Ararat is one of the regions of Armenia. The regional center is the city Artashat. The territory is 2096km². The lowest point of the territory is near thechannel of the river Araks-801m. The highest one is the pick of the mountain Spitakavor in the north-east -3555,7m.
Only the 30% of its territory is valley. The big rivers of the region are Araks, Hrazdan, Azat, Vedi. Ararat region is one of the most economically developed regions in Armenia.
Ararat region has 4 towns:
- The name of the town Artashat is related with persian language. The primary name was Artashashat (it means happiness of Artashes/Artay). Then it’s renamed to Artashat.
- The town Ararat has got its name in 1947 from the name of Ararat Mountain which is only 7km afar from the town in Araratyan valley. The town was founded in 1939 and by now it has several denominations such as Devalu, Davali.
- Masis. Up to 1950 the town had the name Ulukhanli. It’s renamed to Masis by the decision of the Armenian SSR Supreme Soviet on September 19, 1950.
- There are many hypotheses about the origin of the name of Vedi. According to the first hypothesis the name of the town is of persian origin and means gorge. It has got a status of a city after the reform of 1995, before that it had a status of a township.
The sites of Ararat region:
Dvin (in Arabian-Dabil, in greek- Dooviy) is one of the capitals of the historical Armenia. It was founded in the first half of the 4th century. In 330-338 the king of Greater Armenia was the son of Trdat the Great Khosrov II Kotak. One of the construction works of the first years of his ruling is the foundation of the city of Dvin (in 30-s of the IV century). Dvin had micro geography (internal structure) special to a medieval town. In the center of the city on the hill with 30-35m height is the citadel with towered walls. The wall had 16m width and a height of 6-7 floor building. On the upper platform of the citadel had been the palace of the kings of Arshakuni, whereafter their downfall used to live the governors of the region and policemen. On the low platform of the citadel had been living palace high officials. The Holy Cathedral of St. Grigor had been the biggest in sizes (with 30,41m x 58,17m plan) armenian church. It had been built in the III century as a three-nave pagan cathedral, but in the IV century it changed to cristian. The vaulted hall had benn added in the middle of the V century. In the beginning of the VII century the cathedral was reconstructed like crosswise cupola cathedrals. The altar abside was ornamented with a mosaic made from colored glass and tufa in the VII century, depicting the Mother of God. It was the oldest mosaic icon of her in the territory of Armenia.
Khor Virap monastery- fortress
Khor Virap monastery- fortress (18th century) is located on a hill near the village Pokr Vedi of Ararat region. It used to be a famous place of pilgrimage tied with the name of Gregory the Illuminator. In the ancient times here had been the historical town Artashat and on the hills of Khor Virap had been the citadel. In the place of the current monastery-fortress had been the royal prison.
For the first time Kaqavaberd was mentioned by Hovhannes Draskhanakerts i (in the IX-X centuries) as an ancestral area of Bagratunies. In the XI century it moved to Pahlavunies, and then in the XII-XIII centuries it was under the domination of Proshians. According to Draskhanakertsi in 924 the arabian general Beshir attacked Geghi and was defeated by Gevorg Marzpetuni. For the last time Geghi was mentioned in 1224, when Ivane Zakaryan had been sheltered there after having been beaten during the battle near Garni. The fortress is steadfast by now and well maintained. It has been built on the top of a high mountain which is inaccessible from three sides. The fortress had also been mentioned as Geghi or Qeghi.
Vishapakarer (dragon stones)
In the mountains of Geghama on the north-eastern bank of Sevan lake on the slopes of Aragats and in other places has been found many ancient stone-monuments dedicated to the worship of the dragon known as Vishapakarer (dragon stones). There are retained two vishapakars near the monastery lake, the bigger of which is about 3,5m.