The town of Jugha in the historical province of Yernjak (present-day Nakhichevan ASSR near the village of Jugha, district of Julfa) is that famous settlement of the past, which survived from the time it was first settled until 1848. The densely-populated village of the early Middle Ages grew into a town by the 10—13th centuries, while in the 15— 17th centuries, it was an outstanding Armenian trade centre, due to the high urban culture there. Since it was a heavily populated and prosperous town it was frequently subject to plunder and set on fire by foreign invaders during the Middle Ages. In 1605 after Shah-Abbas had demolished the town, the entire population was compelled to migrate to Persia, where Nor Jugha was founded.
The town of Jugha lay along the bank of the Arax River and consisted of more than ten large districts with a homogeneous Armenian population of two to four thousand families (15000—20000 persons). The town was particularly splendid with its seven churches and other religious and lay monuments, its numerous castles. It was during the 15th century that trade, along with various crafts,
developed and prospered to an unprecedented degree. For many centuries the caravans of Jugha merchants could proudly enter all trade centres in the East and the West.
Unfortunately the history and culture of Jugha have not been studied in detail. Brief information on the history and description of monuments are given in the r works of A. Sedrakian and Gh. Alishan at the end of the 19th century, A. Vruyr's article on Jugha and S. Ter-Avetisian's study.
Jugha achieved fame for its historical and architectural monuments, its thousands of beautifully carved khachkars (cross-stones) and various other monuments which have come down to us completely ruined, though others are intact or partially destroyed.
THE HOLY SAVIOUR MONASTERY OF JUGHA is located northwest of the Cemetery, on the summit at the edge of «Kamu dzor» (Windy valley). The initial building of the Monastery was built in the 9 — 1 Oth centuries, and later, in 1271, was restored by a Mr. Vahram.
The Holy Saviour complex consisted of a small-scale, central-domed church, a northex (gavit), a dining-room, one- or two storied auxiliary constructions; all of which were inside the walls and are now partially ruined.
CAVES. There are a number of caves and caverns in the crevices of Karmu Valley and the mountains in the environs of Jugha, the better known of which are Jgnavor (hermit's) cave and the «Krekadjatun» (place where lime was produced). These caves served as shelters and refuges in the I and II millenium B. C. and also during the Middle Ages.
PUBLIC BATHS. This edifice, built in the 16th century, and consisting of a number of spherically-roofed rooms, is completely demolished today. It is believed that it was constructed on the initiative of Khoja (merchant) Khachik, the mayor of Jugha.
MAIN LODGINGS FOR CARAVANS. The ruins of this partially-destroyed monument are to be found on the bank of the Arax River. The building was rectangular, spherically-roofed, built of smoothly-carved and partially-carved
stones, covering a rather extensive area. In the interior, there were many rooms-large and small, for travellers and their goods.
THE BRIDGE. Ruins of the remarkable Jugha bridge may be seen even today on the banks of the Arax. This four-spanned bridge of smoothly-carved stone and limestone mixture was built on the trade route which had important significance for trade and the court.
The arches of the bridge were 37 metres high and 3 metres wide. This wonderful bridge, built in the early Middle Ages, stood intact till the end of the 16th century.
THE FORTRESS OF JUGHA OR DARVAZR is in the eastern part of the town, on the mountain which lies between the Arax and the hearby mountain chain. It was constructed in the 10 — 12th centuries, in a naturally inaccessible site. At present, the greater part of the walls of the fortress, its towers as well as other constructions, have been destroyed.
THE POMBOLOZ (CHURCH) OR SHEPHERD'S CHURCH. This church, built in the 16th century, is small, cross-shaped from within and almost square from the exterior, with a central dome and only one entrance. It is of semi-carved and smoothly-carved stone and due to its location, fits in with the surrounding mountains.
THE ST. ASTVATSATSIN CHURCH is on the eastern side of the town, immediately next to the surrounding wall. The church is rectangular with an eastern abcide and double vestries. The initial construction was built in the 12—13th centuries and restored at the end of the 16th century. St. Astvatsatsin is surrounded from all sides by a rather strong, high wall which gives it the appearance of a small fortress.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE DASHT VILLAGE OF JUGHA are 1,5 kilometres east of the town on the banks of the Arax. Its population was likewise forced to migrate to Persia in 1605. The village was full of greenery and roses and was, therefore, called «Vardut». In 1881 the remains of the Dasht church and other buildings were found while ploughing the land.
THE CEMETERY. This cemetery, the most important and most valuable of Jugha memorials, is a forest of partially demolished khachkars. After the migration from Jugha, it was in 1648 that a traveller, Alexander Rodis by name, passing through that area, recorded that there were some 10000 khachkars in good condition at the time. In 1904, after a number of destructive events, there were about 5000 khachkars, while at present there are 3000 khachkars. Khachkars of the earliest period in the Jugha cemetery, the greater part of which no longer exists, were dated from the 9—15th centuries. The next group of khachkars, which may be considered as monuments belonging to the intermediate period, are of the middle of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th century. The next and most extensive
group, covering the middle of the 16th century till 1604 is the peak in the Jugha style of khachkars and includes the creation of unequalled memorials in the art of Armenian khachkars. The masters of stone work, with great artistry made use of Armenian culture, its heritage of stone work and miniature painting and thus developed their own new so called Jugha style, which is in fact a new period or new school in the art of Armenian khachkars.
Jugha stands also out, in Armenian culture and manuscript writing, for its famous scriptorium. According to manuscriptal data, a large number of manuscripts were copied and illuminated at the Holy Saviour, St. Sargis St. Astvatsatsin and other churches beginning from the 12—13th centuries till 1683.
Espesially noteworthy are the works of scribe Sargis (1286), priest Khachatur (1325), the scribe-artist Mariam (1456), Hakob Jughayetsi, Khachatur Khezanetsy (16 — 17th cent.) and other scribes.
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