On most likely our last journey out of the city we headed north to the slops of Mt Aragats to Amberd Fortress Mt Aragats is not as picturesque as Mt Araeat but at 13,435 ft it is still an impressive mountain. The south slope where Amberd is located is rolling grass lands with deep gorges.
The complex of Amberd derives its great historical importance from its uniqueness, being one of the best and the largest examples of Armenian fortress construction. The site incorporates a rich variety of buildings (church, chapel, baths, walls, gates, etc.), in a spectacular position defined by good natural defenses Amberd means «a fortress in the clouds» in Armenian - a fitting name given its elevation at 2,300m (7500 ft) on the slopes of the Mount Aragats. The fortress was founded in the 7th century A.D. during the rule of the Kamsarakan princes. It was rebuilt 4 centuries later by Vahram Vachutian Pahlavuni. He added thick stone walls and 3 bastions along the ridge of the Arkhashyan ravine, where there were no natural defenses.An inscription above the entry to the church within the fortress indicates that it too was built in 1026. The exterior architecture is simple and expressive, crowned by an umbrella shaped cupola. Amberd was overrun in the 11th century by the Seljuk Turks. Two centuries later, it was assailed by Mongol invaders. Despite its turbulent history, significant details of remains are accessible today. Apart from portions of walls, towers and the church, there are the ruins of a bathhouse and parts of a secret passage and a water-supply system that can be seen.
We took Anna and Will with us. Most of the Monasteries we have visited have been some what fortified but this is the first Castle we have visited here in Armenia. Being so old and abandoned for so long it was like going back in time. Setting above the two deep river gorges one could almost see a caravan of camels winding its way up he slop. We wonder if Marico Polo stopped here on his way home? All that remain are the walls and structures made out of rock. Housing for the workers and headers made out of wood have disintegrated so the area looks very desolate now but when the castle was occupied there was a good size village close buy. We and the kids had a ball claming the walls and exploring the baths and Church. The weather was nice and we well be headed home when it turns cold here and reach Boise when it is getting cold there. See You soon.