vannic

Ամբերդ
Amberd

Located 2,3 thousand meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount Aragats, in the Aragatsotn province of Armenia. It’s name translates to “fortress in the clouds”

The fortress began as a Stone Age settlement but later transformed into a fortress in the Bronze Age that lasted to the end of the Vannic period (Kingdom of Ararat) The current fortress was built in the 7th centudy A.D. by the Armenian noble House of Kamsarakan. Later it was bought by the Pahlavuni royal family who added the Church of Surb Asvatsatsin in 1016,
added three bastions along the ridge of the Arkhashen canyon and also fortified the complex with thicker stones. A more detailed account can be read in the manuscripts of Grigor Magistror Pahhlavuni.

Just like most of the other Armenian sites it was invaded by the Seljuk Turks in 1070 A.D who turned it into a military base. Many battles were fought over Amberd and it changed owners many times. The last time it was in Armenian hands is when the nobleman Vacheh Vahutian purchased Amberd in 1215, making it a key defensive site in the region. However it was useless as it was captured and destroyed by Mongols in 1236.

The site remained abandoned and untouched until the 20th century, when reconstruction and archaeological excavations began.

There is also a bath house situated to the south of the fortress that was built sometime between the 10th and 11th centuries. It’s twin bathing rooms each with a single dome are still moderately intact. At one time it had used hypocaust heating  to heat the floors. Pipes that ran through the floors and walls of the structure were heated by a fire built under the floor, which then forced the heat throughout the bathing rooms. Metal pipes supplied hot water to the baths.

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