During the reign of Bagratuni and after the restoration of statehood, many military bases, fortresses and other fortifications were founded in Armenia, which controlled strategic and trade routes, and provided protection for the north-eastern edge. The largest became palaces of power and often turned into fortress cities. The Kayan fortress, probably built at the beginning of the IX century, was an important strategic base in the Aghstev valley. In the XXI centuries, during the time of the Kyurikians, it was a guard fortress that protected the eastern borders of the kingdom. The inhabitants of the surrounding area took refuge here in a moment of danger. In the XII-XIII centuries, the importance of the fortress gradually increased and it became the seat of large manor houses. Separate branches of Artsruni and Zakaryans founded their palaces here. Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi was the first of the medieval authors to mention the Kayan fortress. In 922, Sahak, the prince of Utik, who was at enmity with Ashot Yerkat, entered the province of Dzorapor, which belonged to Bagratuni, and captured its fortresses, of which the historian mentions only Kayan. Artsruni from Makhkanaberd held the province and the fortress of Kayan until 1191.
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