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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Inscription

Inscription

Go around the castle to its south side to enter the building. On the south wall of the castle keep look for an Arabic inscription written with Kufic letters. It is attributed to Shah’n’shah, the last of a long line of Kurdish Shaddadid emirs who ruled sections of Armenia and intermarried into its clans.: “May Allah exalt him, in the blessed month of Safar in the year 570 (September 1174) the lord of this strong fortress, the Prince, the great Spasalar, the Pillar of the Faith, the Glorifier of Islam, Sultan son of Mahmud son of Shavur.”

The first in the line of the Shaddadids was Muhammad bin Shaddadid who took Dvin in 951. Later, however, the Shaddadids settled in Gandzak, Dvin seized by rulers of Atropatene.

In 1072 a branch of the Shaddadid dynasty settled in Ani and ruled the city until its liberation by the Zakarians in 1199.

The Byzantines for their part coveted the Armenian kingdom for its rich lands and even richer veins of metal and semiprecious ores and sought by any means to conquer the country, including betrayal. Using the fact of the Armenians being faithful Christians, in 1044 the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX sent his troops against the Armenian king Gagik II and offered the Shaddadids to join the fight against their Armenian kinsmen. The Shaddadids agreed considering the offer as an advantageous one. They joined the melee against the Bagratunis, participating in the sack of the city that was then annexed by the Byzantines. The Byzantines demanded all of the Shaddadid conquered lands, and when they refused, organized a militia of surviving Ani defenders and other mercenaries to march against the infidels. 

The last recorded Shaddadid was the Sultan ibn Mahmud ibm Shavur, known as Shah’n’shah (1164-1174), who inhabited the fortress at Dashtadem and left a memento of his stay behind.

 


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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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