The impressive fortress is the centrepiece of Tigranakert © Lukasz Z, Shutterstock

Founded by Tigran the Great, this excavated ancient city and fortress are well worth a visit.

A medieval fortress sits at the foot of the dramatic site of the ancient city of Tigranakert, founded by Tigran the Great (ruled c95–55BC). Behind the medieval castle a wavelike escarpment on the southeastern slope of Mount Vankasar (879m) rises from the plain. The triangular fortified city, with the citadel at its apex, occupies the lower third of the slope above the castle.

The site covers some 50ha and excavations, started in 2005, are continuing. Already two of the main walls of the city have been uncovered. Built of local white limestone, without mortar, the stone blocks were dovetailed together by means of triangular joints. Also notable are the steps carved into the rock on the edge of the escarpment. The many finds, dating from the 5th century BC to the 17th century AD, are now displayed in the museum which opened in the medieval fortress in June 2010.