on a hill cut by the old (and very rough) road between Tsovinar
and Artsvanist, is the Urartian city of Teysheba,
(modernly Odzaberd or “Serpent Castle”) founded by Rusa I
(approx. 735-713 BC), the best-preserved
Urartian fortification in the Sevan
Basin. The site
is best reached from the spur
Artsvanist, till 1968 N.
Aluchalu, founded in
1829-30 by migrants from Alashkert.
As the road reaches the center of the village, bear
half-left at the war memorial and follow the gorge a few hundred
meters to Vanevan,
an important work of 10th c. regional architecture. The main church of S. Grigor (left) was built in 903
turning right (W) on a little dirt road toward
Carved into a low cliff below the road on the Lake Sevan
side is a worn cuneiform inscription of Rusa I recounting his
conquest of 23 countries.
With equal arrogance, the modern engineers of the
Arpa-Sevan tunnel chose the hill of Teyseba to be the point
where the tunnel debouches on the lake.
Up the hill S of the road there are various walls of
boulders, preserved particularly on the S side of the hill
Bagratuni, brother of King Smbat, and his sister Mariam.
The right-hand church may be contemporary, but the gavit
between them was added later.
There is a spring and a shallow cave behind the
monastery. Father Tiratur Hagopian, son and grandson of priests
serving this village, is attempting to revive Vanevan as the
center of an active parish. Continuing
straight S through the village, one sees on the left across the
gorge remains of an early cemetery and church.
3 km S is Kolataki S. Astvatsatsin of late 9th-early
10th c., and Hnevank of 10th c.
In the same area is Bruti Berd cyclopean fortress.