KIRANTS. A general view of the village from the road leading to Kaghni Khach Monastery

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. Partial views of the village cemetery; a tombstone, khachkar and inscribed fragments from this grave-yard

KIRANTS. The grave-yard of the village church and its tombstones

KIRANTS. The grave-yard of the village church and its tombstones

KIRANTS. The grave-yard of the village church and its tombstones

KIRANTS. The grave-yard of the village church and its tombstones

KIRANTS. The church and cemetery of Kaghni Khach Monastery. A khachkar

KIRANTS. The church and cemetery of Kaghni Khach Monastery. A khachkar

KIRANTS. The church and cemetery of Kaghni Khach Monastery. A khachkar

KIRANTS. The church and cemetery of Kaghni Khach Monastery. A khachkar

KIRANTS. The plan of Kaghni Khach Monastery

KIRANTS. A cross-stone from Kaghni Khach Monastery

  DASHKESAN district. KIRANTS (SHARUKKAR, SEYIDKEND)
   Location. The village, which is surrounded by bare hills, is situated on the south-west-facing slope of a gorge lying on the left bank of the Vochkharajur, i.e. the left tributary of the river Artinajur, 3 kilometres north-west of the district centre, at an altitude of 1,230 to 1,380 metres above sea level.
   The Turks referred to Kirants by the name of Seyidkend.
   A Historical Introduction. Written records regarding Kirants can be found only in some press publications, archive documents and a number of topographical works of the late 19th century. Despite this fact, however, the historical monuments preserved both in the village and its neighbourhood show that it has been inhabited since time immemorial,580 also attesting that it was populated by the Armenians beginning with at least the early Middle Ages.
   In the late 19th century, the village belonged to Turkish landowners Vali Bey, Mahmed Agha Abul-Bey oghli and Soyun Agha Novruz-Agha oghli._*581
   Population. Kirants inhabitants are considered to be natives of the village,_*582 although some of them are known to have resettled there from Ghabaghtapa._*583
   The available statistical data relating to the local population between 1804 and 1917 reveal an increase in their number, which reached a maximum of 723 in 1908.
   Although in the course of some years, resettlement and various lethal infectious diseases caused reduction in the number of Kirants Armenians, their growing rate was always remarkably high. Thus, between November 1899 and April 1900, 24 children fell victim to a raging epidemic of smallpox; in the meantime, however, the village population showed increase._*584
   Below follows a list (1839) of Kirants' inhabitants which is of great significance to the study of the history of local families:
   "1 Hakob Manucharian, his wife Anayi, their sons Khachatur, Poghos as well as their daughters Khallu and Javahir; Hakob's nephews 1. Yesayi with his wife Herik as well as his sons Maki and Beglar; 2. Sahak with his sister Margaret; Hakob's brother Hovhannes, his wife Vari, their sons Mesrop and Petros with his wife Herik and his son Maki;
   2 Zakaria Manucharian, his wife Mariam, their daughter Salbi as well as their sons Vardan and Aghajan;
   3 Hovhannes Margarov, his wife Khatayi, their daughter Salbi, their sons Harutiun, Poghos, Martiros with his wife Khatayi, and Sargis with his wife Sandukht, his son Avet and his daughter Margaret;
   4 Galust Margarov, his wife Horom, their daughter Margaret as well as their sons Simeon and Grigor with his wife Pari and his son Khachatur;
   5 Kochar Gabrielian, his mother Gayane, his wife Herik, their daughter Tangi as well as their sons Grigor and Khachatur; Kochar's nephew Verdi, his wife Mariam, their daughter Sabed as well as their sons Melik and Ohannes;
   6 Tanes Movsissian, his wife Tamam, their daughter Vari, their sons 1. Aghajan with his wife Horom, his daughter Khatun as well as his sons Melkum and Mkrtich; 2. Hovsep with his wife Tamam and his daughter Taguhi; Tanes' brother Ohan, his wife Nazlukhan as well as their sons Mnatsakan and Papi with his wife Taguhi;
