Kakavaberd is one of the few Armenian fortresses that are still relatively well-preserved, making it a great travel destination.
In the heart of the Ararat province, 1,516 meters above the sea level, you’ll be able to find the fortified walls of the Kakavaberd fortress. Located in the middle of the Khosrov State Reserve, the fortress is first mentioned in 9th century, yet it’s estimated that it was built long time before the first record. Kakavaberd is also known by the names Geghi Berd, Keghi Berd or simply Kegh.
According to a legend, once a priest healed the conqueror of Tamerlane. As a token of gratitude, Tamerlane promises to fulfill one humble wish of the priest. The latter asks him to release as many prisoners as he could fit in this little church. Tamerlan agrees, but when the liberated entered the church, the priest turned them into birds and they flew away. Hence the name of the monastery Kakavaberd (Kakav translates as partridge from Armenian and Berd as fortress).
Kakavaberd is an important cultural site with a breathtaking view as it’s located at the ridge overlooking the Azat River. Due to the steep terrain surrounding the fortress, it’s only accessible from one side, the other 3 are rather dangerous. The fortress is one of the few ones in Armenia that managed to stay well preserved despite its age. The remaining walls of the fortress are 2.5 meters thick and the towers are 8 to 10 meters tall. Once inside of the structure, you’ll be able to find ruins of an old church.
Kakavaberd has a very rich historical and cultural value as for many centuries it has been very important site in the shaping of the history for the whole Ararat province. The medieval fortress of Kakavaberd was first mentioned by Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi (9th-10th centuries) as the premise of house of Bagratuni. In 11th century the Kakavaberd castle passed to the house of Pahlavuni, and after to the Proshyan noble family in the 12-13th centuries.
Despite the astonishing visuals, the journey to the fortress is a challenging one. It’s no coincidence that the fortress was considered to be one of the most impregnable of Armenian medieval fortresses. Kakavaberd can only be accessed by foot, yet it still remains a popular tourist destination especially during the warm season.