. Sarsang HPP, which is of strategic importance for Artsakh, is also in Martakert region.


There are about 1,100 Armenian monuments in Martakert. Among them Gandzasar Monastery (XIII century), the princely palace Khachen, Avaptuk Monastery (1163), the fortress Kachaghakaberd, Akobavank monastery (853) and others have historical value. Gandzasar is located on the left bank of the river Khachen, near the village of Vank in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. According to the Armenian national tradition, the monastery was named after the mountain, which locals called Gandzasar, because of the silver mines in it (in Armenian Gandza means treasure, Sar - Mountain).

Gandzasar was first mentioned in the history by the Armenian Catholicos Anania Mokatsi in the middle of the X century. Today’s temple of Gandzasar is built by Prince Hasan Jalal Dola on the place of the old temple, mentioned in the X century and consecrated on July 22, 1240.

Gandzasar served as the residence and tomb of the princely family of Hasan Dzhalalyanov, rulers of Khachen principality. In the XIV century it became the seat of the Aghvan Church of the Armenian Catholicosate. Today it is a monastery.

Besides the cathedral, in the territory of Gandzasar there are some monastic cells, library, refectory and Gandzasar Seminary building, which was expanded in 1898, as well as farm buildings, church shop with candles and souvenirs. It should be noted that as a result of the deliberate bombing of Azeri long-range artillery and military aviation during the Karabakh war in 1991-1994 the monastery was severely damaged. Currently, the monastery is wholly rebuilt.

On October 16, 2008 "big wedding" took place in Artsakh: of 687 couples 550 were married in Kazanchetsots Cathedral and the remaining 137 in the monastery of Gandzasar.

Kachaghakaberd was build in the 8th century. The fortress is situated at an altitude of over 1,700 meters, surrounded by cliffs about 50-60 meters high. Throughout its history the fortress has never been stormed. Parts of the walls and fortifications have been preserved. The fortress covers quite a large area, although it seems to be small. In its territory many buildings, secret passages carved in the rocks, special "loopholes" for throwing stones at the enemy are preserved.

Locals call the fortress also "sgsgan" (sliding), because there were many cases in the history, when people slipped from the top of the mountain, not being able to reach to the wall of Kachaghakaberd.

However, who does not risk, he cannot see the beauty of Artsakh! Kachaghakaberd, Gandzasar are one of the most beautiful corners of not only Martakert region, but also the South Caucasus in general. And one should see them with his own eyes!


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