/ VIIth-Xlth centuries
complex of Amberd is set on the slopes of Mt. Aragats 7 kilometers from
Biwrakan. It stands on a long rocky promontory rising between two steep
valleys. The fortress which goes back to the Vllth century (with
enlargements in the Xlth and Xlllth centuries) defended the plain from
northern attacks. This is born out by the presence of a massive keep
with basalt towers. Amberd was one of the main fortresses of the
Bagratids and subsequently of the Zacharids.
The remains of various buildings are found within the walls, among these
are interesting baths, a cistern and a small basilica with two cupolas
in axis. The church which is still standing dates from the Xlth century.
It consists of a domed hall flanked by small apsidal chapels, a formula
generally adopted in monastic complexes. The form of the dome is marked
on the exterior by an umbrella shaped roof. The drum is regularly
divided by means of twin half-columns.