Makaravank is a 13th century Armenian monastery complex in Tavush region. Due to the unique identity, richness and diversity of its ornamental patterns the Makaravank complex is ranked among Aghtamar, Bgheno-Noravank, Gandzasar and takes its important place in the Armenian architecture. The only historical mention of this monastery belongs to Kirakos Gandzaketsi. According to him, Arzu Khatun, wife of Vakhtang, prince of Haterk, once knitted a curtain for Makaravank with her daughter.
The Makaravank monastery complex is located 15 kilometers away from the town of Ijevan, 3 kilometers south-west of the village of Achajour, at the foot of Paytatap mountain. From high above, the view extends to the valley of Aghstev, vast grasslands of Kur river valley, and the panorama of the mountain chain on the opposite side, on the right bank of Aghstev. Makaravank, the spiritual and cultural center of historical Mahkanaberd is one of the notable medieval architectural complexes, a unique example of the Armenian culture, distinguished by the elegance and perfection of its decoration and ornaments. Also, this is a brilliant example of harmony between architectural constructions and the nature.
A legend about Makaravank says the monastery was built by a master named Makar, and his only son. The son used to cut the stones and make ornaments, and the father erected the walls. The monastery walls grew taller, and master Makar got farther from the ground. Throughout the construction, he spent the nights on unfinished walls. One day Makar noticed that the stones did not fit into one another, and the ornaments were different. He called his son from above to ask what happened, and got the response that his son was sick. So Makar realized that his son was gone; he threw himself down from the top of the monastery and died. The master was buried under the monastery wall, and the church was named Makaravank.
The monastery of Deghdzout is a valuable monument of medieval Armenian architecture, located in the gorge of Khndzorkout river, in the forest, 10 km west to the village of Acharkout. It was founded by Arakel priest who was from the Cilician town of Tarson by origin. His tombstone has been preserved in the complex narthex (1292).
The complex includes the church, narthex and chapel. The graveyard and the ruins of Deghdzout rural settlement are located nearby. Inside the narthex one can see broken dated cross-stones; one of them depicting the details of the temple establishment was made by Poghos and Kaghak masters. The construction of the monastery lasted 16-17 years (1258-1274).
The Samsonavank monument group is situated 15 kilometers south-west of the village of Kirants (Getashen), in the woody grassland of Khndzorout. The legend says, bricklayer Samson has built this temple. It includes two churches, one chapel, graveyard, and the settlement. The monuments are dated to 12-13th centuries. They are built from grey sand, polished stones, and lime mortar.
There is a sanctuary, centuries-old oak tree in the southern part of Aknaghbyur village, with a cross-stone dating back to the 14th century beside it. The legend says it was Vardan Mamikonyan who planted the tree back in the year 450, on his way back from the triumphant battle of Khaghkhagh. However, the oak tree collapsed in 1978. Soviet Union marshal Hovhannes Baghramyan planted a new oak tree beside the fallen one; the cross-stone was brought there in 1966, from Verin Danaghra grassland.
The Srvegh monastery is located in a forest clearing 3 kilometers south-west of the village of Aygehovit. The temple was constructed in the 13th century by Sargis and Artavazd builders under the leadership of Hovhannes. It is one of the prominent spiritual and cultural centers of the historical Kayen province which has remained standing up today. Srvegh church has no pillars; it has been renovated several times.
In the 19th century, the village community built Astvatsatsin church not very far from the main church, under the leadership of Ter Hovhannes priest. This is recorded on a stone near the baptism basin.
Srvegh surroundings accommodate remnants of numerous constructions, tombstones, cross-stones, fire clay water pipes.
The Telegraph which sent a telegramme from Ijevan to Moscow on November 29, 1920 informing Lenin about the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, is also located here. This is a unique model, and many historians and tourists all over the world visit Ijevan to see this device. The museum also accommodates the office furniture of Sargis Kasyan, one of the first Armenian Socialist revolutionaries.
The Ashot Yerkat fortress is located 5 km south-east of the town of Ijevan, on a hill covered with forest. It was established in the 9th century, and its construction was finalized in the 10th century during the reign of the Armenian king Ashot Yerkat II. Ashot Yerkat started fighting against the Arab rule, and finally the Arabs recognized him as the King of kings. He was going to take reign of Georgia as well, that is why he built the castle on this every place, near Georgia, to maintain links with the country.
There is another story explaining the choice of place for the construction of the fortress. According to this version, Ashot Yerkat’s lover was the spouse of an Armenian prince, Tslik Amram, who lived in the castle of Tavush, situated in the modern town of Berd near Ijevan.
Currently the castle has left behind only ruins.
The Kirants monastery (according to some version, the name of the church is linked to the word “kiraki” (“Sunday”)) is situated in the valley on the left bank of Kirants-jur river, 12 kilometers west of the village of Kirants, amidst a picturesque landscape. It comprises three churches, a refectory and several utility facilities, all fenced. Nearly all buildings of the monastery are brick-built; they are unique monuments of medieval Armenian architecture.
The Kirants monastery was built in the 13th century. A large Mets Kunen settlement was located in the vicinity of the monastery. During the church construction Armenians who adopted the Chalcedonian Christianity lived there.
Morodzoro church is located 5 kilometers east of Ijevan, in the village of Lusahovit. This is the most ancient monument of this region, with peculiar architectural structure, a remarkable monument of northern Armenia. The name “Morodzoro” springs from the village name; this is a small church constructed in the middle of the village, amongst the gardens, surrounded by huge hazel trees.
A skillfully carved pomegranate high relief has been preserved here, the large size and grace of which is typical for ancient Armenian monuments (Zvartnots). Inside, in the eastern part of the drum, the crucifixion of Jesus is depicted; a bit to the south a high relief of a bird rests.
Indisputably, the Astvatsatsin church of the monastery was built long ago, back in the 7th century. All inscriptions engraved on its walls are dated to the period following the reconstruction of the monument. Some of the records belong to the Georgian king Giorgi who granted exemption from taxes to the monastery.
Lastiver is an active leisure spot with wonderful, magical nature. It accommodates a waterfall, tree houses, a cave with rock paintings - a pagan leftover.