Martuni (in 1995 was granted with the status of a town) is located in the south-west of Lake Sevan, 126 km from Yerevan, 33 km from regional center. The former Kznut village of the ancient Syunik province’s of Sodk region, in 1832 it was renamed Nerkin Gharanlugh, from 1926 to 1995 was named Martuni in honor of the bolshevik leader and Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of Armenia Aleksandr Myasnikyan, whose nickname was “Martuni”.
During Persian rule, the settlement was part of the governorship of Yerevan, and in the XVII-XVIII centuries – in the Yerevan Khanate. After the accession of Eastern Armenia to Russia under the Turkmenchay Treaty (1828), the village became part of The Armenian Oblast ( Armenian Provinc), and then – New Bayazet county of Yerevan province.
The city is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Sevan at the northern foothill of the Vardenis mountain. It occupies an area of 4514.14 hectares. The population of the town is 12200 (in 2017), and according to that number, it is the 25th city of the republic. 17.6% of the urban population of Gegharkunik region lives there.
During Soviet times the main direction of the city’s industry has been the processing industry in which the most significant branches were: machinery, construction materials, chemical and food industries.The leading sector of the modern economy of the community is trade, while part of the population is also engaged in agriculture.Selim and Yerevan-Vardenis highways pass through the administrative territory of Martuni.
The town has 3 public schools, a college and a private university.
The remains of the ancient settlement (II-I millennium BC) and the remains of the Cyclopian fortress (I millennium BC) were preserved in Martuni. The town is also home to the Holy Mother of God Church (rebuilt in 1886), many khachkars /cross-stones/ (XV-XVII centuries), monastery – sanctuary (rebuilt in XX century) etc.
There is located Selim’s gap (2500 m) on the Martuni – Yeghegnadzor road. In 1332, Ishkhan Chesar Orbelian built the Selim’s caravanserai near that location.
According to local tradition, here in ancient times there was a healing spring. Residents used the water very economically and reverently. One day, a young bride named Tsovinar forgot to close the spring and it run dry, forming a lake. The woman who came to the source first in the morning, seeing the lake and the exhausted spring, curses the one who forgot to close it. The young bride immediately turns into a stone statue. Thus, a lake and a small village on the lake are created.
Translated by Kristina Ghahramanyan