“The melikdoms (princedoms) of Khamsa are five small principalities, which, adjacent to each other, form an entire region known as Artsakh, or Lesser Syunik. In more distant times, it was part of the country of Aghvank.
The five principalities mentioned are as follows:
1. Gulistan or Talysh, extending from the river Kurak-Chai, that is, from the borders of Gandzak to the Tartarus River.
2. Jraberd or Charaberd, extending from the Tartarus River to the Khachen River.
3. Khachen, stretching from the Khachen River to the Ballu-Chai River.
4. Varanda, stretching from the Ballu-Chai River to the mountain area of Dizapayt.
5. Dizak or Dusy, stretching from the Dizapayt mountains to the Yeraskh River.
These lands which, as I mentioned above, were once part of the Aghvank kingdom subsequently became the haven of the Armenian meliks. The impregnable location of the country allowed them to hide from the fierce storms of time.
The wild nature, high mountains covered with century-old dense forests, and the darkness of the bottomless gorges contributed to the formation of a people who had a strong, like the surrounding rocks, chest and a fearless heart, like the tigers’ living in the forests.
These people lived in the caves of their beloved mountains and in the clefts of rocks, fed on the gifts of the forest, engaged in cattle breeding, and, like an animal from an ambush, came out of their shelter when the enemy dared to disturb his peace.
Each melik was the ruler of his principality. He had his own special fortress and strongholds.”
Excerpt from the book “The Melikdoms of Khamsa” by Raffi
Artsakh (Karabakh) Travel Commercial by Azd production