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Armavir





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Armavir Marz is located in the Arax river valley, and has some of the richest and most fertile land in Armenia, made up of the three Soviet regions of Ejmiatsin (the basin of the lower Kasagh river), Armavir (the Metsamor, formerly Kara Su or Sevjur --"Blackwater" -- basin), and Baghramian, the rocky western upland. Jewel in the touristic crown is Ejmiatsin, the mother church of Armenia, with its treasury and outlying early medieval churches, including the ruined Zvartnots Cathedral. The Sardarapat battle monument includes a splendid, recently refurbished ethnographic museum worth a separate visit. The Urartian/Hellenistic city of Armavir/Argishtihinili and fortress of Aragats, and the early Iron Age site/museum of Metsamor, are of considerable archaeological significance, though somewhat mysterious to non-specialists. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, and of great importance in Urartian and Hellenistic times (Armavir and Yervandashat were ancient Armenian capitals), under Mongol, Turkish and Persian occupation these fertile river lands were too tempting to the conquerors, who pushed the Armenian population into the foothills. Only around Ejmiatsin, where the Armenian church held on to rich estates, did the Armenian people retain a majority in the Arax valley before the 20th century population transfers. Thus, medieval Armenian remnants are fairly sparse. Nor has Russian/Soviet rule been kind to the monuments of Armenia's subsequent Persian overlords.

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