Amberd Fortress

Amberd Fortress, Armenia

Arpine Asryan

The complex of Amberd or Anberd is situated on the slope of mount Aragats, between the rivers Amberd and Arkhashian, at 2300 m above sea level. Amberd castle was built during the reign of the Bagratids of Ani in the tenth century on top of the ruins of a seventh-century castle, which belonged to their vassals of the Pahlavuni family. The layout of Amberd Castle is irregular. In its northern part is situated the palace that has its own protective walls with two-storey towers. The complex also includes a fortress, the castle, a cistern and bath, a small chapel and the church.

The external longitudinal wall is fortified with three semi-circular towers containing small rooms. The other wall incorporates the windows of the private apartments and embrasures (բացվածք) on the upper floor. The castle probably once had three storeys. In the 1070s, the Seljuks occupied Amberd and made it a military centre. After liberation from the Seljuks in 1196, several dedicatory inscriptions appeared in Amberd, with one among them being in Arabic. After the period of Seljuk control, Amberd was given to the Zakarid brothers. In 1215, the castle became the administrative center of the Vachutian family. Amberd was then attacked and destroyed by the Mongols, and reconstructed by Vache Vachutyan and his wife Mamakhatun. Eventually, the castle was destroyed by the attacks of Lenktemur/Timur  in the late fourteenth century.

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