Kotayk Province

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Location of Kotayk within Armenia
Location of Kotayk within Armenia
Coordinates: 40°25′N 44°45′E / 40.417°N 44.750°E / 40.417; 44.750Coordinates: 40°25′N 44°45′E / 40.417°N 44.750°E / 40.417; 44.750
Country Armenia
Largest city
 • Governor Kovalenko Shahgeldyan
 • Total 2,086 km2 (805 sq mi)
Area rank 8th
Population (2011)
 • Total 254,397[1]
 • Rank 4th
Time zone AMT (UTC+04)
Postal code 2201–2506
ISO 3166 code AM.KT
FIPS 10-4 AM05
Website official website

Kotayk (Armenian: Կոտայք, Armenian pronunciation: [kɔˈtɑjkʰ]), is a province (marz) of Armenia. It is located at the central part of the country. Its capital is Hrazdan and the largest city is Abovyan. It is named after the Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia.

Kotayk is bordered by Lori Province from the north, Tavush Province from the northeast, Gegharkunik Province from the east, Aragatsotn Province from the west, and Ararat Province and the capital Yerevan from the south. Kotayk is the only province in Armenia that has no borders with foreign countries.

The province is home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions in Armenia including the 1st-century Temple of Garni, the medieval Bjni Fortress, 11th-century Kecharis Monastery and the 13th-century monastery of Geghard. Kotayk is also home to the popular winter sports resort and the spa-town of Tsaghkadzor and the mountain resort of Agveran.


Kotayk Province is named after the historic Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia, directly ruled by the royal Arsacid dynasty.

Kotayk was first mentioned as an Armenian region by Ptolemy as Kotakene. According to Movses Khorenatsi, the name Kotayk is derived from an ancient nearby settlement called Kutis.


Lake Akna at the east of Kotayk
Mount Hatis (2528 m.)

Situated at the central part of modern-day Armenia, Kotayk covers an area of 2,089 km2 (807 sq mi) (7% of total area of Armenia). It is bordered by Gegharkunik Province from the east, Tavush Province from the northeast, Lori Province from the north, Aragatsotn Province from the west, Ararat Province from the south and the capital Yerevan from the southwest.

Historically, the current territory of the province mainly occupies parts of the Aragatsotn, Kotayk, Varazhnunik and Mazaz cantons of Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia.

Kotayk occupies the northeastern part of the Ararat plain. The Kotayk plain located between Hrazdan and Azat rivers has a height of 1,200–1,500 m (3,937–4,921 ft) above sea level. It is dominated by the Gegham mountains from the northeast including the mountains of Azhdahak, Hatis and Gutanasar. The province approximates the Pambak mountains at the north, while the Tsaghkunyats mountains lie at the west, and the Voghjaberd mountains at the southwest of Kotayk.

Affected by the Gegham volcanoes, the land relief of Kotayk is covered with lava and tufa.

Hrazdan, Getar and Azat are the 3 major rivers of the province. Lake Akna located at a height of 3,032 m (9,948 ft), is the only lake in the province.

The climate of the province is quite diversified. It ranges between arid and semi-arid climate at the south, and snowy climate at the centre and the north. Annual precipitation levels are less than 200 mm (7.9 in) at the dry areas, while it ranges between 400 and 900 mm (35.4 in) at the heights in the centre and the north of the province.

View of the Voghjaberd mountains at the southeast of Kotayk


Bjni Fortress of the Bagratid period, 9th century

The earliest records about the region date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. According to Ptolemy, Kotayk was directly ruled by the Arsacid kings of Armenia. However, during the 4th and the 5th centuries, the territories were granted to the Varazhnuni noble family who governed the forests and lands used as a hunting ground by the kings of the Arsacid kings. Later between the 5th and 7th centuries, the region was granted to the Kamsarakan and Amatuni families, under the Persian rule. Between the 7th and 9th centuries, Armenia suffered from the Arab Islamic occupation.

By the end of the 9th century, the region became part of the newly established Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the region suffered from the Seljuk, Mongol, Ag Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu invasions, respectively.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the territory of modern-day Kotayk became part of the Erivan Beglarbegi within the Safavid Persia. During the first half of the 18th century, the territory became part of the Erivan Khanate under the rule of the Afsharid dynasty and later under the Qajar dynasty of Persia. It remained under the Persian rule until 1827-1828, when Eastern Armenia was ceded by the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28 and the signing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay. With the fall of the Russian Empire and after the decisive Armenian victories over the Turks in the battles of Sardarabad, Abaran, and Gharakilisa, the region became part of the independent Armenia in May 1918.

