Ashtarak is located 20 km northwest of Yerevan on the banks of the Kasakh River in Aragatsotn Region. The city is mentioned for the first time in the 9th century as a fertile and productive village and sometimes town. Many ancient monuments and works of art remain standing in Ashtarak.
Tsiranavor that means apricot hue was founded in V century by Catholicos Nerses II Bagrevandtsi. It’s a rectangular plan triple-nave basilica with horseshoe apse and two chambers in the left and right sides. Two rings of walls surrounded it from outside. However, the church also served served as a stronghold called Pokaberd meaning Fortress of Pok. The roof of the central nave was supported by three pairs of T-shaped piers, which was characteristic of V century Armenian architecture. The roof of the church was ruined in 1815.
The legend goes with three sisters living in Ashtarak who fell in love with a young man named Sargis. Two of the eldest sisters sacrificed their love to the youngest one by committing suicide. They threw themselves into a gorge wearing an apricot and red dresses. The bad news was followed with a suicide by the youngest sister who threw herself into the gorge wearing white. The broken hearted Sarkis became a hermit after the death of the three sisters. The three small churches - Karmravor (reddish), Tsiranavor (apricot hue) and Spitakavor (whitish) at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters' dress colors.