Meghri (granted with the status of a town in 1984) is located 373 km south of Yerevan on shores of Meghri River, dominated by Zangezur Mountains from the northeast, and Meghri range from the southwest. At an average height of 610 meters above sea level,
The total area of the town is 3 km2, the population of the town is 4500 (2017).
It has been inhabited since ancient times. Many archaeological sites are found in the vicinity of the town, dating back to the VII and VI centuries BC. In addition, the remains of the Bronze and Iron Ages have been discovered here. Historically, it has been part of Arevik canton of ancient Syunik province of the Kingdom of Armenia.
With the establishment of Tatev monastery in the 8th century, the region of modern-day Meghri witnessed a rapid social and economic development. In 906, the settlement of Karchavan was founded by king Smbat I Bagratuni of the Bagratuni dynasty. Later, it was known as Meghri, meaning “honey town” in the Armenian language. In 987, the town was included within the newly-founded Armenian Kingdom of Syunik. In 1105, the region of Meghri was occupied by the Seljuks. The town was completely destroyed in 1126 and 1157 by the invading Seljuk forces.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Meghri became part of the Erivan Beglarbegi within the Safavid Persia. At the beginning of the 18th century, the region was involved in the liberation campaign of the Armenians of Syunik led by David Bek, against Safavid Persia and the invading Ottoman Turks. David Bek started his battles in 1722 with the help of thousands of local Armenian patriots who liberated Syunik.
Аfter the fall of Тhe Republic of Armenia in December 1920, the 2nd Pan-Zangezurian congress held in Tatev on 26 April 1921, announced the independence of the self-governing regions of Daralakyaz (Vayots Dzor), Zangezur -including Meghri-, and parts of Mountainous Artsakh, under the name of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia (Lernahaystani Hanrapetutyun). The Republic of Mountainous Armenia capitulated on 13 July 1921, following Soviet Russia’s promises to keep the mountainous region of Syunik as part of Soviet Armenia.
The main direction of town’s industry is the processing industry. The production of electricity, canned fruit and juices – plays an important role in the economy. The Iran-Armenia Natural Gas Pipeline passes through Meghri.
Meghri is the main gate between Armenia and Iran through the nearby Agarak border crossing. The road that connects the capital Yerevan with Iran, passes through Meghri.
During the Soviet days, Meghri was connected with Yerevan by railway passing through the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. After the dissolution of Soviet Union and as a result of the military crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the railroad became abandoned. There is an airfield at 3.5 kilometers of the western of the city, but it is not used now.
The first Parish School in Meghri was opened in 1881. The town also has a kindergarten, 2 public schools, musical, art and sport schools, Meghri State College, a theater, a library network and the Meghri regional medical center.
The remains of Meghri Fortress dating back to the 11th century are found at the eastern heights of the town. In addition to the Holy Mother of God Church of 1673, the XVII century Surp Hovhannes church located in the small neighborhood is also active and famous for its wall paintings. The abandoned church of Surp Sarkis located at the north of Meghri, is also dating back to the XVII century.
Translated by Kristina Ghahramanyan