Togh’s Melikian Palace: Reality of the Bright Past
A sip of wine can change your mood by creating an entirely new one. The same sip can bring calmness, feelings of ambition, a sense of comfort and a smile. And one such sip changed my whole day.
September. Artsakh. Togh village. Wine festival. A Melikian Town. I thought the wine tasting should be described with incomprehensible poetic expressions, but wine is simply a liquid gotten from that is pretty familiar to everyone. Of course, there are wines that are masterpieces. However, the story which I’m going to share is about something else.
*Мelik was a hereditary Armenian noble title, in various Eastern Armenian principalities known as melikdoms encompassing modern Yerevan, Kars, Nakhichevan, Sevan, Lori, Artsakh, Northwestern Persia and Syunik starting from the Late Middle Ages until the end of the nineteenth century.
The second Saturday of September in Togh village, Artsakh is a real celebration. The wine festival that takes place is more like a big family feast. Smiling faces, hilarious people, songs, dances, children playing, and just an overall “wine” mood. And here I am, trying to be a part of this feast. This day is not just a wine festival for me … just a glass of wine and you’ll be taken to another time. My story is about the reality I ended up in after a glass of wine. Outside was 1737. A time when the Melikian palace was built.
One of the remarkable must-sees of Artsakh tourism is the palace complex of Melik Yegan in Togh. Its location is an architecturally preserved manuscript in and of itself with a historically rich past. The main centre of this autonomous government, known as Khamsa Melikdoms, created by the struggle of Artsakh’s five meliks, was Togh, and “khamsa” means “quintuple” in Arabic. Togh Melikian Palace is among the earliest historical structures in Artsakh, which has a defensive purpose. A section full of remarkable events in the history of Artsakh and Syunik, the Melik region, is characterized by massive buildings of fortified houses and ornamentation. Political weight, abilities, the liberation struggle and cultural life … Looking at the structure, one can understand the owner’s position in society.
With a glass of wine in my hand, I walked around the Melikian ground and thought it’s hard to believe that all of this is not my vivid imagination but a wonderful reality. During these archaeological works, tombstones were uncovered in these areas, among which are the tombs of well-known Dizak meliks. It turned out that the tombstone of the famous Melik Yegan is also among them.
One of the remarkable finds in the excavations carried out on the site of Melik Yegane’s palace is a silver spoon. On the reverse side of the end of a rectangular shape, there is a stamp that completely confirms the hypothesis of the spoon being of European origin. Melik Yegan and his lineage were in close trade and cultural relations with these countries, and it is not accidental that such items were found in the Melikian Palace.
In the southern courtyard of the St. Hovhannes Church located on the premises, eight skeletons found during the excavations at the church, which were typical of Christian funerals. Since 2009, archaeological excavations have been carried out on the site of the Melikian Palace. The works are ongoing. The image of Melik Yegan as a politician will be fully discovered as a result of studies.
During the liberation struggle of Artsakh, this village was distinguished by its heroes and combat operations and left its traces on history. David (Dev) Sarapyan was distinguished by his exceptional courage. The Artsakh War begins, and David has aspired to be a writer since childhood, with poetry etc. But during the days of war, he bravely replaced the pen with a weapon and went to the front line and joined legendary commander Leonid Azgaldyan’s “Independence Army” in 1990.
I have presented only a portion of my findings, for the rest, you can visit Togh.
Welcome to the Togh, a rocky road, dusty shoes, a village that will make you witness to a multi-layered part of history.
Translator Alice Ananian