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Aragatsotn is a province in Greater Hayk (Ayrarat region). Now it’s a territory of Hoktembryan, Echmiadzin, Ashtarak, Talin and Nairi, the total area of which is 3,050 sq. km.

This territory was also called Votn Aragatso. Armenian capitals – Armavir and Vegharshapat – were situated there. The settlement Vardgesavan was founded in Aragatsotn and during the reign of Vargharshak I (117-140) it was renamed to Vagharshapat, which became the capital of Greater Hayk. In the Middle Ages the northern part of Aragatsotn was called Amberd province by the name of the fortress. In the 9th -11th centuries it was Pahlavuni’s estate. In 1386 Aragatsotn was attacked by the troops of Lenk Timur. In the 15th century the province endured the yoke of Karakayun and in 1502 it became the part of Safavid Iran. In 1639 Aragatsotn became the part of the Yerevan Khanate and by 1828 together with the regions of Eastern Armenia it had joined Russia.

Aragatsotn marz got its name from Aragatsotn province of Ayrarat region. The total area of marz is 27 sq. m., population is 141 thousand people, its administrative capital is Ashtarak. The main feature of geographical position of this marz is that it is located between the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, and Aragats, the highest mountain in the country.

Natural conditions can be various: the absolute height of the lowest point is 950 meters, and the highest one is 4090 meters. There are many natural, historical and architectural monuments in this marz. There are many destroyed and undestroyed medieval monuments throughout the territory of the marz. In the neighborhood of the administrative center of the marz, in Oshakan village there’s a grave of St. Mesrop Mashtots, a founder of Armenian writing. This grave became the holy shrine for Armenians from all over the world.

Oshakan village

In the heart of Oshakan there’s a hall church built by Katholikos George III in 1875-1879 that replaced the church built by Vachagan Amutani in 443. Under the church altar there’s a grave of Mesrop Mashtots (443), a square mausoleum with entrances from the north and south. The entrance from the north is closed and from the south there’s an entrance to the sacricity. In 1960 the interior of the church was covered with a fresco (Minasyan). In the eastern part a two-story bell tower (1884) overtops, which is the only one in Armenian architecture as by its location as well as by its cylinder shape. Entrance to the church is from the altar.


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