From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 40°17′51″N 44°21′42″E / 40.29750°N 44.36167°E / 40.29750; 44.36167

From top left: Ashtarak town • Ashtarak bridge of 1664Karmravor Church • Saint Marianeh Church • Surp Sarkis ChurchHouse-museum of Perch Proshyan • the statue of Nerses Ashtaraketsi
From top left:

Ashtarak town • Ashtarak bridge of 1664
Karmravor Church • Saint Marianeh Church • Surp Sarkis Church
House-museum of Perch Proshyan • the statue of Nerses Ashtaraketsi
Official seal of AshtarakԱշտարակ
AshtarakԱշտարակ is located in Armenia
Coordinates: 40°17′51″N 44°21′42″E / 40.29750°N 44.36167°E / 40.29750; 44.36167
Country  Armenia
Marz Aragatsotn
First mentioned 9th century
City status 1963
 • Mayor Armen Antonyan
 • Total 7.5 km2 (2.9 sq mi)
Elevation 1,110 m (3,640 ft)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total 19,615
 • Density 2,600/km2 (6,800/sq mi)
Time zone GMT +4 (UTC+4)
Postal code 0201-0205
Area code(s) (+374) 232
Website Official website
Sources: Population[1]

Ashtarak (Armenian: Աշտարակ), is a town in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia, located on the left bank of Kasagh River along the gorge, northwest of the capital Yerevan. It is the administrative centre of the Aragatsotn province. With a population of 19,615 (2011 census), Ashtarak is an important crossroad of routes for the YerevanGyumriVanadzor rectangle.

The town plays a great role in the national economy as well as the cultural life of Armenia through several industrial enterprises and cultural institutions. It has developed as a satellite town of Yerevan. The nearby village of Mughni is part of the Ashtarak municipality.


The name of "Ashtarak" is the Armenian word for tower or fortress. However, according to linguist Grigor Ghapantsyan, the name of Ashtarak is derived from Ishtar (Ashtar); the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility. Contrary, the latest historical researches proved that the name of Ishtar was never used in the Armenian mythology during the ancient times. Instead, the goddess of fertility was known as Shardi or Sardi in the ancient kingdom of Urartu, and later became to be known as Astghik among the Armenian monks.

Other linguists suggest that the name of Ashtarak is related either with the legendary figure in the Armenian history Shidar; the son of king Artavasdes I of Armenia, or with Sarduri II; the king of Urartu.[2]

History and monuments[edit]

The ruins of Spitakavor Church, 7th century

Historically, the area of modern-day Ashtark was part of the Aragatsotn canton of Ayrarat province of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia,. the town is one of the oldest settlements in Armenia with many historical and cultural monuments that demonstrate the valuable patterns of Armenian architecture.

Ashtarak was mentioned as a rural settlement for the first time in history during the 9th century.[3] However, the importance of Ahtarak has declined during the following centuries under the foreign powers. In the 17th century, the town was entirely rebuilt under the Persian rule.

Present-day Ashtarak is located on the left bank of Kasagh River, 13 km to the northwest of the capital Yerevan, at a height of 1100 meters above sea level. It almost occupies a central point between the Ararat plain from the south and the mountains of Aragats from the north.

According to a legend, three sisters lived in Ashtarak, all of whom fell in love with the same man, prince Sargis. The elder two sisters decided to commit suicide in favour of the youngest one. One wearing an apricot-orange dress and the other wearing a red dress, they threw themselves into the gorge. When the youngest sister found out, she put on a white dress and also threw herself into the gorge. Sargis then became a hermit and three small churches appeared at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters' dress colours.

The ruins of Tsiranavor Church, 13th-14th centuries

Best preserved among them is the Karmravor Church (meaning reddish for its dome colour), dating back to the 7th century, dedicated to the Holy Mother of God (Surp Astvatsatsin). It has a small cruciform central-plan, with a reddish/apricot coloured dome, and an octagonal drum. Other churches include, Spitakavor (meaning whitish because of its colour) was built between the 5th and 6th centuries, and Tsiranavor (meaning apricot-coulored) built between the 13th and 14th centuries, both are located along the edge of the gorge.

The largest church in the town is the Saint Marianeh Church located at the center of Ashtarak. It was constructed in 1271 and has a rectangular plan from outside and a cruciform type plan from inside with an octagonal drum above.

The 19th-century church of Surp Sarkis built on an old foundation, is situated on an attractive point at a promontory overlooking the gorge and offers a fine view to the above-mentioned three churches. The external walls of the structure were almost completely restored recently while the interior walls remain the same. Some pieces of the outer walls remain sitting next to the church with carvings on them.

One of the interesting sites in the town is the 17th-century bridge of Ashtarak on Kasagh River, located in the gorge just below the church of Surp Sarkis. It was built in 1664 by the efforts of Mahdesi Khoja Grigor; a wealthy merchant from Kanaker. The bridge features 3 arches that are unequal in size.


Date Population Note(s)
1831[4] 826
1891[5] 2,550 overwhelmingly populated by Armenians
1914[4] 4,867
1926[6] 4,853 99.7% Armenians
1959[4] 7,563
1972[4] 13,900
2001[7] 18,915 de facto population
2011[7] 17,872 de facto population


Ashtarak is one of the important industrial centres in the Republic of Armenia. The industries are based on food, dairy and beverage products, mainly processing the domestic raw materials and grapes. The "Ashtarak-Kat" company is one of the leading producers of dairy products, cheese and ice-cream in Armenia.

The town is also home to the "Ashtarak Dzu" poultry farm, and the "Kharam" cooperative for building materials production.


Ashtarak is home to 7 public education schools, 6 kindergartens and 4 art schools. Many museums and public libraries are operating in the city.

The house-museum of novelist Perch Proshyan was founded in 1948 in Ashtarak, within the family house of the Proshyans. It was last restored in 2008.[8]

Ashtarak is also home to two major research institutions: the Institute of Physical Research [9] and Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics.[10]


FC Mika was founded in 1999 on the basis of the merger of 2 football clubs: Mika Ashtarak and Kasagh Ashtarak[11] Under the merger, the name of the new club became Mika-Kasagh Ashtarak. However, the merger only lasted for 1 year; until 2000. Kasagh Ashtarak restored its original name, keeping their logo, history and statistics, while FC Mika settled for being a new club. In 2007, Mika was relocated from Ashtarak to Yerevan. The only stadium of the city is Kasaghi Marzik Stadium with a capacity of 3,500 spectators.

Ashtarak is also home to the "Ayrudzi" horse riding club.

Notable people[edit]

Ashtarak town hall

Sister cities[edit]

France Alfortville, France (since 1993)


Nagorno-Karabakh War memorial with the town of Ashtarak in the background


External links[edit]