The history of protected nature areas in Armenia has duration of thousands years. The Armenian chroniclers say that since the end of the 3rd and begging of the 2nd centuries B.C. there was an evidence of activities aimed at nature protection.
Khosrov Forest state reserve is one of the oldest protected areas in the world having a history of about 1700 years. The reserve preserves ancient cultural amenities, historical-architectural monuments, unique plant and animal species, splendid diversity of scientific landscapes.
The reserve was founded in 334-338 by the order of Armenian King Khosrov III Kotak (Kotak means small), to improve the natural-climatic conditions of adjacent territories of Artashat city – the capital of Armenia of the given period and the newly established Dvin city to ensure conservation and enrichment of flora and fauna species; serve as a ground for royal hunting, military exercises and entertain. According to the chronicler Movses Khorenatsi during the king’s reign forest plantings were carried out on the territory of the present reserve and the whole country took part in that activity. In addition, on the same territory the king established special hunting grounds for bird and animal hunting. Later the forest was enriched with hunting animals brought in from other places, especially from Persia. This reserve that Khosrov had founded was the only state forest reserve in the Roman Empire and among the first in that region.
In accordance with the evidence of Armenian historian Pavstos Byuzand, two fenced forests, called “Tachar Mayri (Sacred Forest)” and “Khosrovakert”, were established on both banks of Azat river. “Tachar Mayri” forest started from Garni Temple and stretched to Dvin city. “Khosrovakert” was established in between Artashat and Dvin cities along the reeds. During many centauries “Khosrovakert” forest disappeared. The remained “Temple Mayri” was later merged with the natural forest. The King Khosrov’s forest remained during the centuries to become a reserve.
The area is closely linked with the history of Armenian nation and glorious episodes of historical past starting from the periods of polytheistic pagan and Hellenistic culture. In the historical past, the present territory of the reserve was included in Ayrarat State of Mets Hayk Kingdom. In the Middle Ages the state was one of the densely populated and lively areas. It was the area of central provinces Ayrarat and Syunik of Ancient Armenia (Great Hayq as per 7th century map), the residences of kings – capital Dvin and Artashat, the residence of Catholicosate (Havuts Tar) – the supreme patriarch of all Armenians, as well as the arena of historical events. It was also the place where famous personalities of religious and secular life, such as Grigor Lusavorich (240-326), Grigor Magistros (11th century), Gevorg Marzpetuni (10th century) and others lived and acted. The Silk Road passed through the reserve territory. The evidences of the historical past – preserved or partly destroyed remnants of secular and spiritual structures (fortresses, castles, churches, cross-stones, remnants of abandoned villages, grave-yards and others) together with the natural peculiarities of the area make Khosrov Forest reserve more famous and attractive.
People perpetuate the name of Khosrov King not only giving his name to the forest, but also to Khosrov settlement, Khosrov River and Khosrovasar Mountain.
In September of 1958 the Government of Armenia adopted a decision to declare Khosrov forest as reserve zones. It was created to conserve and improve the unique flora and fauna.
Khosrov forest is the evidence of the Armenian people’s caring attitude towards historical monuments. Thanks to their attitude, the virgin forest located near the current capital of Armenia-Yerevan has been preserved for 17 centuries.