Aruch

Aruch’s name was first mentioned by the historian Yeghishe (5th c.) according to whom it served as a winter-camp for the royal army of the Arshakuni kings. However its most important period is connected with Prince (Hayots Ishkhan) Grigor Mamikonian (661-685) when Aruch became his official seat of power, as granted by the Arab caliph.

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Mamikonian Palace

To the south-east of the cathedral are the excavated ruins of the Grigor Mamikonian palace, identical in layout to the Palace for the Catholicos at Dvin. Historians believe that Grigor, wanting to emulate the Holy See in Dvin ordered the architect to reproduce it at Aruch. The palace consisted of two buildings, a great hall and a column hall.

The column hall (2) made up the main palace: in the area where the throne hall lay you can see two surviving massive capitals decorated with sculptures on the abacii (capital stone slabs). The central hall is divided into three aisles by massive stone columns identical to the Catholicos Palace at Dvin, if shorter.

With regard to the great hall (4), some of its features (stylobates, cross sculptural work on the northern wall) point to its earlier incarnation as a cathedral, later rebuilt into this palatial structure, as found during excavations in 2006-2007.

There are two surviving capitals in the column hall, one of which copies those found at Dvin, decorated with extended palm leaves, the abacus decorated with undulating grape leaves and fruit. The other capital is smaller and while similar to the first, it is decorated with six-pointed stars on the abacus.

The throne is the only surviving sample of its type in Armenia and is set in the middle of the central aisle on the eastern end. The throne (1.3x1.6m) is made of tufa, its surface carved with an shallow scoop for the royal derriere.


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    Working period/season Year around

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    How to reach Aruch is close to Ashtarak, on the Giumri highway. It is about 46 km from Yerevan.

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