   7 Ghazar Ter-Zakarian, his daughters Herik and Zani, his sons Galust, Grigor, Mateos and Yesayi with his wife Voski; Ghazar's brother Ohanes, his wife Nazi, their daughter Anakhas as well as their sons Hakob, Mkrtich and Vardazar;
   8 Yesayi Ter-Zakarian, his wife Herik as well as their sons Avet, Tzatur and Navasard; Yesayi's brothers 1. Avag with his wife Sirunna and his son Grigor; 2. Vardan with his wife Margaret as well as his sons Sargis and Harutiun; Yesayi's nephews Mnatsakan, Hovhannes and Harutiun with their mother Horom;
   9 Karapet Ter-Zakarian, his wife Khatayi, their daughter Pari, their sons Mkrtich, Mnatsakan and Grigor with his wife Paronna;
   10 Karapet Sarukhanian, his wife Mariam, their daughter Tangi as well as their sons Ghuli, Voskan and Vardan; Karapet's brothers 1. Adam with his wife Sabed, his son Mkrtich as well as his daughters Annman, Taguhi and Magtagh; 2. Sarukhan with his wife Margaret, his son Hovhannes as well as his daughters Vardi and Sirunna;
   11 Ohannes Harutiunian, his wife Gyuli as well as their son Sahak and their daughter Aziz; Ohannes' brother Virap and his wife Mariam;
   12 Onan Ter-Martirossian, his daughter Salbi, his sons Martiros and Sargis with his wife Aziz as well as his son Gevorg and his daughter Tellu."_*585
   Below follow the available statistical data on the number of Kirants' population between 1804 and 1917:
Year Houses Males Females Total Source
1804 8 26 21 47 Collected Acts..., vol. 2, p. 596.
1839 12 81 71 152 National Archives of Armenia, fund 53, list 1, file 3800, p. 29.
1845   134 94 228 Idem, file 3811, pp. 4-5.
1847   104 97 201 Idem, file 3814, pp. 96-97.
1849   112 94 225 Idem, file 3818, pp. 96-97.
1852   126 115 241 Idem, file 3819, pp. 106-107.
1861 29       Idem, file 3835, pp. 148-149.
1866 24 156 124 280 Idem, file 3848, pp. 57.
1872     125 362 Idem, file 3872, pp. 62-63.
1873       304 Idem, file 3864, pp. 39-40.
1875       311 Idem, file 3866, pp. 44-45.
1876       326 Idem, file 3868, pp. 57-58.
1877   219 110 329 Idem, file 3869 pp. 54-55.
1878   225 118 343 Idem, file 3870, pp. 22-23.
1881   238 127 365 Idem, file 3873, pp. 27-28.
1882   240 134 374 Idem, file 3874, p. 30.
1883   241 132 373 Idem, file 3875, pp. 56-57.
1885   181 172 353 Idem, file 3877, p. 30.
1886 35 237 199 436 A Statistical Survey..., pp. 84-85. According to another source, the village had a population of 28 houses in the same year ("Ardzagank," 1886, No. 21, p. 310).
1887   204 201 405 National Archives of Armenia, fund 53, list. 1, file 3880, p. 73.
1888   216 203 419 Idem, file 3882.
1889   216 210 426 Idem, file 3884, pp. 227-228.
1890   218 214 432 Idem, file 3887, p. 150.
1891   224 224 448 Idem, file 3889, p. 149.
1892   227 219 446 Idem, file 3891, p. 121.
1893 230 224 454 Idem, file 3895, pp. 78-79.
1894   237 229 466 Idem, file 3896, pp. 174-175.
1897   255 267 522 Idem, file 3899, pp. 147-148.
1898   266 276 542 Idem, file 3897, p. 169.
1899   269 281 550 Idem, file 3903, pp. 127-128.
1900   277 293 570 Idem, file 3905, pp. 92-93.
1901   287 305 592 Idem, file 3906, pp. 98-99.
1902   298 314 612 Idem, file 3907, pp. 23-24.
1905   303 315 618 Idem, file 3912, pp. 266-267.
1906   323 330 653 Idem, file 3915, p. 24.
1907       710 National Archives of Armenia, fund 56, list 1, file 240, p. 2.
1908 93 356 367 723 National Archives of Armenia, fund 35, list 1, file 559, p. 10. According to another statistical source of 1908, Kirants had a population of 775 that year (Caucasian Calendar for 1910, p. 363).
1909   362 361 723 National Archives of Armenia, fund 56, list 18, file 764, p. 117.
1910   369 361 730 National Archives of Armenia, fund 53, list 1, file 3917, pp. 58-59.
1912   372 364 736 Idem, file 3919, pp. 62-63.
1914       665 Caucasian Calendar for 1915, p. 180.
1917 45     277 Avetissian, M. M.,Avetissian, M. M. A Reference Book on the Settlements and Population Number of Nagorno Karabakh and Zangezur (1917). In: "Banber Hayastani Arkhivneri," 1991, No. 3, p. 166, in Armenian. These figures seem highly improbable and cannot be considered trustworthy.

