The Khosrov Forest State Reserve is unique not only for its biodiversity and topography but also for its historical and cultural wealth. The reserve is located in the Ararat region province of Armenia, a region that is home for over 900 historical monuments. More than 300 historical monuments are located in the Khosrov Reserve itself.
About 2 years ago, large-scale fires broke out in the Khosrov Reserve, revealing new archaeological layers with ancient burials and numerous khachkars (cross-stones).
The director of the Khosrov Forest State Reserve Hrach Hovakimyan said: “In the area called Jimni where the fire started, the large amounts of grass, vegetation, and humus easily ignited and burned. Then, gravestones and khachkars were found under the burnt grass.”
Aram Aghasyan, head of the Department for Management of Specially Protected Areas and Arboretums and the Biodiversity Conservation Agency said that this area has been studied poorly.
“These are huge historical and cultural sites. An ancient settlement similar to Zorats Karer. The fire that has passed here has revealed a lot of new things. Specialists are informed and invited to study the area.”
In the Jimni area of the reserve, local authorities are now conducting research. In particular, Anahit Dallakyan, deputy head of the Ararat province’s Service for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Reserves, museums, and the historical environment said:
“The village of Jimni is located near the upper Vedi River, in the territory of the Khosrov State Reserve. The settlement existed until the 1940s. Then, its inhabitants went down to the plain, abandoning the settlement. Prior to 2017, only one 12th-13th-century khachkar was registered here. But after the large-scale fire, 10 more khachkars and two gravestones were discovered.
Regarding the value of khachkars and their age, Dallakyan said: “Khachkars discovered after the fire probably date back to the 10th century since their ornaments are primitive. We took measurements, photographed, and presented the results to the expert center of Armenia for research and inclusion in the list of state monuments in accordance with the requirements of the law.”
As for the tombstones, they are also considered monuments and are under state protection.
The Khosrov Forest State Reserve was created in 330-338 in an area of a forest massif created by King Khosrov II Kotak. The current territory of the reserve has historically been in the province of Ayrarat of Greater Armenia. The reserve was named in honor of King Khosrov II Kotak. 29 of the 312 monuments listed in the reserve are monasteries, churches, chapels, 19 are residences, 2 are castles, and 222 are khachkars and gravestones.
Nune Avetisyan, original post by hy.armradio.am