berdavan castle
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"Ghalinjakar Castle of Berdavan - General View"
© 2002 Raffi Kojian, All Rights Reserved
Location in ArmeniaThere is not much more to this castle than you can see in the picture, but it is an attractive structure, originally thought to be built in the 10-11th cc, and rebuilt in the 17th. Just a couple hundred meters from the tense border with Azerbaijan, it is not recommended you wander far from the site.

From Koghb, a road leads NE to Berdavan (2494 v, once Kalacha). Turning right, an asphalt road winds down through the village. Where two dirt roads fork, take the left hand, cross the stream, and then bear left again at the next fork, leading (jeeps only) to a picturesque 10-11th c. Ghalinjakar castle* on a hill near the Azerbaijan border. There are large khachkars in the village. [Paragraph Source: Rediscover Armenia Guide]

Berdavan village of Noyemberyan region is situated 5 km from the center, on the Ayrum-Noyemberyan road. The old village, from which only sings are left, was situated in southeastern side of Berdavan and was abandoned in the end of past century because of unfavorable living conditions (not enough drinking water, mosquitoes, etc.). Berdavan is known by the temple not far from he village placed on a hill on the right side of "Koghba Jur". The whole walls preserved. In scheme they have equal-side triangle shape in east-west direction. It's interesting that by the serf wall, around the inward yard, there used to be constructions (shelters, stores, etc.). About it evidence the clay plates, metallic axe, etc. The wall from outside are fastened with 11 pyramids like and rolls, two of which with about 2m radius are placed in western wall corner, the others are with 1.2-1.5 radius, on the border of the surrounding walls, where the serf wall is comparatively higher and opens to a field.

The walls were 1.2m wide, and conditioned by the relief had different height. In present the southwestern walls are 5.5m high and the westnorthern ones 10.5m high (the pyramids are as high as the walls). There are windows with 12-15cm openings at the top of the walls and probably served for looking outside. There are holes 1m lower than the windows and the logs left from other constructions stand out inside them.

The only entry 1m wide is from W side with tuff pointed end. There are stairs towards south from the entry. The fortress used to have a secret passage taking to the canyon. Part of it with average man's height can be seen from the bottom part of E tower corner. The tower is empty and has a high door taking to the secret passage. It is built of roughly processed yellowish felzit small stone and limestone. The bottom parts as well as the borders of the openings are built of clearly processed comparatively larger separate stone. The walls are plastered. There are brick reconstructions inside.

There are decorative splinters in the walls (probably belonging to earlier period). One of them is the equal-winged cross in a circle on the SE corner wall of the tower. A rectangle slab with equal-winged cross picture was found from under the stones by the S wall.

Berdavan fortress supposably is the Ghalinjakar temple remembered by an unnamed XIII c Georgian historian. It appears that Berdavan existed at least since XIII c. the remainders of the present temple do not give enough reasons for identification as they belong to late medieval times, probably to XVII c. Still the XII c temple could be essentially reconstructed in XVII c.

In 1983 reconstruction of the fortress began. Ruins are all cleared out. The top ramshackle part of serf walls and towers were destroyed and reconstructed, two towers in northeastern part are being reconstructed, etc.

200 m towards southwest from the fortress in the territory of medieval cemetery a three-nave church is situated. A pair of arches divided the rectangle praying hall (12.55 x 7.75m) into three naves, the middle one of which in eastern part ended with a half-round bay with high stage. Two vestibules are placed on its sides. There used to be wall-pillars by the southern and northern walls, from which preserved the bearings and the remainders of the arches. There are no remainders left from longitudinal arches, though the walls have their original height. The only entry of the church is from the northern side, which is probably built of stones taken from another monument.

There are two iron rings in either side of the entry, which tells that there used to be a wooden hall in front of the entry. An old khachkar serves as lintel for the bay. The walls are built of half-processed yellowish felzite small stone, and the arches, pillars and everything else from clearly processed big pieces of the same stone. There are khachkar splinters set in walls (probably by chance).

The monument by its scheme, decoration, building technique prompts its being built in late medieval time, close to foundation time of the fortress.

Walls of the chapel situated 50 m towards south from the church included a pair of khachkars (XII-XIII cc) on high pedestal. A medieval cemetery stretches around it with many tombstones, statues and khachkars. Especially noteworthy is the big khachkar leaning on cube-shaped pedestal with cross images and pictures of standing people figures on its eastern side.

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