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The town of Tsaghkadzor is situated on the forest covering the northeast foothills of the Teghenis mountain range 58 kilometers from Yerevan and 5 kilometers northwest of the city of Hrazdan. It is mentioned in inscriptions of the Kingdom of Van as Kekhoune, the probable original form of Kecharis. In previous times it was called names that were variations of Tsaghkadzor, Kecharis, Kecharouyk and was part of Varazhnounik region of the Ayrarat province. It was the property of the Varazhnouni family of ministers in the 4th-5th centuries and the summer home of the Arshagouni royal family. Ownership was transferred to the Pahlavouni family in the 9th century and to the Proshian princes in the 12th-13th centuries. After the 16th century, it was known by the its Turkish name, Darachichak that was made official by the Russians. During Persian occupation it was the summer retreat of the Khan of Yerevan. Today, Tsaghkadzor remains a summer vacation spot for everyone.

The Kecharis Monastery, which was completed in the 13th century by the efforts of the Pahlavuni and Proshian princes, is located on the northwestern part of town. It has been one of the most influential and important spiritual and cultural centers of Armenia. Many important theologians, philosophers, artists, architects, poets and politicians lived and worked at Kecharis. Hundreds of manuscripts were created and copied at its famous scriptorium.

Tsaghkadzor, Kecharis monastery

Tsaghkadzor, Kecharis monastery

The main structures of the monastic complex include St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Church (1003) the Narthex (12th c.) Church of the Holy Cross (11th c.), the Katoghike Church (1214) and the Church of the Holy Resurrection (1220).

The complex was heavily damaged during an earthquake in 1827 and was renovated between 1930-1950.

The founder of evolutionary physiology Levon Orbeli and educator Vasak Babadjanian are natives of Tsaghkadzor.

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