Khndzoresk

 

The best idea about this unique ensemble of folk dwellings you can have from the existing since time immemorial, recently abandoned, but the least destroyed Khndzoresk - an ancient village within 12 kilometers of Goris. It is hard to imagine a more difficult and inconvenient place for a village, hanging on the slopes of the canyon, on the steep cliffs of the river valley. Why would not Zangezurians settle down in highland valleys? Perhaps, because there is hidden water here, in this gorge, and most importantly, in the case of enemy attack, Khndzoresk is protected by the nature itself.

 

Old residents of Khndzoresk claim that their ancestors found the original form of the arch, which later became a widespread element of Armenian architecture. This may or may not be true, but in fact, master designers, who lived here, were exceptional. And if you closely observe the multi-story cell dwellings, you can clearly see that there is one detail dominating in the fancy composition of the village – the arch. The garlands of arches encircle the graded slopes of the mountains. Composed of stones, they are carved into the rocks between natural ledges. The wavy chain of arches creates certain rhythm. It seems like combining all into one single unit, binding absolutely incompatible pieces of the landscape together and putting the whole chaos of heaped stones, rocks and houses in the right order. This tells us about astonishing ability of Armenian builders to use environmental conditions to create a unique and amazingly harmonious architectural ensemble.

Remarkable tombs survived in the old cemetery near the cliff. They preserved the bas-reliefs perpetuating the memory of numerous events, in which Khndzoreskians participated. These scattered sheets of stone records include scenes of hunting, a battle, dancing, heroes around the table full of dishes during a feast, etc. Nearby, dry grass rustles, gently swaying. You feel like you’ve moved the curtain and look through a magic window: Khndzoresk revived. Leaving Khndzoresk, you feel like you have spent your time in a unique folk museum and architectural reserve.