I have long been interested in the Armenian villages of Northern Artsakh (Արցախ) or Gardman (Գարդման), info on which I searched for a long time, but did not find anything.
Meanwhile, prior to the well-known events of 1988, about half a hundred Armenian villages, including Gyulistan, Getashen, Gajishen, Voskanapat, Chiragidzor, Agjikend, Barsum, Banants, Dashkesan, Mountainous Jagir, Chardakhlu, and others were located north of the Mrav ridge.
In the Middle Ages, Gardman occupied an important place in the cultural and political life of Armenia. The monasteries of Matsnaberd, Khamshivank, Charekavank, and the cathedral church of Parisos were great spiritual centers, where magnificent gospels were created. They make up the cultural heritage of the region together with hundreds of Armenian khachkars, smaller churches, and unique tapanakars with reliefs.
Being on the edge of the Armenian world, Gardman suffered from numerous invasions, but the majority of the population of the province consisted of Armenians up to 17-18 centuries ago.
Subsequently, a part of the population moved to Iran, some settled in neighboring Shamshadin, Karabakh. The remainder of the Armenian population, who until 1918 constituted the majority of the population of the mountainous part of the Elizavetopol province, was mostly destroyed by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic troops, but some left their homes.
In the project presented by the Republic of Armenia at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, Gardman was represented as a part of Armenia. In March 1920, some of Gardman (Getashen, Banants, Gulistan) actually became part of Armenia but were soon “Sovietized”. Despite this, up to the 50s, the 80% of the population on a territory of more than 1000 square km consisted of Armenians.
However, there was a slow outflow of the Armenian population to the North Caucasus, Kirovabad, and the Armenian SSR. Thus, by 1988, the rural Armenian population decreased to about 45 thousand people, together with Gandzak – up to 90 thousand.
Subsequently, they had to leave their homes as well. So, dear Gardmans, if anyone knows something about Gardman, the listed and not only villages, vicinities, sights, has been told to some stories by their grandfathers and grandmothers who had had photos of villages, khachkars, churches, people, maps, and etc. on the events of 1918-1920, they are welcome to post what they wish to share!