Ararat Province

Ararat՛s capital and largest city is the town of Artashat.The province is named after the biblical Mount Ararat. Ararat has an area of 2,090 km² (7% of total area of Armenia). It occupies the east of the central part of modern-day Armenia. Historically, the current territory of the province mainly occupies the Vostan Hayots canton of Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia. The highest point of Ararat province is the Spitakasar peak of Gegham mountains with a height of 3560 meters. The lowest point is 801 meters at the Araks valley. The province is home to many protected areas of nature including the Khosrov Forest State Reserve, the Goravan Sands Sanctuary and the Khor Virap Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Khor Virap monastery is among the regular tourist destinations in Ararat Province. The ancient settlements of Artashat and Dvin are among the attractive sites for archaeologists.
Artashat was a large commercial city and the capital of ancient Armenia. King Artashes I founded Artashat in 176 BC in the Vostan Hayots canton within the historical province of Ayrarat. The story of the foundation is given by the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi of the fifth century: "Artashes traveled to the location of the confluence of Yeraskh and Metsamor rivers and taking a liking to the position of the hills (adjacent to Mount Ararat), he chose it as the location of his new city, naming it after himself."
 According to the accounts given by Greek historians Plutarch and Strabo, Artashat is said to have been chosen and developed on the advice of the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
It is said that Hannibal the Carthaginian, after Antiochus had been conquered by the Romans and went to Artashat the Armenian, to whom he gave many excellent suggestions and instructions. For instance, observing that a section of the country which had the greatest natural advantages and attractions was lying idle and neglected, he drew up a plan for a city there, and then brought Artashes to the place and showed him its possibilities, and urged him to undertake the building. The king was delighted, and begged Hannibal to superintend the work himself, whereupon a very great and beautiful city arose there, which was named after the king, and proclaimed the capital of Armenia.
Strabo and Plutarch describe Artashat as a large and beautiful city and call it the "Armenian Carthage". A focal point of Hellenistic culture, Armenia's first theatre was built here.
Today Artashat is an archelogical site where already were found many hellenistic architecture examples, marble statues, silver jewlery, weapons and more.
Dvin was a large commercial city and the capital of early medieval Armenia. It was situated north of the previous ancient capital of Armenia, the city of Artashat, along the banks of the Metsamor River. It was built by Khosrov III of Armenia in 335 on a site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the 3rd millennium BC. During a major earthquake in 893, the city was destroyed, along with most of its 70,000 inhabitants. Situated in the central square of the ancient city was the Cathedral of St. Grigor. It was originally constructed in the 3rd century as a triple-nave pagan temple․ The ruins of Dvin were added to the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.


Kakavaberd or Kaqavaberd is a fortress located upon a ridge overlooking the Azat River gorge at the Khosrov State Reserve in the Ararat Province.
The fortress was first mentioned by Hovhannes Draskhanakertsi in the 9th-10th centuries in his History of Armenia as being controlled by the Armenian noble Bagratuni family. He wrote that in 924, after losing a battle at the island of Sevan, the arabian commander and chief Beshir went on to attack the fortress of Kakavaberd. He was later beaten by Gevorg Marzpetuni. In the 11th century it passed over to the Pahlavuni family, and in the 12th-13th century to the Proshyan family for whom the nearby town is named. Kakavaberd was last mentioned in the year 1224 when after losing a battle that took place nearGarni, Ivane Zakarian found shelter there.
Kakavaberd is situated at an altitude of 1516 meters. The fortified walls of Kakavaberd are well preserved and crown a ridge within the Khosrov State Reserve. It is inaccessible from three of its sides because of the steep terrain. Towers at the northeastern side are 8 to 10 meters tall. Within the fortress are the ruins of a church and other structures․ 

Khor Virap

The Khor Virap ( meaning "deep pit" or "deep well") is an Armenian monastery located in Ararat Province. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos. Khor Virap's notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Gregory the Illuminator, was initially imprisoned here for 14 years by King Trdates III of Armenia. Saint Gregory subsequently became the king's religious mentor, and they led the proselytizing activity in the country. In the year 301, Armenia was the first country in the world to be declared a Christian nation. A chapel was initially built in 642 at the site of Kirat Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. Over the centuries, it was repeatedly rebuilt. In 1662, the larger chapel known as the "St. Astvatsatsin" (Holy Mother of God) was built around the ruins of the old chapel, the monastery, the refectory and the cells of the monks. Now, regular church services are held in this church. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Armenia.