According to a story told by some residents, the truth of which is impossible to prove, the house where Aleksander Pushkin stayed during his visits to Armenia was situated here. That house is now destroyed, and Gargar remains almost unknown despite that history.
One of Hatsatagh’s distinctive features is revealed by its own name. Nearly every family there bakes bread ("hats" in Armenian), specifically "matnakash", and sells it. A chair with bread on it in front of every house attests to that fact, giving the district its appeal. According to local residents the practice of baking bread dates from the 1990s.
Gargar has several districts, which include Soobnishan, Hatsatagh, Goghashen, Krakhtin and Yamaj. Soobnishan’s name comes from the following story: “A group of pilgrims visited this area, ate a meal and had a rest before continuing their pilgrimage. That night, they all had a dream in which they saw a light hanging, and they decided that a sanctuary should be built in that area. They decided to name it Soobnishan. Later, during the Soviet era, people were given lands in this area, but everyone refused to use them for their everyday needs because they had always thought of this place as being divine.”
The population of Yamaj wants to replant a pine forest that no longer stands. During the Soviet period several pines were planted, but the residents were concerned about the possible destruction of those areas that also served as pastures for sheep breeding. As a result the saplings were not cared for and they died. But today,residents regret their mistake and dream of the possibility to regenerate the forest. Although a tree nursery has been opened by some of the residents they lack the necessary skills. They believe that the replanting initiative could be very successful with governmental assistance.
Everyone in Gargar has a second name. Families are usually recognised by these second names (e.g. Bazanants). These names were mainly given to the elders of families. There even exists a short story about this phenomenon, which is based on a true story. One day a person goes to the village and stays at his relative’s house. Very soon he finds out that everyone in the village has a second funny name and the villagers often use it to address each other. One day this person goes out into the middle of the village, crosses his arms, stands there and waits for someone to give him his “second” name. At that moment, another person, who was accidently passing by, noticed the man standing and said out loud: “This JUG! Who is he???”
Goghashen’s name, according to its residents, stems from the felling of the thick forest that was once situated nearby. Since the most suitable path for the tree cutters went through the area, people named it Goghashen (with "gogh" meaning “thief” and Goghashen literally meaning “District of Thieves”).
Melo Nazaryan is one of those Gargar residents who stood by his faith and in difficult times prayed for divine help. He lived near Mt.Yamaj, and once saw that a stone cross rolled down the mountain.Although at the time Melo was a senior citizen, he put the stone on his back and climbed to the top of the mountain. But he found that the stone was stuck to his back and he couldn't remove it. Melo called for help, and soon people arrived to help him out.
Soldier who died on the front
During the war, a young writer Zalinyan Sarkis, who voluntarily went to the front, was killed in Ukraine. One of the village elders, Marietta Movsisyan, says that while moving his body to the grave they found a book of poems in his pocket. The young writer wrote to his mother, just as he did to his homeland, and penned the following quatrain about his native village.
"Since you are also my small village,
You have a patriotic heart.
Will you take me back
If I come home defeated."
Even his poems dedicated to his mother seem to have a hint of patriotism.
"I will come to your open arms forever,
dear mother only with our great victory."
As residents recall: "He never returned."
The residents of Yamaj are very proud of the fact that some scenes from the 1983 film version of ArmenTigranyan's opera “Anoush,” which was based on the motives of HovhannesTumanyan's poem of the same name, were shot with Gargar’s wonderful scenic nature as the backdrop.
Slaughtered habitats of Gargar
In Gargar there is an area of saturated land that has been known as Chlkut since 1918. People often used to take their animals to graze there. At that time, Turkey had already decided to lay claims on this territory. Once a Turkish telephone line was damaged by these animals.When Turkish soldiers discovered that the damage had originated there, those who had taken their animals to pasture at Chlkut were shot by Turkish soldiers (mostly boys under 15 years of age were killed).Only some of them managed to escape through the canyons.
