AMBERD FORTRESS

Amberd is a 7th-century fortress located 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level, on the slopes of Mount Aragats at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers in the province of Aragatsotn, Armenia. The name translates to "fortress in the clouds" in Armenian. It is also the name incorrectly attributed to Vahramashen Church, the 11th-century Armenian church near the castle. The Amberd Fortress is located 4 miles from the village of Byurakan. 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.

Amberd is a 7th-century fortress located 2,300 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Mount Aragats at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers in the province of Aragatsotn, Armenia.

AMBERD FORTRESS

The castle ruins of Amberd comprised an area of 1,500 square meters. Its walls are constructed of roughly hewn basalt blocks set in place with mortar. Amberd was purchased by the noble Vacheh Vachutian in 1215, the fortress becoming a key defense for a few years until it was captured and destroyed by the Mongols in 1236. Vachutian and his wife Mamakhatun were donors of the nearby monasteries at Tegher, Saghmosavank and Hovhanavank. The Vachutians reconstructed it in late 13th century. The fortress was abandoned and remained untouched until the 20th century when reconstruction begun. Despite the ongoing research and restoration works, the site- the fortress and the castle, in particular- are assessed as highly endangered monuments.

Excavations have shown that the interior of the castle and rooms were quite lavish with elegantly carved decorations in the rooms, oil lamps, incense holders, and walls decorated with silks and brocades, and with bronze, gold and silver ornamentation.