After 2 years of brief independence, Armenia became part of the Soviet Union in December 1920. After the World War II, Kotayk witnessed major growth and development under the soviet rule. Many new urban settlements and industrial centres were established in the region, including the towns of Byureghavan (1945), Charentsavan (1947), Nor Hachen (1953), Hrazdan (1959) and Abovyan (1963). Thus Kotayk had gradually become a major industrial region within the Armenian SSR.

Between 1930 and 1995, modern-day Kotayk was divided into 3 raions: Kotayk raion, Nairi raion, and Hrazdan raion. With the territorial administration reform of 1995, the 3 raions were merged to form the Kotayk Province.


Zovuni village has a majority of Armenians, along with Yazidi and Molokan minorities

According to the 2011 official census, Kotayk has a population of 254,397 (123,524 men and 130,873 women), forming around 8.4% of the entire population of Armenia. The urban population is 137,481 (54%) and the rural is 116,916 (46%). The province has 7 urban and 60 rural communities. The largest urban community is the town of Abovyan, with a population of 43,495. The other urban centres are Hrazdan, Charentsavan, Yeghvard, Byureghavan, Nor Hachen, and Tsaghkadzor.

With a population of 7,198, the village of Jrvezh is the largest rural municipality of Kotayk.

Ethnic groups and religion[edit]

The majority of Kotayk Province are ethnic Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The regulating body of the church is the Diocese of Kotayk, headed by Archbishop Arakel Karamyan. The Kecharis Monastery in Tsaghkadzor is the seat of the diocese.

However, small communities of Yazdis in Zovuni, Bjni, Getamej, and Dzoraghbyur.

Zovuni and Alapars have a significant number of Russian Molokans.

Hankavan has a majority of Greeks, while the village of Arzni is predominantly populated by Assyrians.

Minor communities of Russian Molokans, Yazidis, Kurds, Assyrians and Greeks are also found in Abovyan and Byureghavan.[2]



Kotayk is a major centre for agricultural products and cattle-breeding in Armenia, forming 6% of the annual total agricultural product of Armenia. Around 74% (1,546.4 km²) of the total area of the province are arable lands, out of which 24.4% (378 km²) are ploughed.[3] A total of 36,125 farms in Kotayk are operated by the private sector or through cooperatives.

The agricultural products of the province are divided as follows: 40% provided by cattle-breeding 40%, 14% by tobacco processing, 10% by fruits, 8% by vegetables, 28% by other products including grains and dry grains. The orchards mainly produce grapes, apricot, peach and apple.

Around 40% of the farmlands are irrigated, mainly through the Kanaker Hydroelectric Power Station canal and the Kotayk canal of Sevan–Hrazdan Cascade.

Kotayk has the 3 largest poultry farms in Armenia including the farms of Lusakert (in Nor Geghi), Arzni and Getamej.


Hrazdan thermal power plant

Kotayk was a major industrial centre during the Soviet period. The towns of Byureghavan, Charentsavan, Nor Hachen, Hrazdan and Abovyan were founded by the USSR government between the 1940s and the 1960s to promote the industrial capacity of the Armenian SSR. However very few industrial plants survived after the independence of Armenia. Currently, the province has a contribution of 13.5% in the annual total industrial product of Armenia.

  • Hrazdan is the most industrialized town of Kotayk. The Hrazdan hydro power plant, the Hrazdan thermal power plant, and the "Mika Cement" factory are among the largest plants in Armenia. The town has also minor enterprises for carpet manufacturing, electrical equipments production, building materials and dairy products.
  • Yeghvard is another major industrial centre in the Kotayk. It has a building materials factory, a yeast plant and a shoe factory. It is also home to the "Shanazaryan" wine and brandy manufacturing company.
  • Byureghavan's largest firms are the glass manufacturing factory, the stone-processing enterprise, the reinforced concrete columns manufacturing company, the stone crushing factory, the Arzni mineral water factory, and the "Byuregh Alco" factory for wine, brandy and vodka.
  • Charentsavan has the Bjni mineral water factory, while Nor Hachen is home to the "Shoghakn" diamond-processing plant which is the only diamond cutting plant in Armenia.
  • Abovyan is home to the famous Kotayk Brewery factory, the Abovyan cannery and soft drinks plant and the "Tamara" factory for dairy products.

Being located at the eastern suburbs of Yerevan, the village of Jrvezh is home to a large number of industrial firms including: a factory for plastic products, the Garni mineral water factory, and a wine factory.

