Aparan is located in the Aragatsotn region. It is 32 km north of the administrative centre Ashtarak and about 50 kilometres northwest of the capital Yerevan. The town is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Aragats and the northern slopes of Mount Ara, on the shores of Kasagh River, and is 1880 meters above sea level. It has an Alpine climate with snowy winters and mild humid summers.
The name of the city is derived from the Armenian word "Aparank" which means a royal palace. According to a legend, the name comes from the lantern which hung down from the sky without a rope: "An”-without, “paran”-rope. Later the pronunciation changed and became Aparan. The former names of the city were Abaran, Bash Aparan, and Kasagh.
The city was first mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Ptolemy referred to the settlement as Casala which is the Hellenized version of the Armenian name of Kasagh. Historically it was the centre of Nig canton of the Ayrarat province of ancient Armenia. Kasagh was under the administration of the Gntunik noble family. By the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century, the Gntunik family founded the Basilica of Kasagh.
Between the 9th-10th centuries, the city was part of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. From the 10th century, the settlement of Kasagh became to be called Aparan. The new name originated from the village of Aparank located in the Moxoene province of the Kingdom of Armenia. Between 1914-1918, many Armenian refugees moved to Bash-Aparan from the Western Armenian cities of Van, Mush, Alashkert, and Karin. The majority of families were from the Eastern Armenian town of Khoy.
Every Armenian knows about the historic battle of the city. The locals are proud to tell the guests of the town about the heroic battle of Bash-Aparan in 1918 when the Armenian nation defeated Turkish soldiers who wanted to conquer Aparan. From there on the locals celebrate this day every year on May 28 with great importance. There is a beautiful memorial monument dedicated to the battle designed by architect Rafael Israelyan(1978). Near the monument, you can see the tomb of the great Armenian military commander Drastamat Kanayan. His remains were taken to Armenia for the final burial in Aparan in 2000.
The most famous place in Aparan is the Basilica church of St. Khach. A small piece of Jesus Christ’s cross is kept here, that is why people believe this church to have real power. This historical town has both ancient and modern buildings. In the Aparan museum, you will see samples of the famous battle of Bash Aparan, and other interesting things from the cultural life of the town.
The locals are famous for their generosity and hospitality. Gntunik food store is the most popular place in Aparan. Here you can taste fresh Armenian bread, different types of pies, and other traditional food.
Another interesting place in the town is the"Karandzav" restaurant, which is unique in the area as one of the halls is situated in the cave. Near the restaurant, there is a Love Bridge over a river. They say that couples who want to get married should drink the water flowing under the bridge to make their wish come true. This wonderful city welcomes everyone and gives you nice memories.