Akhtala monastery is a 10th-century monastery located in the town of Akhtala in the region of Lori, 185 kilometers (115 mi) north of Yerevan. Akhtala was built in the late tenth century by the Kiurikids, a branch of the Bagratuni dynasty. The dynasty began with Gurgen (the name was pronounced 'Kiurikeh' in the local dialect of Gugark) who was a son of King Ashot III the Merciful and Queen Khosrovanush, patrons of nearby Sanahin and Haghpat monasteries. Gurgen's brothers were King Smbat II (the Conqueror) and Gagik I Bagratuni, under whom the Bagratuni Kingdom of Armenia reached the peak of its prosperity. The monastery is currently inactive. The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia (Gugark) and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia. The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. The modern name of Akhtala was first recorded in a royal decree of 1438. The etymology of the name Akhtala is believed to be of Turkic origin, meaning white glade. The original Armenian name of the settlement where the monastery is built is Pghindzahank, which means copper mine. Currently the monastery has its pilgrimage days on September 20–21. Armenians, Greeks and Georgians visit the monastery on this occasion. Akhtala remains one of Armenia's best intact examples of its great fresco period.
Akhtala monastery is a 10th-century monastery located in the town of Akhtala in the region of Lori.