Other major industrial firms located in the villages of the province include the "Glanzh Alco" company for wine, brandy and vodka production in Aramus, the Proshyan factory for wine, vodka, brandy and liqueurs, the "Ptghni Gold" wine factory in Ptghni, the "Bacon" company for meet products in Arzni, and a mechanical enterprise for electrical machines in Balahovit.


Tsaghkadzor spa town is a popular mountain resort in Kotayk with its several hotels and sanatoriums. The Tsaghkadzor ski resort is a major destination for the lovers of winter sports. Many luxury hotels and resorts serve the town during the summer and winter seasons including the Marriott Tsaghkadzor Hotel, Multi Rest House Hotel, Golden Palace Hotel and Resort and Best Western Alva Hotel and Spa. The "Senator Royale" casino of Tsaghkadzor is among the largest entertainment centers in Armenia.

The villages of Hankavan, Pyunik, Agveran, Bjni and Arzni are popular summer resorts and major destinations for medical tourism.

The monastery of Geghard located at the south of province is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated as the Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley. The pagan Temple of Garni and the medieval Kecharis Monastery are also among the attractive monuments of the province.

The province has 3 nature protected areas: the Erenbuni State Reserve, the Arzakan-Meghradzor Sanctuary and the Banks' Pine Grove Sanctuary.


Hrazdan is home to the Humanitarian University of Hrazdan. Owned by the private sector, the university has 3 faculties: law, pedagogy and economics. Abovyan is home to an uncredited university known as the Abovyan University named after Levon Orbeli.

2 major science institutions and research centres are located in Abovyan: the Republican Hospital of tuberculosis and the Institute of Biological Microbes of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

As of the 2015-16 educational year, Kotayk has 103 schools.[4]


Football, basketball and other Olympic sports including weightlifting and wrestling are popular in Kotayk.

FC Kotayk founded in 1955, is one of the oldest football clubs in Armenia. Like many other football teams in the country, the club was forced to default from the Armenian football league and consequently from professional football since 2005, due to financial crisis. The short-lived King Delux FC of Abovyan played a single season in the Armenian First League of 2012-13. Other defunct football teams of Kotayk include FC Moush Charentsavan, Hachen FC, FC Shinarar Hrazdan, FC Yeghvard, FC Dinamo Yeghvard and FC Moush Kasagh.

Abovyan City Stadium is the largest sport venue of the province. Minor stadiums are also located in Yeghvard, Hrazdan, Nor Hachen, Byureghavan, Charentsavan and Kasagh.

The town of Tsaghkadzor is a major centre for sports in general, mainly winter sports. It has a large sports complex as well as a ski resort.

The Zepyur Football Training Camp is located in the village of Pyunik at the north of Kotayk. The Dzoraghbyur Training Centre owned by FC Ararat Yerevan is also located in Kotayk, in the Dzoraghbyur village.


Fortresses and archaeological sites[edit]

Churches and monasteries[edit]

Mashtots Hayrapet Church
Surp Hovhannes church in Abovyan


Tsaghkadzor spa town


The province of Kotayk consists of the following 67 communities (hamaynkner), of which 7 are considered urban and 60 are considered rural.[5]

Towns or urban communities[edit]

Image City (town) Province Founded Land area (km2) Population
(2011 census)
(2016 estimate)
Abovyan city, Armenia.JPG Abovyan Kotayk 1963 11 43,495 44,400
Byureghavan, view from the town.jpg Byureghavan Kotayk 1945 4 9,513 9,300
Charentsavan town1.jpg Charentsavan Kotayk 1947 5 20,363 20,500
Hrazdan town, 2013.jpg Hrazdan Kotayk 1959 22 41,875 41,200
Nor Hachen, Armenia, Church of the Holy Saviour.jpg Nor Hachen Kotayk 1953 2.3 9,307 9,400
Tsarghgadzor summer06.jpg Tsaghkadzor Kotayk 3rd century (first mentioned) 4 1,256 1,200
Yeghvard skyline.jpg Yeghvard Kotayk 6th century (first mentioned) 7 11,672 11,900

Villages or rural communities[edit]

Non-community villages[edit]



  1. ^ Kotayk population, 2011 census
  2. ^ Byureghavan
  3. ^ Armstat: Kotayk Province
  4. ^ Kotayk Province schools
  5. ^ "RA Kotayk Marz" (PDF). Marzes of the Republic of Armenia in Figures, 2002–2006. National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia. 2007. 


External links[edit]