13 March, 2018 Syunik Region 2753 Views

Khndzoresk cave settlement

Old Khndzoresk cave settlement is set on the right and left slopes of a long valley. The slopes are in turn punctuated by deep gorges. The origin of the name "Khndzoresk" comes from the Armenian word “Khor Dzor” for Deep Canyon.

History
The cave settlement is dated from excavations on the valley floor. Excavators found numerous bones, pottery pieces and utensils from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.  Most of the caves were carved in the late Iron to medieval ages. By 1913, three thousand families lived in valley caves, making the largest village in Eastern Armenia.
The old village was elaborately planned and well made, large homes carved deep into the limestone walls, and additional front rooms, windows, doors, porches and small gardens built in front.
Homes were stacked on top of each other, ingeniously rigged with trap doors and interconnecting tunnels, used in time of invasion to escape into hidden caves where they could hide. Other than the 1800 remaining cave dwellings, finally abandoned in the 1980s, many still used for storage, there are a number of sights worth exploring.

Hripsimeh church
The large triple nave St. Hripsimeh is near the valley floor, on a low shelf of land. The church has a spacious hall with tall columns and windows on the south wall. The window frames and main entry are products of its 1665 renovation, described in an inscription over the western entry. About 100 m from St. Hripsimeh is the Spring Cave, a still sacred site underneath a medieval archway. 
 

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