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View from the south, showing the monastery`s church and its gavit`



In 428, when the Armenian Arshakuni came to an end, the realm of Aghvank' (Caucasian Albania, we may call it) became a separate satrapy, or region, of the Iranian Empire. Its seat was the town of Tchogh. From the end of the 5th century onward it was a semi-autonomous satrapy, when Vatchagan Barepasht founded the micro-kingdom of Aranshahik II. As the political centralism of the Iranians dissolved and a new feudal system came into being, a large number of principalities, emirates and domains were established in the region. Normally, they took their names after families of the province: Mazhit, Baghasakan, Lp'ink', T'avasparan and so on.
Christianity - imposed by force in Transcaucasia - deeply marked the historical evolution of the local nationalities: it remained the foundation of their cultures and helped to conserve their identities in the face of outside intervention.


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The monastery of Gandzasar