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Amberd 2: Complex. Defensive Walls, Gates (1). Gates


Amberd sits at the confluence of the Amberd and Arkashen (Arkashian) rivers. The complex includes fortifications, the castle, a bath and church, as well as outer defensive positions and a covered walkway to the river below. The site is under substantial renovation, the outer walls being rebuilt with a new path into the complex built over a rocky hillock with a series of stone steps leading to the Amberd gorge rim and the main gate.

Defensive Walls, Gates (1)

The fortress' construction took several centuries to complete and took advantage of its impregnable position, on a rock promontory overlooking the confluence of two rivers, the Amberd and Arkhashen. The Amberd River bank was and still is impassible, requiring defensive walls only at the lowest part. The slope descending to the Arkashen River is steep but passable, requiring full defensive walls all along the top ridge. A northern section completes the walls, blocking access from Mt. Aragats.

The walls are made of cyclopic basalt stone and mortar. The northern battlements were reinforced in the Middle Ages along with the addition of a second battlement; its massive towers 12-13 meters high.

On the rocky peak rising above the rest, a fortified, three-story castle was built, blocking entry from the north and Mt. Aragats.


The North Gate (2) and Northwest Gate (3) controlled access to the site and were built at the same time as the medieval fortifications. Their remains are at the end of the fortified walls that once led from the castle's southwest corner to the Amberd River canyon.

Near the rim a small building with an arched entrance was added later. Another fortification with towers ran from the castle to the Amberd gorge on the Arkashen River side, its semi-circular towers used to hurl projectiles on attackers below. The gates on this wall, as well as the later walls leading to Amberd, were built with fairly small stones set with lime. Larger, more finely cut stones were used in the corners and detailing.