The Most Famous Military Fortress in Armenia Belongs to Princesses: The Story of Aghjkaberd (The Girl’s Castle)

Aghjkaberd (The Girl’s Castle) is one of the most remarkable castles in Armenia. In the Middle Ages, the fort was called Kayan. It is located in the Tavush region, in the valley of Aghstev river, on the top of the forested mountain.

The fortress of Kayan was an impeccable building, being the seat of the knights of the province.

The interesting name of the castle comes from a legend, according to which Tamerlane (a Turco-Mongol conqueror) knowing that a beautiful girl lives here, sends his soldiers to bring her to him. Three soldiers come and kidnap the girl. A shepherd who sees the soldiers, decides to follow them. At night, when the soldiers sleep, the shepherd kills them and brings the girl back. Hearing about what happened, Tamerlane rabidly attacks Armenians, who were inside the castle. Due to a woman traitor he cuts the castle’s water after which defeatս the Armenians inside the castle.  Seeing that, the girl throws herself into the river.

That’s why the name of the fortress was named Aghjka Berd (The Girl’s Castle).

Apart from the ruins of houses, there are two reservoirs, a bath and a church with a cross plan inside the fortress. The historical and archaeological value of this castle is very huge because its integrity is well preserved.

There is also another legend about the castle and the ruins of the bath. It is said that there was a beautiful girl who had her own army. Many knights  wanted to marry her, but she refused their proposals. When they failed to convince, the rulers decided to compel her marry, but the heroine princess gathered the people under her control, formed an army, built a castle and sheltered there. The most powerful and courageous knights continued to pursue. The stubbornness and heroism of the girl ignited flames of love in Knight Mantash’s heart, thus he decided to build Mantash Fortress in front of the Aghjkaberd, from where he often attacked the girl’s castle. They all end up in failure, the girl always defeated him. According to the legend, at last, one day the girl made up her mind to send troops against Mantash Fortress.

The princess did not take part in that confrontation, but that did not prevent her loyal forces to celebrate their victory and force Mantash to reconcile with them. According to the agreement reached, each of the sides had to remain in their own castles and, as a sign of friendship, on the coast of the Aghstev River a bathhouse was constructed, which became their venue.