Occupied as consequence of the 2020 Azeri-Turkish aggression. Its current status is unknown,

In the ancient gavar (province, region) of Myus Haband, later gavar of Dizak, now the Hadrut region, between the Togh, Tumi and Tagher villages, there used to be, on top of a mountain, a fortress that has been variously called Ktish, then Ktich, then Gtich and later Fortress of Togh. Now only ruins remain of the fortress. In the 9th century Arab invader troops surrounded the fortress but Price Apumuseh, who had revolted against the Arabs, did not surrender and after months of siege and great losses the Arabs had to propose peace.

An aerial view of the Gtich Monastery (Gtchavank). The fortress used to be on the mountain top on the right.

Gtcha vank or Gtichi vank, (Gtich Monastery) that has been also called Tilna vank (Tilna Monastery), built on Toghasar (Mount of Togh) comprising a domed church and a narthex, is one of the best examples of the Armenian architecture of Artsakh. According to inscriptions on the site, the present church was founded in 1241 and completed in 1248 by two Amaras monks, brothers Sargis and Vrtanes. The church that is adjacent to the narthex and completely ruined, had been built earlier. In historical annals the monastery was mentioned in the 8th century. The monastery was an important centre of writing and research and received due attention by the governing meliks. It is also a known fact that when the famous writer Raffi wrote his “Khamsai melikutyunner” (Melikdoms of Khamsa) he relied on historical references in the writings of Archimandrite Arakel Kostanyants, the Abbot of the Gtich Monastery.

Gtchavank after restoration. Photo courtesy of Raffi Kortoshian, Director, Research on Armenian Architecture.

The monastery thrived during the period from the 12th to 14th century. It consists of two adjacent churches, a narthex and living quarters. The monastery was also presented with extensive stretches of lands. In the 15th century, Gtich became a manuscript producing centre. In 1868 an earthquake destroyed the one-nave church and damaged the domed main one, after which they fell into disuse. It was being restored by the NKR Government until its occupation in 2020.