On July 23, members of the Carahunge Armenological Center went on a scientific expedition to Gegharkunik, the territory of the ancient town of Kot, which was the residence of the Armenian princely dynasty of Syunac in ancient and medieval Armenia․ It is located on the territory of the village of Getashen, Martuni district, on the banks of the Argichi River, near Lake Sevan.
In the Middle Centuries, the Kot town stood out for its greatness and role. It was the center of the Gegharkunik region and the residence of the rulers. An important circumstance for the development and prosperity of this region was that the city was located at the intersection of caravan trade routes connecting different regions, cultures, and economic centers.
One road went from Dvin to the north, entered Vayots Dzor along the bank of the Arpa River, and from there turned through the Selim Pass and reached the Kot town, another road connected Kot with the Ararat Valley above Kotayk. This combined road continued to Sotka, where it branched out between Artsakh and the valley of the Kura River.
The town of Kot stretched to the borders of the present village of Verin Getashen, separated from it by the narrow canyon Ishkhanaget (Argichi). Currently, 418 historical and cultural monuments have been preserved in the historical part of the town: old settlements, churches, mosques, and medieval cemeteries with a large number of khachkars (Armenian cross-stones) and headstones.
The cemetery of early medieval origin is spread over an area of about 9.5 hectares, where there are many sculptural khachkars. On the territory adjacent to the Church of St. Astvatsatsin (Theotokos), there are 121 khachkars, the oldest of which dates back to the beginning of the IX century.
Another cemetery wealthy of khachkars, where are registered 156 khachkars, are located on the southwestern edge of the village, on a hill. There are large khachkars, as well as large and flat khachkars. Many khachkars have records containing wealthy historical materials.
St. Astvatsatsin Church, or Kotavank, was built on the eastern side of the historic town of Kot, on a rocky hill, which, due to its high position, is visible from the surrounding territories.
During the scientific expedition, we managed to visit some parts of the territory of the ancient site, we discovered a lot of large menhirs with holes. In our opinion, these menhirs have an older origin, in the Middle Ages, some were turned into khachkars.
The new information we have received from residents indicates that our research at this ancient monument will be continued.