Amberd is a 7th-century fortress 55 km far from Yerevan. It's located 2,300 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Mount Aragats. The rock, on which the castle stands, is at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers. The name translates to "fortress in the clouds" (amp+berd) in Armenian. Another explanation is no-castle (an-berd), which proves, that no other castle is so strong and high as this one. In the 11th century the complex was fortified with thicker stone walls, and added three bastions along the ridge of the Arkhashen canyon. Several fortresses like Amberd, where built, as if, in the middle of nothing. In fact, they were over Ararat plain, the cradle of the Armenian civilization, in order to keep calm there and to defense it from enemies.

The ruins of Amberd castle comprised an area of 1,500 square metres. Its walls are constructed of roughly hewn basalt blocks set in place with mortar. Tower walls are inclined to have made it easier to fire on invaders below. The interior of the castle had three-stories, each floor separated from one another by wood planks clinched on logs. There were five rooms in the first and second floor, each arranged in a row where one would enter each room through the previous room. The rooms were quite lavish with elegantly carved decorations in the rooms, oil lamps, incense holders, and walls decorated with silks and brocades, and with bronze, gold and silver ornamentation.On the third floor were the reception areas and private rooms. The site remained abandoned after Mongolian invasion (1236).

Vahramashen (Holy Mother God) church was constructed not far from rebuilt castle of Amberd. In the 11th century, the fortress and surrounding lands were purchased by the House of Pahlavuni, the representatives of which were supreme commander of the armed forces of Armenian army.  The later was founded by Vahram Pahlavouni, the builder of Marmashen church. It is a cruciform type church with four two-story chambers in the corners. A large circular twelve-faceted drum sits on top of the church, with pairs of thin decorative columns standing at the edge of each facet. A conical umbrella type dome rests above. The exterior of the church is simply decorated with edging around the portal and saddles of some small windows, layers of cornice work just above the thin columns on the drum and dome, and some cross relief designs carved into the façades.

At Amberd, a constant water supply was crucial for its inhabitants. The fortress' primary viaduct was a pipeline that had been laid 4-5 km from it to dammed reservoirs which collected sources of spring water from higher elevations and melting snow. Another more secret passageway was led from the fortifications along a steep pathway descending down a cleft in the rocks to the river. The bath house south of the fortress was built in the 10th-11th centuries. Its twin bathing rooms each with a single dome are still moderately intact. At one time it had used hypocaust heating as had originated in Roman times, to heat the floors. Pipes that ran through the floors and walls of the structure were heated by a fire built under the floor, which then forced the heat throughout the bathing rooms. Metal pipes supplied hot water to the baths.
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