Hadrout region occupies the south-eastern part of the Republic of Artsakh. It borders with Martouni, Askeran and Shoushi regions in the north and with Kashatagh region in the west. The southern boundary passes through the river of Arax which from time immemorial is called "Mother of the Armenian rivers". The state boundary of RA with the Islamic Republic of Iran also passes through the Arax. The eastern boundary of Hadrout region is therewith the state boundary with Azerbaijan.
The total area of Hadrout region is a little over 1800 sq.km. It has the population of 12000 people.
The southern and south-eastern parts of the region are comparatively flat. The mountain masses, covered with dark forests and alpine meadows are situated in the north and north-west. One of the highest peaks of Artsakh, the mountain of Dizapayt, is situauted here as well. The river of Ishkhanaget, falling into the Arax, flows along the territory of the region. The regional center, Hadrout city, is situated 75 km away from the capital of RA, Stepanakert. At the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th cc. Hadrout was the second important locality after Shoushi.
Hadrout region, known in the history of Armenia under the name Dizak as well, is fairly considered the open-air museum. The region is famous for a number of monastic complexes and churches, old settlements and fortresses. The famous Armenian actor V. Papazyan during his visit to Hadrout said phrase that became a popular quotation in Karabakh: “If Karabakh is a golden ring, Hadrout is a brilliant on this ring”.
The most famous places of interest in Hadrout are: Gtchavank (13c.), Azokh cave, the Palace of Dizak meliks – princes of Yeganyans (18-19cc.), the monastery of Okhty Drni, Sourb Haroutyoun church (St. Resurrection) in Hadrout (17c.), the cloister of Takhaser (17c.), Ijevanatun (caravansary) near the locality of Kargabazar on highway of Hadrout-Martouni, the house-museum of air marshal, the hero of the Soviet Union, A. Khanpheryants (Khudyakov) in his native village Mets Tagher. Through Hadrout region there passes the road to the valley of the river of Arax.
Not far from the village of Togh, near the road to the monastery of Gtchavank there is a recreational area with the modern aqua park, along the territory of which flows the crystal pure stream. The separate sectors with all the conveniences equipped for the family rest are situated in the shade of the big trees.
Hadrout region is rich not only in monuments “of the extreme old times”, but also in natural resources such as virgin forests and pure springs, that make it attractive to the lovers of the extreme tourism, pedestrian and equestrian walks.
HADROUT CITY The exact day of the foundation of the regional center of Hadrout is unknown, but on its territory one can meet cultural monuments of pre-christian period. It is known for certain that by the end of 16th century there had been a settlement named Honashen (from Armenian “hon” – cornel, “shen” – settlement), which later was renamed into Hadrout (interfluve). There still persist the old quarters of Hadrout with narrow twisting streets, where there are still houses of 18-19cc, Sourb Haroutyoun (St. Resurrection) church of 17th century the huge platan tree, the age of which is more than 800 years.
A. Mkrtchyan historical museum of local lore is of great interest for travelers. The museum is the home for interesting exhibits and rarities relating to the history of the region and Karabakh as well.
Situated in a kilometer’s distance from Hadrout the village of Tyak, where old springs, houses, paved streets still persist, is also of big interest. A huge plane tree which is a place of interest grows near the spring. A picturesque view opens from the village and stretches many kilometers around.
SOURB HAROUTYOUN CHURCH (THE CHURCH OF ST. RESURRECTOIN) (17c.), built in 1621, is the main remarkable sight, situated in old quarter. The church has a rectangular planning and is covered with the thick stone slabs threaded into each other with the help of rolls and riffles with such an accuracy that even four centuries later the water doesn’t seep into. In the church yard hedged with the wall gravestones of 18-19cc still persist, where priors of the church and soldiers falled in the battle lie. There remains the arch of the gates leading to the church yard. Inscriptions on the walls of the church about the events of that time and khachkars (cross-stones) with ornament embed into the walls persist till our days. At present time the church is restorated and is functioning.
THE MONASTERY OF SPITAKKHACHVANK (THE MONASTERY OF WHITE CROSS) is situated southward of Hadrout, near the village of Vank. The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is unknown, but the latest time of its foundation must be considered the 14 century. Apart from the church there stands a memorial khachkar, embed into the half-destroyed niche, with which the following legend is connected: Tamburlaine having conquered almost the whole Artsakh and having reached up to Spitakkhachvank, ordered to destroy the wall with niche and to throw the stones into Arax, flowing 35-40km away from the monastery. With that aim he formed his soldiers in the huge human chain up to Arax. They handed stones from this wall and sank them in Arax. But at night the niche was miraculously restored by the angels. And this repeated every time. Not succeeded in the destruction of the shrine, Tumberlaine had to leave this region.
The cloister of Takhaser is situated in the village of the same name in the outskirts of Hadrout and consists of the church and half-destroyed monastic cells walled by fortress, of which only fragments has remained. According to the building inscription it was built in 17 c.
THE VILLAGE OF TOGH On the highway north-south, on the picturesque slope of the mountain the village of Togh is situated, that is the ex-residence of Dizak meliks in 17-19 cc. Numerous old houses and other architectural monuments persist in the village. The most famous of them is the church of Sourb Stepanos, sourb Hovhannes, the palace of meliks – princes of Yeganyans.
