The Nikol Duman House Museum and Ethnographic District are located in the picturesque village of Tsaghkashat (Ghshlagh) along the main road between Stepanakert and Gandzasar, roughly 22 kilometers past Stepanakert, which has been largely restored to recreate 19th century village life in the Askeran Region. Tsaghkashat is a quaint village of roughly 200 indigenous inhabitants who are mainly occupied with cattle breeding and wheat farming. The age-old tradition of winemaking is also being revived in the village.
Tsaghkashat is surrounded by many historical monuments, including the ruins of Vaka Monastery. The village cemetery is home to a number of wonderfully ornamented khachkars (cross-stones) carved by the old masters.
Nikol Duman (Nikoghayos Ter-Hovhannisyan) was born on January 12, 1867 in the village of Tsaghkashat. He was an agent of the Armenian national liberation movement and a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He graduated from the Regional School of Shushi in 1887 and went on to become a teacher at several Armenian schools in the Southern Caucasus.
Between 1894 and 1896, while teaching at the Armenian schools of Tabriz and Salmast (Iran), he participated in important battles that were fought in the region, which earned him the nickname Duman (storm). During the Armenian-Tatar clashes of 1905-06, he led the Armenian defense forces of Baku, the entire Yerevan State and the Ararat Valley. Duman was not able to participate in the Armenian resistance movement that began in 1914 due to a severe illness, and a true freedom fighter at heart, he was not able to cope with the feeling of idleness. He took his own life on September 27, 1914. The museum is set in the house where Nikol Duman, the revered Armenian freedom fighter, was born. This beautiful two-story 19th century home, adorned with an intricately carved wooden balcony, has been fully restored in keeping with its original architectural design. The main room is dedicated to the life and work of Nikol Duman. Maps, diagramms, guns and other military equipment are on display, shedding light onto the clashes between Armenians and Tatar-Turks in the 19th and early 20 centuries in Baku, Yerevan, Nakhichevan and other major Armenian centers. The Ethnographic District includes several restored buildings in the vicinity of the museum, giving visitors a feel for life in Karabakh in the 19th century. The house of Khanasori Vardan, Duman’s fellow Armenian freedom fighter, is found nearby and has also recently been restored.
Be sure to stop by the tonratoon (traditional Armenian wood-burning oven) and try the fresh tonrahats (flatbread baked) before your eyes, a sight and taste you will surely savor Karabakh is famous for its quality carpets and rugs. Different regions have developed their own style, patterns and color-specific designs. Although you can find a variety of carpets throughout the Ethnographic District, it is only at the nearby carpet-weaving studio that you can watch contemporary masters weave Karabakh carpets using age-old methods. Carpets and other local handicrafts are available for sale at the souvenir boutique around the corner. The ethnographic village of Tsaghkashat often hosts concerts, carnivals and traditional shows. A few of the recently restored 19th century structures now serve as comfortable guesthouses.
At Maran, a traditional tavern, you can sample local cuisine like homemade bread, cheese, pickles, and of course, Karabakh’s specialty, jinkyalov hatz (a thin, doughy bread pocket filled with fresh greens some of which are only found in Karabakh). To compliment your meal, try one of the local wines, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the ever-potent local favorite, tti oghi (mulberry vodka). To fully immerse yourself in the late 19th century environment, you may choose to enjoy your meal in the garden, under the shade of the mulberry trees. The “Persian Room” is located in the cellar of the 7th building. In this charming room with a medieval eastern flair, you can relax, smoke nargile (water pipe) and savor eastern sweets.
The museum works without days off and holidays. It's open from 10:00 till 19:00 every day. The entrance is free, however it is accepted to leave tip for the serving personnel and make donations for the development of the complex.
Address: Tsakhkashat village, Askeran region, RMK.
Phone: +374 47 944758
17:57 December 06, 2012