And the heroes were buried...
One of the village residents recalls the following:“My grandmother, Kekel Mouradian, was 99 years old when she died in 1988. During that time my grandmother was the eldest in the village. Once, a young couple visited the village and went to the kolkhoz office,where they told the story of their uncle,Mamikon Gyunashyan, who was a Dashnak soldier and was buried in Gargar. They wanted to speak with the oldest person in the village, who at the time was my grandma. She told them that at that time, adults did not allow the youth to attend funerals. But my father remembered that dead soldiers were buried in the churchyard. There was even a song about that. “And the hero was buried under the wall of the destroyed church.” Gyunashyan’s sister was ill when she called her cousin and asked him to find her brother’s grave and repair it, and they were able to do so. To this day, residents place fresh flowers on the grave every day.
In the Village the Sargsyans were called Soghomats, who had a large arable fields, that were not so productive. Another villager, who was called Hepi grandfather leads the stock livestock, pets are Soghomats patahmamab sowing into Soghome comes Hepi grandfather beat the Hepi grandfather did not know who to complain to the village at that time there was a sacred place, which is called the Saviour is going on in this sacred place, asks God to protect him and Soghomin put into place next spring 'ghachaghs' were (people who are dissatisfied with Soviet power they fled to the mountains and forests that they live) Soghomi catching and killing the boys in the forest are Hepi grandfather says. "You see, I'm a fair man, and my latsn prayer reached heaven, God came hakhits Soghomats guys.
Marietta Movsisyan, who is 78 years old, believes that “what nature gives you, it takes backgradually.” Marietta is one of Gargar’s oldest inhabitants who livedthere for more than 50 years. Villagers often callher a“walking encyclopedia.” This cheerful woman worked in the village schoolfor over 50 years, asa teacher andprincipal. But she has seen her shareof tribulations in life. Her husband and young grandson both died at an early age. However, Ms. Marietta loves life and has hope. She continues to create in her everyday life and tends to her garden. Marietta says that the tourists who occasionally visit are often astonished by the variety of crops she grows.
“KIR U AGHBOR DOSH”
Gargar is also famous for one place known for its mysterious history and called “Kir U Aghbor Dosh” (Sister and Brothers’ Breast). There exist two main versions regarding the origins of this place-name. The first version accounts as follows: two orphan kids, sister and brother, lived in a village and once on a freezing winter day their stepmother threw them out of the house. The kids tried to protect themselves from the heavy cold behind the rock, but the snow was so heavy that they remained under the thick snow cover, got chilled and died. According to the second version a lezgi tribe wanted to kidnap the sister and her brother courageously fought for her. Soon the sister realized that they are unable to get free from the wicked tribe and she prayed to the God asking to turn them into stone. Today you can find that stone in Gargar, that very stone that symbolizes the bodies of the sister and brother.
Gargar residents have found memories of the famous film director, producer, actorand founder of Yerevan Dramatic Theater Hrachia Ghaplanyan and writer, journalist and translator Victor Balayan, both of whomwere born in Gargar but later moved to Yerevan to receive an education and launch their careers. But they never forgot their roots and would often visit the village, where they would organize events that were attended by everyone. Long-time residents remember howthey gathered together, sitting on logs while watching the performances given byBalayan and Ghaplanyan
A residentof Yamaj district recalls that a stone cross lay under a pine tree in Balayan’s backyard, the significance of which remains unknown to this day
Yamaj is one of the districts founded at the very beginning of Gargar’s history, named after the mountain of the same name. Another reason for the name comes from the fact that the district is situated on the slope of Mt. Yamaj.Residents say that this mountain stands apart from others and seems to protect them from both potential and improbable dangers. The quarter is also famous for its church, located on the mountain slope, a sanctuary and small pond farms nearby. As the pastures of Yamaj are surprisingly lush and green, most of the cattle in the village belong to Yamaj’s residents.