Vardenis

Vardenis

Vardenis, town is located in the southeastern part of the Gegharkunik Region and considered to be one of the main cities of the region. It is located in the valley of the Masrik River, on the territory of the Masrik artesian basin at 2,006 meters, near the southeastern shores of Lake Sevan.

It is 170 kilometers east of the capital Yerevan, and 75 kilometers southeast of the provincial center Gavar.  It got a status of an urban settlement in 1995. Nowadays the population is 12,600.

The nowadays territory was also known as Vasakashen, Voskeshen. In 1969 it was renamed Vardenis which means the land of roses. It also was part of the Sotk canton of historic Syunik; the 9th province of Great Armenia.

According to traditional legends, the settlement was founded as Geghamabak by Gegham; the grandson of the legendary Hayk who is considered the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation.

Being situated on the Masrik plain and in the valley of Masrik river, the city borders Lake Sevan from the north, from the east  Zangezur mountains, and from the south-east Vardenis mountains.

According to historian Ghevond Alishan, prince Gaburn Vasak of Syunia dynasty founded the settlement of Vasakashen on the territory of  Vardenis during the 9th century, that survived until the 17th century. The fact that this city is one of the oldest cities in Armenia prove the tombs and the remains of ancient mausoleums and other 568 monuments.

One of the oldest and the most interesting monuments are the Makenats monastery, the basilica in Sotk, the chapels of Ayrk, Karchaghbyur, and many other chapels, the tombs of 3rd-1st millennia BC, the Cyclopean masonry, and the medieval khachkars (cross-stones). In the center part of the town is the Church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) which was built in 1905, where the famous Armenian historian Hovhannes Tsaretsi worked. In the surroundings of the church are numerous khachkars which date back to the 14th and the 17th centuries.

Saint George and Saint Astvatsatsin churches and other monuments are real examples of Armenian medieval architecture.The city makes a rare type of buckthorn wine which is a new innovation in Armenian’s winemaking history.

The area is rich with stones, mineral resources, metal, and non-metal resources. The gold mine of Sotk is active and there are numerous sorts of rock used in construction.