Martuni Region

MartuniTchartarHatsiBri Yeghtsi
Anahit's SpringNorshenThe platane treeShoshkavank


The administrative centre of the region of the same name, Martuni was called Khonashen until 1925. It is 41 kilometres to the east of Stepanakert, 400 metres above sea level, on the left bank of the Khonashen river. 

Some parts of the region are at present occupied by Azerbaijan. The region has over three hundred and fifty monuments of culture and history.

The building of the Palace of Culture of the town of Martuni. It is designed by Alexander Tamanyan, the most famous of Armenian architects, whose buildings define contemporary Yerevan. This building has the same design as Tamanyan’s State Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Yerevan, an architectural landmark. The same design has been used to build the Palace of Culture in the village of Tchartar, again in the Martuni region.
The building of Martuni’s regional administration.
A monument to Monte Melkonyan, popularly also known as Avo. Monte dedicated himself wholly to defending Artsakh and was the head of the Martuni region Defence Forces. He organized the defence of the region in the most unpromising times, encouraged everyone and led in battles of liberation of several settlements. He is much loved and revered in Artsakh and the rest of Armenia.
The St. Nerses Mets (Nerses the Great) Church in Martuni, built in 2004.


Tchartar is a town in the Martuni region, 16 kilometres south-west of the centre, 650 metres above sea level.

It was first mentioned in the 4th century. Among the monuments are the 18th century Amenaprkich (Saviour of All) Church in the town, ruins of shrines, chapels and hermitages in the vicinity. It was subject to attacks during the Artsakh Liberation War.

The Palace of Culture in Tchartar town is the same as the one in Martuni town and repeats the design of the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Yerevan, all of which have been designed by Alexander Tamanyan.


Hatsi is a village in the Martuni region, 28 kilometres north-west of Martuni, the administrative centre, 900 metres above sea level. It has been a settlement site since the 5th century. Hatsi is famous for its 12th-13th century Bri Yeghtsi Monastic Complex at the edge of the village and the Anahit Spring. It also has a Holy Mother of God 13th century church in the village and many cross-stones. Like many other villages, it has been subjected to Azerbaijani attacks during the latest Liberation War.

Bri Yeghtsi Church

Bri Yeghtsi is a large group of monuments to the east of the Hatsi village. Although a preserved inscription dates back to 12th-13th centuries, some architectural elements and oral tradition point to a culture going back to the pagan times. Certain architectural pieces from the 5th-7th centuries can be found scattered on the ground around the churches. The complex comprises two adjacent churches, another small church, a chapel and khachkars in three separate arched structures. 

Anahit’s Spring

According to a folk story, one Prince of the land, Vachagan, who was very fond of hunting, one day, together with his servant, is lost in the forests and finds himself in a village. There he comes to a spring where young maidens have come to take water. He asks for a cup of water and when one of the maidens tries to hand him the cup, another turns that cup down and pours water out of it. The same happens six or seven times and the Prince gets impatient and asks for an explanation. Anahit, the girl, explains that she was stalling the time so that the man (not knowing who he was) who, while hunting has perspired, can cool down, so that the cold water will not harm his health. Not revealing who he was but obviously very impressed, the Prince leaves, but in a few days sends his mediators to ask for Anahit’s hand. Her father tells the people from the Royal Court that it is Anahit’s decision. The maiden says she will  marry a man who knows a craft, she does not care if he is a prince. Vachagan, in love, marries Anahit only after he learns carpet weaving. In fact, that skill saves his life. After becoming King, he is taken hostage in some lands that are out of his control. He weaves a beautiful carpet with a hidden message and tells his captors the Queen will pay good money for the piece. Anahit reads the messages, saves the King  and after that her wit helps the King to rule with more wisdom and success. This story has been made popular by the writer Ghazaros Aghayan. There are several places in Karabakh that are related to Anahit’s name.

Anahit's spring in Hatsi.
Traditional way of life: boys in Hatsi carry water from Anahit's spring in a winter afternoon. 


Norshen village is 27 kilometres north-west of Martuni, 800 metres above sea level. 

The St. Hovhannes Church (18th c) is half-ruined, and there are sites of former villages and cemeteries around it.

Everyday life in Norshen.
A mulberry garden in winter, below. Mulberry has long been a staple fruit in Artsakh. Its leaves have been used for production of natural silk and the fruit - for making spirits, the famous high-proof Artsakh vodka, to which the locals attribute their longevity and strength.
A nature scene in Martuni .

The 2000-year old platane tree 

This famous platane tree near Skhtorashen (which can be translated as “Garlicville”) village is over 2000 years old. It is 54 metres high, the trunk perimeter is 27 metres and the hollow in the trunk has an area of 44 square metres. Its foliage casts a shadow over 1,400 square metres.


Msmna village

Shoshkavank (Shoshka monastery) at the village of Msmna was built in the 12th century and restored in 2000. Built on top of a hill, it offers good views of Martuni region.

Ruins of the Holy Mother of God Church (19th c) and 9th-17th khachkars can be found in the village. 

A view from Shoskavank.
A view from Shoskavank.