According to N. Tokarski, the Kamsarakan family built the fortress and a part of the wall in the 7th century. The other parts of the citadel, referring back to the 10th century, belong to the Pahlavouni Dukes. In the times of the Bagratouni Kings the Citadel of Amberd was one of the most important strategic spots of the Armenian highland. In the 70s of the 11th century the citadel surrendered to Seljuks and was later used as a garrison.In 1196 Zakare Amirspasalar delivered the Citadel of Amberd from the Seljuks with the help of a joint Armenian-Georgian army.The citadel then became the property of Zakare. In the beginning of the 13th century the citadel became the administrative center of the Vachoutian family, the agents of the Zakarian Dukes.
In 1236 the Mongols occupied and ruined the citadel. Vachoutians rebuilt it at the end of the 13th century. Amberd lost its significance of a strategic citadel in the period following the invasions of the Turks and the Tatars, and was completely ruined by Tamerlane at the end of the 14th century.
The remains of the citadel walls and the castle, the church, the royal bathhouse, and some other buildings have survived. The citadel had the shape of an irregular triangle. In the beginning of the 13th century, the Vachoutians built another entrance in the castle area and fortified the walls and built another wall near the Ariashan entrance to help stop the progress of the enemy.
Vahram Pahlavouni built the Amberd Church in 1026. It has reached our days as a ruin. Nowadays that beautiful piece of Armenian architecture is being rehabilitated along with a part of the castle. It still attracts tourists.