SOURB STEPANOS CHURCH, as some researchers consider, was founded on the place of the ancient pagan temple. In the mid of 18c. the Dizak melik Yegan restored the overhead cover of the church. 51 khachkars (cross-stones) are immured into the walls of the church.
SOURB HOVHANNES CHURCH is situated in the center of Togh and has remained in quite a good state. According to the historian-researcher M. Barkhudaryants, the church basilica was built in 13c.This church, as well as many other buildings for public worship in Artsakh was founded on the place of pagan shrine. The foundation of the chapel that served as the burial vault for the princes of Dizak, Yeganyan meliks, is situated near.
THE PALACE OF DIZAK YEGANYAN PRINCES (MELICS). The two-storied palace represents in itself an interesting architectural complex that consists of living space, utility room and waiting room of melik Yegan. The palace ensemble had been created gradually during the 20-30-s of 18c. and had been expanded by new constructions up to the mid of 19c. In spite of some changes in aparank (palace) made in the course of time, it practically kept its primeval view. Sitting and living spaces are grouped in three places. The facades are directed to the inner yard and are connected with each other by the fortress wall. Walking into the palace you will find yourself in the atmosphere of the noble ancestral home of the Artsakh meliks. The rooms have the arched overhead covers, paved floors, and Armenian fireplace – bukharies. The inscriptions on the wall testify the historical events of that time. The palace gives an obvious idea of traditionally Caucasian, in particularly, Armenian houses of 18-19cc. Since 2009 the aparank has been in the process of restoration, after the accomplishment of which the museum of Artsakhian carpets and fancywork is supposed to be opened.
GTCHAVANK MONASTERY Not far from the village of Togh, on the north-eastern slope of Chgnavor mountain (the mountain of hermit), among the thick forests is Gtchavank monastery, one of the medieval political and spiritual centres of Artsakh. Known since the early Middle Ages the monastery was destroyed during the period of the Arabian domination in 7c and was rebuilt in 13c by two brothers – bishops Ter-Sargis and Ter-Vrdanes. Works on the construction lasted seven years, from 1241 to 1248. In 18c the territory of the monastery was expanded with the support of Dizak melik – prince Yegan.
From the architectural point of view the complex of Gtchavank is one of the most interesting monuments of the enturies-old Armenian culture. The monastery consists of the main church with vestibule more ancient than the church itself, and the second church adjoining to the vestibule from the north. In the western part of the complex the ruins of living spaces and defensive walls remained. On the territory of the complex magnificent khachkars (cross-stones) remain, the oldest of which dates back to the 9c. The monastery played a great role in the cultural life of Artsakh. Numerous valuable manuscripts created here have persisted till our days and, luckily, were not damaged with the lapse of time. By its architectural merit and exceptional role in the cultural life of Artsakh the monastery of Gtchavank stands in the same rank with such masterpieces of Armenian architecture as Gandzasar and Amaras.
Since 2007 the restoration works have been carried on in the monastery.
AZOKH (VORVANE) CAVE The cave, situated near the village of Azokh, is one of the most ancient and famous sites of the primitive man in the world. This habitation of the ancient man has many entries and exits, six big spaces like labyrinth, the biggest of which occupies the area of 3000 sq.m. Here for the first time in the so called Acheulian stratum of the archaeological culture there were discovered stone work tools and hunting tools of the primitive man, that lived here more than 300.000 years ago. Here the drawings on the walls testifying of his first attempt to learn the world with the help of the art, the fossil remains of plant and animal world of that time were discovered as well.
Near the southern entrance to the cave at a depth of 7m the archaeologists found the big jaw-bone of the Neanderthal man. The discovered remains of the first owner of Azokh cave is surely a phenomenon of great importance. Before that the remains of Neanderthal man were discovered in four regions: in Sidi-Abd Eragman (Marocco), in Steinheim (Germany), Spanocombe (England) and Sediadelle Diabolon (Italy). The discovered jaw of the Neanderthal man in Azokh cave got the 5th number. The Azokh discovery is important not only from the point of view of the restoration of the physical image of the Neanderthal man, but it also confirms the position of those researchers that consider Armenia and Caucasus one of the places of origin and early habitation of the ancient man once and for all.
At the end of 19th c the statue of the woman in national clothes roughly carved of the stone was found here. The colony of night bat (near200.000 individuals) living in the labyrinths of Azokh cave is of great scientific interest. They number in five species, some of which can be met nowhere but in Azokh cave.
’'The cave of treasures” hasn’t revealed all its secrets yet. This huge settlement of the primitive man has been systematically researched by Armenian-English-Spanish archaeological expedition since 2003.
THE MONASTERY OF OKHTY DRNI (SEVEN DOORS) The monastery is situated not far from Gtchavank near the village of Mokhrenes on the picturesque slope of the mountain. According to the legend, the monastery was built by the sister of seven brothers fallen in the fight with conquerors. The tradition to light seven candles in the monastery in memory of seven dead brothers has continued to this day. The church is interesting not only because it’s one of the ancient places for public worship in Artsakh, but also because the main church is considered to be the only monument of that type on the territory of RA.
The monastic complex consists of three main buildings: vestibule, church and the building, of which the bottom laying is all that remained. The exact date of the building is not known, but the researches done allow to refer the building to the early Middle Ages. Some researchers refer it to 570s. On the territory of the monastery there have remained khachkars (cross-stones), the most ancient of which dates back to the 10-12 cc.