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The village of Antarashat is located on a plateau 1,300 - 2,393 meters above sea level. Until 1949, the village was known under the name Tortni. The earlier name was derived from the saying “ter orhni,” which translates to “God bless.” Later, influenced by the local dialect, the name Tortni was born. According to another legend though, the place name Tortni is related to the gods Torq and Tir. While still others believe that the name derives from the word “tort” (the sediment at the bottom of large wine jars). However, most probably, the word originates from the Persian word “dorud”, which means “wood”. Indeed, the territory of Antarashat is very wooded. 

The village has two single-nave churches. Both were probably built in the second half of the 17th century and were named after Saint Hripsime.[1] The fact that both churches have the same name might seem strange. But an important historical incident sheds light on the situation. In the 17th century, a group of Catholics stole the relics of several saints including the relics of Saint Hripsime and Saint Gayane. On their way to Iran, they passed through Syunik, but a group of Armenian men managed to gain the relics back. On their way to the Saint Etchmiadzin Church, the villagers left pieces of Saint Hripsime’s relics in different villages. Thus, the churches built on those sites were named after the saint. 

One can also assume that the churches of Antarashat with no inscriptions were also named after Saint Hripsime thanks to this historical memory. [2]

The monuments of Tapasar, Paravaqar, and Harsanaqar are located on the territory of Antarashat.

[1] Most probably were built thanks to the efforts of Movses Khorenatsi or the Catholicos of Syunik. The latter before assuming the post of Catholicos as he was then the prelate of Syunik. He built many monasteries and churches. 

[2] When inscriptions are present it is possible to find out the initial names of the churches. Sometimes also the construction date. 


Harsnaqar is one of the most picturesque places in the village of Antarashat. The villagers tell a peculiar story about the place. Antarashat was frequently attacked by Turkish bandits. Many stories survive about the invasions but here is the most poignant one. Once the village was caught in a wedding celebration. The first part of the celebration took place at the bride’s house. Then it was time to escort the bride with music and with dances to Antarashat—the bridegroom’s village. Thus, at dawn the wife, accompanied by her godparents, left her home village. The Turks took their chance and attacked the unarmed villagers. With no chance for escape but reluctant to die at the enemy’s hands, the villagers and the bride turned into stone. Indeed, the mountain range of Harsnaqar resembles people frozen mid-journey.


Mount Paravaqar faces the village of Antarashat. The name of the mountain Paravaqar has a peculiar history. The villagers thought that the peak of the mountains was reminiscent of a head jewel that elderly Armenian women used to wear (“parav” translates as “elderly woman”). Up until the end of the 20th century, Armenian women were wearing traditional hats decorated with coins and beads. The legend tells the story of a kind old woman who taught young girls breadmaking, advised young brides, and helped the poor. She had a kind character but a tragic fate. All the men of her family died during the war. Feeling useless and refusing to accept her loss, she decided to commit suicide. Thus, she threw herself from Paravaqar. But the generous folds of her traditional clothes kept her safe. The old woman, gazing up into heaven, exclaimed, “Oh Almighty, you saved my life, why didn’t you save my children?” Since that day, the mountain is called Paravaqar.


The mountain plain of Tapasar is at a height of two thousand meters above sea level. According to research and local stories, traces of water animals can be found around the plains. The legend has it that this territory was once covered by water. Later, the waters withdrew and opened a wonderful view with caves, alpine meadows, and stones with traces of aquatic life imprinted on them. A khachkar dating back to the 17th century still stands on the mountain. Shepherds and the villagers of Antarashat continue lighting candles at the holy place.

The Church of the Wind 

The Church of the Wind is located on a hill facing the village of Antarashat. There is an interesting legend about the church. The church received its name thanks to the peculiar shape of a nearby stone: The wind makes an echoing sound when passing through the navel-shaped hole in a stone, or “portaqar”, near the church.  

It is said that women who touch the portaqar with their navel will be cured of infertility. Moreover, ones who manage to pass through the hole of the stone are honest people who will live a long life, while those who fail to come through are dishonest and will live a short life.


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