Varanda – A Historical District Of Artsakh

The Melikdom (Princedom) of Varanda is one of the historical regions of Artsakh. It is located in the southeastern area of the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus, in the southern regions of the Karabakh Range.

From the first half of the 18th century, Varanda has been a somewhat independent feudal principality, a Melikdom that was in vassal dependence on Persia.

Varanda and four other melikdoms made up “Hamsa” or the “quintuple”. Called in Armenian “Hamsai melikutiun” (“Melikdom of Hamsa”), this was the union of the five melikdoms of this area.

The word “melik” came to the Armenian language from Arabic and means “king” or “sovereign”. As examples of this word’s use in Armenian, one could bring up Msra-melik from the Armenian epos “David of Sasun” or the Armenian surname Melikyan (Melikov).

After the Arab conquest of Armenia, the local Armenian sovereign princes-feudal lords began to be called “meliks”. In addition, the Armenian territories of Artsakh-Karabakh and Zangezur would become the stronghold of the Melik authorities in Eastern Armenia.

By the end of the 17th century, five melikdoms had been formed in the central and southern parts of Artsakh which were controlled by the hereditary dynasties of meliks (princes) and represented a kind of a military-political union. These melikdoms, also called “gavars” in Armenian literature, were (from north to south) Gulistan, Jraberd, Khachen, Varanda, and Dizak.

Yerkir Araratyan

Read also: General Potto About The Armenian Meliks of Artsakh

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