   Kirants participated in World War II with 197 of its inhabitants, 93 of whom did not return from the battle-field.
   The exact date of foundation of the village church, mentioned in archive documents of 1847,_*628 1852,_*6291861,_*630 1878,_*631 1882_*632 and 1885,_*633 remains unknown. It is named St. Sargis in 1861, and Sourb Astvatzatzin from 1885 onwards: most probably, it was reconstructed and reconsecrated between the '60s and '80s of the 19th century.
   The sanctuary, which used to represent a stone building of a wooden roof, was destroyed in the 1930s, its stones, including some inscribed fragments, being used in the construction of a local warehouse.
   Carved on a cross-stone fragment (80 x 29 centimetres):
   () 1571:
 
 transl.: In the year 1571.
   Published for the first time.
   Note: According to the local inhabitants, the stone was removed from Kaghni Khach Monastery.

   4 lines in the Armenian original incised into a tombstone fragment (51 x 30 x 25 centimetres):

   ...ѳݷ ... | ...ݷ ... | ... ջ... | ...߻ ...:
   transl.: ...repose...
   Published for the first time.
   Note: The inscription is absolutely unintelligible and, therefore, impossible to translate.


   A cemetery extends in the yard of the once standing church, in the centre of the village. Although the highway traversing it has partly ruined it, it still retains some tombstones the oldest of which trace back to the early 19th century.

   5 lines in the Armenian original engraved on a gravestone (186 x 63 x 40 centimetres):
    | س | | ޳ѷ|, () 1811:
   transl.: In this grave reposes Poghos Manicharants' spouse Shahgyul, in the year 1811.
   Published for the first time.

   5 lines in the Armenian original carved on a tombstone (140 x 62 x 27 centimetres):

    | س |ݳ ճ | ݻ, () | β 1812:
 
 transl.: In this grave reposes Honan Margarants' spouse Chanechan, in the year 1812.
   Published for the first time.

   6 lines in the Armenian original incised into a gravestone (170 x 70 x 50 centimetres):

    | س | | ճ |ݳ, () | 1820:
   transl.: In this grave reposes Arutiun Manichariants' wife Paronna, in the year 1820.
   Published for the first time.

   4 lines in the Armenian original inscribed on a tombstone (170 x 92 centimetres):

     س | ݳ 1846 | ݳ˳, | ` ݳ:
 
 transl.: In this grave reposes Priest Martiros' son Unan, 1846. In this grave [lies] Anakhatun, who is Unan's spouse.
   Published for the first time.

