|• Mayor||Artur Harutyunyan|
|• Total||4 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,841 m (6,040 ft)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|• Density||310/km2 (810/sq mi)|
Tsaghkadzor (Armenian: Ծաղկաձոր, also Romanized as Tsakhkadzor) is a spa town and a popular health resort in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 1,256, down from 3,400 reported in the 1989 census.
Tsaghkadzor literally means valley of flowers in Armenian. The name of Tsaghkadzor is associated with the name of the nearby Tsaghkunyats Mountains, located to the west of the town.
Tsaghkadzor was known as Tsaghkunyats dzor (Ծաղկունյաց ձոր) during the medieval period. In the 11th century, the town was known as Kecharuyk (Կեչառույք) or Kecharis (Armenian: Կեչառիս) derived from the Kecharis Principality under the Armenian Pahlavuni family. Later, during the 17th century, the towns was called Darachichag by the Turkic invaders, keeping the name until 1947, when it was renamed Tsaghkadzor.
The area of modern-day Tsaghkadzor was first settled during the 3rd century. During the 4th and the 5th centuries, the area known as Tsaghkunyats Dzor were granted to the Varazhnuni noble family who had governed the forests and lands used as a hunting ground by the kings of the Arsacid kings. In the 6th century, the territory was granted to the Kamsarakan noble family of the Arsacid origins. Beginning from the 10th century, the house of Kamsarakan merged with the noble family of Pahlavuni, who were also related to the Arsacid dynasty. Grigor Magistros, the leader of the Pahlavuni family and subsequently the head of the Kecharis Principality, built the Kecharis Monastery in 1033, in honor of Gregory the Illuminator. In 1051, he also built the Surp Nshan Church (Holy Sign Church). However, with the foundation of the Armenian principality by the Zakarid dynasty, the territory of Tsaghkunyats Dzor witnessed a significant rise in the economic and cultural life under the rule of the Khaghbakyan and later by the Proshyan noble families, during the 13th and the 14th centuries.
During the later centuries, the region was turned into a frequent battlefield between the Ottomans and Persians. After the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828, Tsaghkadzor and the surrounding areas became part of the Erivan Governorate within the Russian Empire.
During the Soviet era, Tsaghkadzor has been developed as a major spa town and health resort, intending to attract a large number of tourists. First, it was given the status of an urban-type settlement in 1958. Many historical buildings and dachas built by the businessmen and merchants of Yerevan and Tbilisi before the Soviet rule, were either nationalized in favour of the state or sold in auctions. Later in 1984, Tsaghkadzor was given the status of a town.
After the independence of Armenia, Tsaghkadzor has mainly flourished since 2000. With the foundation of many luxurious hotels and sanatoriums, the town became a major winter resort attracting large numbers of ski and snowboard enthusiasts from all over the world. It is one of the main destinations of the visitors of Armenia.
On 11 August 2008, around 90 American Peace Corps volunteers, trainees and staff members were relocated to Tsaghkadzor from the Republic of Georgia as a precaution during the military conflict with Russia.
Tsaghkadzor is located 50 kilometers north of the capital Yerevan and 3 kilometers east of the provincial centre Hrazdan. Surrounded with alpine meadows, the town is situated on the southeastern slope of the Teghenis Mountains, at a height of 1841 meters above sea level. The Tsaghkunyats mounatain range is located to the west of the town.
- Kecharis Monastery, is one of the most important religious complexes of Eastern Armenia and one of the well-preserved medieval architectural samples of the Armenian Highland. It was founded at the beginning of the 11th century, consisted of 4 separate adjacent churches. The main church of the complex is the Saint Gregory Church built in 1033. The church of Surp Nshan built in 1051, is located to the south of Saint Gregory Church. The Katoghike Church built at the beginning of the 13th century, stands to the south of Surp Nshan Church. The fourth church of the complex is the Church of Surp Harutyun of 1220.
- House-museum of Brothers Orbeli, is dedicated to the Armenian scientists Ruben, Levon and Joseph Orbeli who were native of Tsaghkadzor. Professor Ruben Orbeli was the founder of marine archaeology and one of the major specialists of ocean engineering. Physiologist Levon Orbeli was a prominent member of the USSR and Armenian SSR academies of science. Scientist Joseph Orbeli was an orientalist specialized in medieval history of South Caucasus. He administered the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg between 1934 and 1951.
Economy and tourism
The infrastructure of tourism is highly developed in Tsaghkadzor, with many luxurious hotels, resorts and amusement facilities. The Tsaghkadzor ski resort is located just above the town, on a height of 1750 meters above sea level. During the recent years the ski resort was fully modernized. All ropeway lifts are manufactured and operated by Leitner Group. The current structure replaced existing soviet era lifts, mostly following their path. There were initially three consecutive lifts stretching from the foot of the mountain (1969m above sea level) up till the mountain peak (2819m), with the first and second lifts ending at 2234m and 2465m above sea level respectively. In 2006 a fourth lift was added, stretching from the end of the first stage towards an opposite hilltop, thus adding two trails, both leading down to the foot of the slopes. Apart from the lifts the resort offers ski and snowboard rental as well as skiing instructors. The skiing season in Tsaghkadzor normally starts in mid December and stretches well into March with the top slopes often fit for skiing in April.
The Olympic Sports Complex of Tsaghkadzor was built in 1967, specifically to serve for the preparation of the Soviet athletes for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Currently, the sports complex which was entirely renovated in 2007, is considered one of the most developed training facilities in the South Caucasus. The complex provides training areas for 35 types of sports including a regular-sized association football pitch with athletics track, indoor sports hall, indoor swimming pool, diving pool, skiing and snowboarding tracks, fitness halls, modern hotel and sanatorium with many other facilities.
Many luxury hotels and resorts serve the town during the summer and winter seasons including the Marriott Tsaghkadzor Hotel, Multi Rest House Hotel, Golden Palace Hotel and Resort, Best Western Alva Hotel and Spa, Baden-Baden Hotel, World of Gold Hotel, Kecharis Hotel, Alpina Holiday Home, Writers Creativity House Complex, Splendor Resort, Nairi Hotel, Tsaghkaovit Hotel, Aliq Recreation Zone and the Tsaghkadzor Sports Complex Hotel.
The "Senator Royale" casino of Tsaghkadzor is among the largest entertainment centers in Armenia.
The view from the second ski route at the Tsaghkadzor ski resort
- Avout Tsaghkadzor
- "Tsaghkadzor official web: Orbeli brothers' house-museum".
- WinterArmenia Ski Info
- "Sister cities". Tsaghkadzor official website. Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tsaghkadzor.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tsaghkadzor.|
- VisitArm.com - All hotels in Tsaghkadzor
- Tsaghkadzor.com - Tsaghkadzor Travel Guide
- Tsakhkadzor Ski Resort - Armenia's Undiscovered Winter Destination