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For other uses, see Kapan (disambiguation).
Kapan landmarks Mount Khustup and Vachagan River • Tatev MonasteryMonument to David Bek • Garegin Nzhdeh's memorial Kapan skyline
Kapan landmarks
Mount Khustup and Vachagan River • Tatev Monastery
Monument to David Bek • Garegin Nzhdeh's memorial
Kapan skyline
Official seal of Kapan
Kapan is located in Armenia
Location of Kapan in Armenia
Coordinates: 39°12′04″N 46°24′54″E / 39.20111°N 46.41500°E / 39.20111; 46.41500Coordinates: 39°12′04″N 46°24′54″E / 39.20111°N 46.41500°E / 39.20111; 46.41500
Country  Armenia
Marz (Province) Syunik
City status 1938
 • Mayor Arthur Atayan
 • Total 36 km2 (14 sq mi)
Elevation 905 m (2,969 ft)
Population (2009)
 • Total 45,500
 • Density 1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)
Time zone GMT+4 (UTC+4)
Postal code 3301-3308
Area code(s) (+374) 285
Website Kapan Official Website

Kapan (Armenian: Կապան), formerly known as Ghapan, is a city at the southeast of Armenia and the capital of the Syunik Province. It is located 316 kilometres (196 miles) south of the capital Yerevan, on the northern slopes of Mount Khustup, in the valley of Voghji River. According to the National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (ARMSTAT), the population of Kapan is 45,488 (2010 est.).[2] The city's population was 45,711 at the 2001 census.[3] Kapan is the most populous city in Syunik province and southern Armenia.

Etymology and history[edit]

Baghaberd Fortress near Kapan

The word Kapan originates from the Armenian verb kapel (կապել), meaning "to lock", and points to an old Armenian geographic term for valleys surrounded by interlocked mountain chains.[4]

The area around Kapan was first mentioned in the 5th century as a small settlement. Historically the town was part of the Baghk canton of Syunik, the ninth province of the Kingdom of Armenia (Armenia Major). In the 10th century, the ruler of Syunik; prince Smbat II, moved to the town of Kapan and founded the Kingdom of Artsakh (also known as the Kingdom of Syunik-Baghk), proclaiming himself king in 970, within the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia.

In 1103, Kapan was entirely ruined by the Seljuq invaders.

In 1170, Kapan was ruled by Turkic and Persian dynasties, along with the rest of eastern Armenian regions.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Kapan was associated with the Armenian military leader David Bek, who led the liberation campaign of the Armenians of Syunik against Safavid Persia and the invading Ottoman Turks. David Bek started his battles in 1722 with the help of thousands of local Armenian patriots who liberated Syunik.[5] The centre of David Bek's struggle was the Baghaberd Fortress northwest of Kapan and Halidzor Fortress southwest of Kapan where he died in 1728.

Kapan became a significant urban settlement during the Qajar Persian rule in the 18th century.

With the merger of several villages, Kapan was formed as an urban community during the 19th century.

Kapan used to have a small Jewish community.

Geography and Climate[edit]

The "Key of Kajaran" monument in Kapan

Kapan is the largest city in Syunik province and the entire region of southern Armenia. It is located in the eastern part of Syunik, the narrow valley of Voghji River on a length of 13 km (8 mi) form the east to the west, on the south-eastern slopes of the Zangezur Mountain Range, between the Bargushat and Meghri ridges.

The city is about 80 km (50 mi) north of the Iranian border.

With a height of 3201 meters, Mount Khustup is the highest peak of the region. The elevation of Kapan ranges between 750–1050 metres above sea level (average height 900 metres).

Vachagan River; a tributary of Voghji river, also flows through the town.

Kapan has is characterized with hot summers and cold winters. Temperature could reach up to 38 °C (100 °F) during summer, and could fall down to −15 °C (5 °F) during winter.

Climate data for Kapan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 26
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.83
[citation needed]

Economy and transportation[edit]

The medieval bridge of Kapan

With a population of around 45,500, Kapan is struggling to cope with the realities of post-Karabakh war and post-Soviet society. However, there are signs of growth and development. Kapan is primarily a mining city, hence its Persian name of the Qajar time معدن (Ma'dan, meaning "mine"). Kapan's industry is dependent on the newly privatized polymetallic deposit, though additional operations have developed including mining support services, commercial scale animal husbandry, and an expanding retail sector. The furniture and textile industries have grown in recent years.

Kapan was and remains a center of production of many non-ferrous metals. Commercial development of the local deposits began in 1890. Armenian entrepreneurs and French mining engineers obtained concessions to the copper mines and a copper-ore processing plant was built in the city.

The city is connected with Iran by road. In late 2008, the road between Kapan and Meghri on the Iranian border was redeveloped. The railway line Kapan-Kovsakan-Mijnavan is currently inactive.

Prior to the Nagorno-Karabakh War, a small airfield was used to accommodate the aircraft YAK-40 and AN-14 cargo.

The other nearest airport is Goris Airport located 62 km (39 mi) north of Kapan, near the town of Goris.

Education and sport[edit]

Kapan is the education centre of southern Armenia. It has 13 public education schools, 3 music schools, 3 sport academies and many branches of Yerevan State University. The Kapan Museum of Geology and the History Museum named after Shmavon Movsisyan are among the prominent museums.

Association football is the most popular sport in town. Gandzasar Kapan FC, founded in 2004, are representing the city in the Armenian Premier League. They play their home games at the Gandzasar Stadium in Kapan. The club won the 3rd place of the Armenian Premier League on 3 occasions: in 2008, 2011 and 2012-13. Gandzasar have the highest average attendance at home games in the Armenian Premier League.

In May 2013, Gandzasar Kapan opened their football training centre at the outskirts of Kapan. The new complex has many regular football pitches including one with artificial turf. The academy became the first developed technical football centre in the Syunik Province.[6]

Basketball, artistic gymnastics, boxing and athletics are among the widely practiced sports in Kapan.

Notable landmarks[edit]

Vahanavank monastery

The area around Kapan has a plenty of historical structures including:

  • Baghaberd Fortress of the 4th century, also known as David Bek's Castle.
  • Tatev Monastery of the 9th century, founded in the place of an ancient tabernacle well known in ancient times.
  • Vahanavank Monastery of the 10th century.
  • Halidzor Fortress of the 17th century.

The town has many attractive structures including:

  • Kapan Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum.
  • Monument dedicated to David Bek.
  • Garegin Nzhdeh's memorial and park.
  • Vazgen Sargsyan central park.
  • "Karapeti Gyol" artficial lake.
  • Garegin Nzhdeh Square.

Wings of Tatev cableway which connects Halidzor village with the Tatev monastery is located 24 km (15 mi) north of Kapan. It is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in one section only.[7]

People from Kapan[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

World War II memorial in Kapan


  1. ^ (Armenian) Region.region.am "Syunik regional e-Governance System". Syunik Region provincial government.  Click on link entitled "Համայնքներ" (community) and search for the place by Armenian name.
  2. ^ "Marzes of the Republic of Armenia and Yerevan City in Figures, 2010" (PDF). National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (ARMSTAT). 
  3. ^ Report of the results of the 2001 Armenian Census, National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia
  4. ^ Western Armenian Dictionary & Phrasebook: Armenian-English/English-Armenian (Hippocrene Dictionary and Phrasebook). 2006. p. 86
  5. ^ Капан (in Russian). abp.am. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ Gandzasar football academy
  7. ^ World's longest cable car line opens to Armenia. PhysOrg.com. Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
  8. ^ "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 

External links[edit]