   The monastery of Kaghni Khach ('Standing Cross' in the Karabakh dialect) is situated in a small gorge a kilometre south-west of Kirants.
   An archive document of 1853 provides the first comparatively detailed description of the sanctuary: "...this cloister, surrounded by the graves of the members of monastic community, i.e. bishops, archimandrites, priors, etc., is located within about half a verst of Kirants Village. It consists of a church having a stone gavit at present semi-destroyed, as well as five small and large cells and dwellings once housing the monks, but now lying in ruins. ...A little far from the monastery, a chapel rises over the graves of three holy martyrs, now consigned to oblivion. Their inscribed tombstones attract pilgrims from various places: they kiss the stones in token of love for those saints..."_*634
   Another record states, "Two small stone chapels stand within several steps of each other in a forest located at a distance of two versts from the village. A big khachkar can be seen near one of these sanctuaries, which are famous pilgrimage sites. According to some people, they retain the remains of a boy and his sister, but we failed to find out who they had been. On an adjacent plateau north of these monuments stands another stone chapel, which is considered a monastery among the local people. It functioned until 1838.
   ...Some semi-ruined cells and annexes can be seen west and south of this sanctuary."_*635
   It is traditionally assumed that one of Gardman's prominent princes reposes in the monastery of Kaghni Khach: "...the holy remains of an honourable person are said to rest in eternal peace below the bema. People believe it is the grave of prince of Gardman District Khurs, who once owned a large number of mines."_*636
   In 1986 a chapel built of undressed stone and mortar was preserved amidst the ruins of the monastery, with its walls dilapidated and its roof totally destroyed. It represented a single-nave structure of rectangular plan (exterior dimensions: 7.90 x 4.92 metres), with a semi-circular bema in the east and an entrance opening in the south. Inside the chapel stood a simple cross-stone (210 x 82 x 8 centimetres) dating from the 12th to 13th centuries. It was bare of any inscriptions.
   Once the functioning monastery had a Father Superior and a community, which lived there until 1834 or 1838. With this connection, a record states, "This document has been signed by some people of advanced age who reliably attest that within 70 years from 1834 onwards (namely, between 1764 and 1834 - S. K.), the following priors and monks dwelled in the cloister: Bishop Simeon Odznetsy as well as Archimandrites Yeprem Khachabaktsy, Kostand Shamkoretsy and Karapet Melik-Babayan. The last of these people mentioned passed away in 1834 and was buried in the monastery by ...Archimandrite Sargis Davtiants."_*637
   The Monastic Estates. The aforementioned archive document (1853) contains valuable information on the domains of Kaghni Khach Monastery, particularly stating the following, "...as attested by some honourable inhabitants of Kirants ... and others from the villages adjoining Yelizavetpol, the estates of the sanctuary bordered on a site called Bazkakar in the east. Its community lived on the income yielded by its arable lands, woods, etc. They also received a certain amount of money from those involved in lime business..."_*638
   The earliest record bearing reference to the lapidary inscriptions of the monastery dates back to 1853: "The walls of some buildings, at present totally dilapidated due to their old age, are engraved with inscriptions, presumably, containing information on two standing cross-stones."_*639
   Unfortunately, however, the author of the aforementioned lines confined himself to only copying the years inscribed on the aforementioned khachkars.
   Carved on a cross-stone:
    (1089:
 
 transl.: 1089.
   Published for the first time.
   Note: See the unpublished inscription in: National Archives of Armenia, fund 53, list 1, file 2742, p. 14.

   Incised into another khachkar:

    ˳ ݳϳ г, ѳݪ ճ, յݪ Գ, ݪ , ׳, ϻݳݪ ǽ, ʳ, ˳, ٳ. . 1471:
 
 transl.: The Holy Cross to Mr. Hasan, his father Polghadar, his brother Ghazan, his sons Altun, Papachan, his spouse Aziz, Khosrov, Kyulkhanum, Father Toma. In the year 1471.
   The Armenian original published in: "Ardzagank," 1886, No. 21, p. 310.
   Note: Another researcher copied only the year of the inscription in 1853 (National Archives of Armenia, fund 53, list 1, file 2742, p. 14).

   Some other cross-stones are preserved on Katnasar rising in the north-east of the village.
  NORTHERN ARTSAKHSamvel Karapetyan