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Aruch 4: Caravansarai

Aruch Caravanserai

The Aruch Caravanserai dates to the 13th century. The medieval roadside inn was located on the road connecting the Bagratuni capital of Ani with Dvin, part of the network of routes on Armenia's Silk Road. This particular route traced the Ararat Valley as it wound its way south to Persia, west to the Byzantine Empire, north to the kingdom of Georgia and east to the Caspian Sea and central Asia. Medieval caravanserais were built on highways, trade routes, in big cities and monasteries. They had an important role in the development of international trade.

The inn included a large area with a single entry tall enough to allow pack-laden beasts (camels, donkeys and horses) to enter, plus room for caravan leaders and their servants. At Aruch the central hall was used to house animals (with troughs for hay and water) while the side aisles were reserved for their owners and servants. Judging by their size and frequency in Armenia, caravanserais were popular stops on well-marked routes. Traces of caravanserais can be found throughout Armenia, with especially well-reconstructed ones at Jrapi village on the border near Ani (Shirak marz), and on the Selim Pass between Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor marz, the latter restricted to warm-waether travel.

Text edited by ICOMOS-Armenia, approved by the Ministry of Culture for the Republic of Armenia.