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The monastery of Gandzasar looking out over the valley of Khatchen



The monastery of Gandzasar, situated between the rivers Araks and Kur, lies at the easternmost point of historical Armenia. It is situated on a stretch of land that has been named differently over the centuries: the Urartians called it Ardakhundi or Urdukhe; for Strabo, it was Orkhishtina; the Romans called it Albania (transcription of the Persian Alvania, "land of the wicked spirits"); the Armenians called it Artsakhe and then Khatchen; and, in relatively recent times, it has been known variously as Aghvank', Artsakh, and Gharabagh ("the black garden").

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The monastery of Gandzasar