Old Khndzoresk cave settlement is set on the right and left slopes of about 3-km long valley. The slopes are in turn punctuated by deep gorges. According to folk etymology, the word "Khndzoresk" comes from the Armenian word “khndzor”, for apple.
Old Khndzoresk cave settlement is set on the right and left slopes of about a three-kilometer long valley. The slopes are punctuated by deep gorges. According to folk etymology, the word "Khndzoresk" comes from the Armenian word “khndzor”, for apple. The legend says the name was originally “Khor Dzor”, or “Khordzoresk” meaning deep canyon (the settlement is said to have got its name due to its location).
The exact date for the founding of the village is unknown. It was first mentioned in the 13th c. list of villages that paid taxes to Tatev Monastery. In the first quarter of the 18th c. Khndzoresk took an active role in the liberation struggle led by Davit Bek. Anapat church yard has the graves of Davit Bek's partisan Mkhitar Sparapet and Melik Barkhudar. This wonder of the nature was abandoned in the 1950s.
Old Khndzoresk had 9 districts (Chailuk, Taplak, Tsti, Telunts, Akni, Prtosi, Nerkin and others). By 1913, there were 1800 dwellings, 7 schools, shops and workshops in Khndzoresk, making it the largest village in Eastern Armenia. Noted for its unique architecture, almost all dwellings are carved in the caves. Better-planned homes with limestone porches and glkhatuns (a stone house with a stepped wooden roof supported by pillars) with additional cave rooms are carved into the lower parts of the slopes. Terraces were built in the face of the geographical features of the area and homes were stacked on top of each other, with the roof of one house often serving as a yard for another. This made the village resemble an enormous multi-story structure going uphill. The caves were also used as hiding places. Dwellers used ropes to get to the caves set at a height of several tens of meters.
Kndzoresk is rich in historic monuments. Both the village and the surrounding area include a settlement, a grave field (2nd-1st millennia, B.C.), the remains of the castles of “Aghjka Berd” and “Mkhitar Sparapet fortress” (Khndzoresk fortress), St. Tadevos (17th-18th cc.), Anapat (19th c.) and St. Hripsime (1666) churches, a 9th-10th cc. church, Melik Kasi castle (1836), a school building (1840), cemeteries, an oil-press, reservoirs, springs, medieval khachkars and gravestones.
Khndzoresk is a valuable historic, archeological and ethnographic monument preserved by the state authorities.
To boost tourism infrastructure local benefactor Zh. Aleksanyan commissioned 160 m long and maximum 63 m tall metal suspension bridge to link the old and the new villages. It was unveiled in 2012. The renovation of a number of cave dwellings, oil-presses, barns and tonir house is currently underway.
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How to reach From Yerevan drive north-east for 248km and you will reach the Khndzoresk Settlement. The trip will take approximately 3 hours 30 minutes.
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