Shamut: village hidden in Lori’s wild mountains
by Nane Vardanyan
The neighborhood of Motkor in Armenia’s northern Lori region includes the villages of Marts, Lorut, Atan, Shamut, and Ahnidzor, and is believed to be one of the less-discovered corners of the province. Shamut is one of the modest ancient villages hidden in mysterious forests, mountains, and valleys. It got its name from the pine tree species found in the area.
In 2022, Shamut joined the number of beneficiary communities of the COAF SMART Center, enabling the village youth to obtain modern multidisciplinary education, the residents — to be exposed to a more stimulating social and cultural environment, and benefit from the Center’s Child Development Corner, psychological and social work services.
Shamut is rich in historical and cultural values. Several cross-stones (khachkars) found here date back to the 13th century, according to the list approved by the Government of the Republic of Armenia in 2002.
Luckily or accidentally, the “excavations” have occasionally been carried out by the residents. One of the genius findings of the village is the aged oil stone, the personal discovery of Hamlet Solomonyan.
“They say our grandfathers used it to get oil,” says Gor Shimalyan, a newcomer student at the COAF SMART Center. The stone is now placed in the middle of the community as a testimony of its old forgotten days.
One of the mysterious stories of Shamut is about a fortress located between two rivers under a mound. They say it used to be a shelter during the wars and was built between the rivers to use the water when necessary.
In addition to the unspoiled panoramic views, the authentic breath of the Armenian village lives on in everyday occupations, old houses, and traditions.
Vardavar is around the corner, and the villagers plan to celebrate it together in the mountains. “We gather, cook lamb, the women clean the grilled eggplant-pepper, and we drench everyone with water,” explains “the ceremony” Gor Shimalyan.
Emigration has hit all the villages, and Shamut is no exception. This village, reminiscent of a large family, has 217 inhabitants, and the school, founded in 1927, has 25 students.
The thread that connects the inhabitants of a small village to the world and new opportunities passes through the SMART Center and can become a solid bridge of beautiful possibilities.