Maralik

Maralik

Maralik is located in Shirak region on the western slope of Aragats Mountain and Shirak valley at a height of 1,720 meters above sea level. It is at a 24 km road distance of the administrative center Gyumri. The capital Yerevan is  98 km southeast of Maralik. It has a humid continental climate with mild and cool summers and extremely cold, snowy winters.

The city was named after Maralik Mountain; it means little deer. According to legend, every year on the feast of Saint Stephen, a mountain deer was approaching the Saint Stephen Monastery of the town to be sacrificed. The villagers caught the deer and sacrificed it in honor of Saint Stephen. Once a hunter killed the deer with his rifle. Since then, the locals never have seen deer in the area.

Maralik has been part of the Shirak canton of the ancient Ayrarat province of Great Armenia. The area of the city was ruled by the Kamsarakan Armenian noble family during the reign of the Arsacid dynasty (52-428 AD) and later under Sasanid Persia (428-651).

The city was granted to the Bagratunyats dynasty, who founded of Armenia later in 885. According to inscriptions found among the remains of medieval Armenian churches and khachkars of the 9th and 11th centuries; many religious and educational complexes were built in the area under the rule of the Bagratunyats Kingdom. So it means that present area of Maralik was an ancient residence; which proves many historical samples such as khachkars that date back to the 11th and 12th century.

The village was renamed Kaputan in October 1927. In 1931, it became the center of the newly formed Ani raion. On 26 July 1935, the village of Kaputan renamed Maralik. In 1962, the city has got the status of a town.

The village is home to a cyclopean fortress and a settlement, both dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. The Saints Paul and Peter Church, and the Church of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr (both well-preserved from the 19th century) are also situated in the town. The medieval chapel of Ghushi is located 4.5 km southeast of the city.

The church of the Holy Mother of God (Red Monastery) rebuilt in 1903 on the basis of a 5th-century church which is situated at the southwest of Maralik. In the area of the city are many khachkars from the early and late medieval periods. At the central square of the villages is a bronze statue of Soghomon Tehlirian who was brave Armenian soldier and honorable member of  Operation of Nemesis.

There is an ancient church called Saint Astvatsatsin; it has a particular appearance and considered to be one of the great examples of Armenian architecture.  In the southeastern part of the town, there is a little church called  "Saint Poghos-Petros". It has a khachkar the decorations of which are typical of the 8th century.

The locals of the village are involved in agriculture. Being surrounded by fertile lands main crops are grains. Though the city is still recovering from the damages of the earthquake, the locals are sure that one day their city will become more and more beautiful.