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Fortress Of Akhtala

Lori Region, Armenia


Akhtala a town in Lori Province, Armenia with 2800 inhabitants according to 2009 estimate. It is situated on the left bank of Debed river at a distance of 186 km north of Yerevan and 62 km north of provincial centre Vanadzor on the slopes of Lalvar mountain. Akhtala was a village until 1939 when it was granted the status of urban community. In 1995 the government of independent Armenia reaffirmed the status of Akhtala as a city.

Above Sanahin and Haghpat lies the lesser known but very worthwhile fortified monastery of Akhtala, with breathtaking frescoes. (the key is with a villager, don't leave without seeing the interior!)

The Akhtala fortress with its temple complex is situated in Akhtala village of Tumanyan region in a high valley. The fortress’ territory is surrounded with rocky deep canyons from three sides, and the north side joins the plain. Besides the natural advantages, the fortress was protected by tall pyramid gates mutually connected with the picturesque environs which are preserved to this day. The main entrance opens from northern side, which has a roomy hall with vaulted roof and a three-storied pyramid tower. The fortress was built in the X c by the Bagratuni dynasty’s Kyurikid branch.

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