Area: 2,086 km2
Kotayk is the only province in Armenia that has no borders with foreign countries. Its capital is Hrazdan and the largest city is Abovyan. It is named after the Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia. The territory is crossed by the Hrazdan carrying its waters in deep gorges and canyons. The river gave the name to the area's main city "Hrazdan". As for the name itself, its origin goes back to the times of Kot, the Patriarch of Armenian Apostolic Church. In antiquity, the marz of Kotayk was a part of Ayrarat region of Great Armenia.
Nowhere else in Armenia is there such a variety of places of interest than in Kotayk. Kotayk is considered the best place of rest, tourism, and sports in Armenia. Since the old times, Tsaghkadzor has been attractive both as a settlement and a resort. The “Gorge of Flowers” was first inhabited in the 3rd - 5th centuries. In the early medieval it was used as a hunting ground for the Armenian Arshakuni Kings.
In the 4th century, the valley passed to the reign of the Armenian influential Kamsarakan dynasty. In 1033 the follower of the Kamsarakan dynasty and the leader of the Pahlavuni dynasty Gregory the Magister ordered to built a church in Tsaghkadzor which was named after St. Gregory the Illuminator. And so was founded Kecharis monastery complex – the true treasure of the valley.
The monastery complex of Kecharis (XI-XIII) was one of the prominent cultural and religious centers of medieval Armenia. Eminent scientists and politicians of all times, such as Gregory the Magister, Vasak Khaghbakyan, Khachatour Kecharetsi, and others lived and worked in Kecharis. The complex consists of 4 churches, 2 chapels, and a vestry.
According to the legend, a big fortress with a splendid flower garden was built in this beautiful basin by the wish of a noble girl from the Pahlavunyats dynasty. The girl demanded that the most gracious flowers of Armenian world grow in her garden. And her wish came true. But one day a furious spring wind destroyed her garden and scattered the flowers all over the gorge. The basin filled with flowers and the gorge received the name of Tsakhkadzor (Gorge of Flowers). Then the noble girl asked her father to build a monastery near that fortress for the priests to pray day and night and bring the dispersed flowers back. And so the monastery of Kecharis was built.
The climate of Tsakhkadzor is special. Winters are mild and sunny (average temperature in July is +18 С, in January – 6 С). The footpaths running through the woods lead to flower-grown clearings and cold springs such as well-known Ardzhakhpyur and Ttudzhur “Acid Water” and Mount Tegenis. There you will find all necessary conditions for rest and sports: the big sports complex with swimming pools (including the 50-meter indoor swimming pool), the indoor stadium for track and field athletics.
According to calculations of 2011, in the region live 254 397 people. 98.08% of them are Armenians, 1.26 % are Yazidis. Russians, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, Ukrainians also live on the territory of the region
Hrazdan is the capital city of Kotayk Region. The Hrazdan River crosses the city. Hrazdan is considered to be the main industrial center of Armenia. The people of Hrazdan came here from different places such as Sasun, Mush Kars Artsakh, Baku, and other places. In fact, everyone brought their own habits and traditions, creating the image of little Armenia.
They say that before the building the city in that area was swamped. Nowadays at the center of the city are buildings, different companies, shops, parks, and cafés. Near the center, there is "the old Hrazdan"; which is not beautiful as the center but is still interesting to visit. There is a big and lovely park of fir-trees in Akhta Aghbyurak’s district. You can find many special benches in the park where you can sit, breathe fresh air and enjoy the view.
There are few monuments that are dedicated to the victims of the Second World War. At the end of the park, there is a big solar clock with the constellation signs. Near old Hrazdan Street, you will see the National Theatre of Hrazdan; which is a beautiful place to visit. In the same area, you can see the Hrazdan’s branch of National Gallery of Armenia. The Hrazdan’s Branch is considered to be the oldest one in Gallery. In front of the gallery is located "the city park", which has a beautiful look to the forest.
One of the most beautiful places in Hrazdan is "Tsovinar" artificial lake. People love to pass their holidays there. Near the lake you can see a unique statue; they call it "a pretty girl coming out of the water ".In Maqravan town there is situated Maqravan Monastery complex, the main Church of the complex is the Saint Astvatsatsin that is surrounded by a lot of beautiful cross-stones. Near the church, you can see the little cemetery. Unfortunately, the Complex is not working, but people believe that there is something that only is visible to them. So it is worth to see this mysterious place. If you’re fond of mysteries, this place is for you.
Kecharis is medieval monastery complex located in Tsaghkadzor town, Kotayk region. The monastery is the spiritual and cultural center of Kotayk region.Read More