Kotayk Province It is located at the central part of the country. Its capital is Hrazdan and the largest city is Abovyan. It is named after the Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia. Kotayk is bordered by Lori Province from the north, Tavush Province from the northeast, Gegharkunik Province from the east, Aragatsotn Province from the west, and Ararat Province and the capital Yerevan from the south. Kotayk is the only province in Armenia that has no borders with foreign countries.
The province is home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions in Armenia including the 1st-century Temple of Garni, the medieval Bjni Fortress, 11th-century Kecharis Monastery and the 13th-century monastery of Geghard. Kotayk is also home to the popular winter sports resort and the spa-town of Tsaghkadzor and the mountain resort of Aghveran.
Etymology and symbol
Kotayk Province is named after the historic Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia, directly ruled by the royal Arsacid dynasty. Kotayk was first mentioned as an Armenian region by Ptolemy as Kotakene. According to Movses Khorenatsi, the name Kotayk is derived from an ancient nearby settlement called Kutis. The symbol of Kotayk is the lion of Geghard depicted on the coat of arms of the province, standing on a traditional Armenian sundial from Kecharis Monastery, surround by a bunch of Armenian grapes from both sides. The decorative statue of the lion of Geghard was erected in 1958 among the mountains of Kotayk, on the way to the 4th-century Geghard monastery. It is derived from the decorative lions carved on the walls of the monastery. The 1st-century pagan Temple of Garni is also depicted on the coat of arms of Kotayk.
Situated at the central part of modern-day Armenia, Kotayk covers an area of 2,089 km2 (807 sq mi) (7% of total area of Armenia). It is bordered by Gegharkunik Province from the east, Tavush Province from the northeast, Lori Province from the north, Aragatsotn Province from the west, Ararat Province from the south and the capital Yerevan from the southwest. Historically, the current territory of the province mainly occupies parts of the Aragatsotn, Kotayk, Varazhnunik and Mazaz cantons of Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia. Kotayk occupies the northeastern part of the Ararat plain. The Kotayk plain located between Hrazdan and Azat rivers has a height of 1,200–1,500 m (3,937–4,921 ft) above sea level. It is dominated by the Gegham mountainsfrom the northeast including the mountains of Azhdahak, Hatis and Gutanasar. The province approximates the Pambak mountains at the north, while the Tsaghkunyats mountains lie at the west, and the Voghjaberd mountains at the southwest of Kotayk. Affected by the Gegham volcanoes, the land relief of Kotayk is covered with lava and tuf. Hrazdan, Getar and Azat are the 3 major rivers of the province. Lake Akna located at a height of 3,032 m (9,948 ft), is the only lake in the province. The climate of the province is quite diversified. It ranges between arid and semi-arid climate at the south, and snowy climate at the centre and the north. Annual precipitation levels are less than 200 mm (7.9 in) at the dry areas, while it ranges between 400 and 900 mm (35.4 in) at the heights in the centre and the north of the province.
The earliest records about the region date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. According to Ptolemy, Kotayk was directly ruled by the Arsacid kings of Armenia. However, during the 4th and the 5th centuries, the territories were granted to the Varazhnuni noble family who governed the forests and lands used as a hunting ground by the kings of the Arsacid kings. Later between the 5th and 7th centuries, the region was granted to the Kamsarakan and Amatuni families, under the Persian rule. Between the 7th and 9th centuries, Armenia suffered from the Arab Islamic occupation. By the end of the 9th century, the region became part of the newly established Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the region suffered from the Seljuk, Mongol, Ag Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu invasions, respectively. At the beginning of the 16th century, the territory of modern-day Kotayk became part of the Erivan Beglarbegi within the Safavid Persia. During the first half of the 18th century, the territory became part of the Erivan Khanate under the rule of the Afsharid dynasty and later under the Qajar dynasty of Persia. It remained under the Persian rule until 1827-1828, when Eastern Armenia was ceded by the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28 and the signing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay. With the fall of the Russian Empire and after the decisive Armenian victories over the Turks in the battles of Sardarabad, Abaran, and Gharakilisa, the region became part of the independent Armenia in May 1918. After 2 years of brief independence, Armenia became part of the Soviet Union in December 1920. After the World War II, Kotayk witnessed major growth and development under the soviet rule. Many new urban settlements and industrial centres were established in the region, including the towns of Byureghavan(1945), Charentsavan (1947), Nor Hachn (1953), Hrazdan (1959) and Abovyan (1963). Thus Kotayk had gradually become a major industrial region within the Armenian SSR. Between 1930 and 1995, modern-day Kotayk was divided into 3 raions: Kotayk raion, Nairi raion, and Hrazdan raion. With the territorial administration reform of 1995, the 3 raions were merged to form the Kotayk Province.
According to the 2011 official census, Kotayk has a population of 254,397 (123,524 men and 130,873 women), forming around 8.4% of the entire population of Armenia. The urban population is 137,481 (54%) and the rural is 116,916 (46%). The province has 7 urban and 60 rural communities. The largest urban community is the town of Abovyan, with a population of 43,495. The other urban centres are Hrazdan, Charentsavan, Yeghvard, Byureghavan, Nor Hachn, and Tsaghkadzor. With a population of 7,198, the village of Jrvezh is the largest rural municipality of Kotayk.
Photo By: Artur Martirosyan
Hiking Tour to Kotayk Province
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