Dashtadem Fortress

It is believed to have been built in the 7th c. at the site of an Urartian fortress during the reign of the Kamsarakan family, who ruled Shirak district. Dashtadem is mentioned in connection with the first stage of the Arabic invasion of Armenia.

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Dashtadem Fortress

This group of monuments has great defensive significance. It is believed to have been built in the 7th c. at the site of an Urartian fortress during the reign of the Kamsarakan family, who ruled Shirak district. Dashtadem is mentioned in connection with the first stage of the Arabic invasion of Armenia.

It consists of a citadel-castle enclosed with inner walls, a church, ruins of dwelling and service buildings and an outer wall.  

The oldest and the central structure is the citadel-castle to which Shadadian Sultan ibn Mahmud ibn Shavur of Ani added semi-circular and polygonal towers in 1174. The southern tower contains an Arabic inscription referring to these construction works.

Later, probably during the reign of the Zakarian family (12th-13th cc.) the citadel was enclosed with an inner wall which had semi-circular towers. Some stones of the walls have inscribed marks by the builders, with the record by master Hovhannes surviving on the northern tower (13th c.).

Adjoining the northern wall is a single-nave church, also attributed to the Zakarian period. The church is topped by a roof and is built from polished red tufa.

The fortress retained its military significance up to the 18th-19th cc. In 1812 Sardar Husein-Ghuli khan of Yerevan commissioned tall outer walls surrounding the old fortress and a house in the west. The walls were about 8 meters thick and boasted 8 polygonal towers in the corners.

The fortress also had a large underground cave pool covered with massive tufa slabs.

The monument is currently half-ruined. The fortress walls were renovated in 1961, with excavations conducted in 1989-1990. The citadel and the outer walls were partially restored in 2005-2007. The center for the study and restoration of Armenian culture of Milan (Italy) was involved in the excavations of the internal part of main arched entrance of the wall and the towers commissioned by the Zakarian family.

The church was extensively restored in 2006. The western and south-western parts of the fortress, the area between the citadel and the outer wall were excavated in 2011.

 


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    How to reach From Yerevan follow M1 highway, drive to north west for 75.5km and you will reach the Dashtadem Fortress. The trip will take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.

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