Amberd

A Stone Age settlement at the spot evolved into a Bronze Age & Urartian fortress that protected Armenia's rulers, most famously during the Roman and Christian eras, when the current castle was built, then expanded and rebuilt over successive periods.

Some sources say Amberd used to be a summer residence for kings, and that the castle (along with some sections of the wall) were built in the 7th century, for the Kamsarakan family. A letter by the medieval statesman and scholar Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni, who was also the archimandrite (a superior abbot) of Ani around the year 1050, places the fortress and surrounding district in the hands of the powerful Pahlavuni family in the late 10th century.

Amberd was purchased by the noble Vacheh Vachutian in 1215, the fortress becoming a key defense for a few years until it was captured and destroyed by the Mongols in 1236.

In 1196 Amberd was liberated by the joint Armenian-Georgian army lead by general Zakareh Zakarian, as a result the fortress was granted into his tenure. The Zakarians liberated most of Armenia and fostered a new golden age as the kingdom's fortunes were met with the construction and enlargement of monasteries, churches and castles throughout the country, Amberd included, with structural reinforcement of the walls and the addition of 12th-13th century renovations to the castle and outer buildings.

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