Tsaghkadzor is a spa town and urban municipal community, as well as one of the most popular health resorts in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 1,256, down from 3,350 reported in the 1989 census. Currently, the town has an approximate population of 900 as per the 2016 official estimate.
Tsaghkadzor literally means valley of flowers or flower canyon in Armenian. The name of Tsaghkadzor is associated with the name of the nearby Tsaghkunyats Mountains, located to the west of the town.
Originally, it was known as Tsaghkunyats Dzor by its foundation during the 3rd century. In the 11th century, the town was known as Kecharuyk or Kecharis derived from the Kecharis Principality under the Armenian Pahlavuni family. Later, during the 17th century, the town was called Darachichak by the Turkic invaders, keeping the name until 1947, when it was renamed Tsaghkadzor.
Tsaghkadzor is located 50 kilometers north of the capital Yerevan and 3 kilometers east of the provincial centre Hrazdan. Surrounded with alpine meadows, the town is situated on the southeastern slope of Mount Teghenis, at a height of 1841 meters above sea level.Tsaghkadzor is surrounded by the Tsaghkunyats mountain range from the west, and the town of Hrazdan from the east.
Summers in Tsaghkadzor are characterized with mild climate, while winters are cold and snowy.
The residents of Tsaghkadzor are mainly ethnic Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The regulating body of the church is the Diocese of Kotayk, headed by Archbishop Arakel Karamyan. The Kecharis Monastery in Tsaghkadzor is the seat of the diocese.
Tsaghkadzor has a cultural palace and a public library. The day of Tsaghkadzor is celebrated annually on October 3.
The Kecharis Monastery is one of the significant religious complexes of Eastern Armenia and one of the well-preserved medieval architectural samples of the Armenian Highland. It was founded at the beginning of the 11th century, consisted of 4 separate adjacent churches. The main church of the complex is the Saint Gregory Church built in 1033. The church of Surp Nshan built in 1051, is located to the south of Saint Gregory Church. The Katoghike Church built at the beginning of the 13th century, stands to the south of Surp Nshan Church. The fourth church of the complex is the Church of Surp Harutyun of 1220.
The House-museum of Brothers Orbeli, is dedicated to the Armenian scientists Ruben, Levon and Joseph Orbeli who were native of Tsaghkadzor. Professor Ruben Orbeli was the founder of marine archaeology and one of the major specialists of ocean engineering. Physiologist Levon Orbeli was a prominent member of the USSR and Armenian SSR academies of science. Scientist Joseph Orbeli was an orientalist specialized in medieval history of South Caucasus. He administered the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg between 1934 and 1951.