Vagharshapat is the fourth-largest city in Armenia and the most populous community in Armavir Province. It is about 18 km west of the capital, Yerevan, and 10 km north of the border between Turkey and Armenia. A lot of people call it Ejmiatsin or Echmiadzin or Etchmiadzin, which was its official name from 1945 to 1995. It is also called Ejmiatsin. Even in official government bureaucracy, people still use it.
The city is best known as the home of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, which is the Armenian Apostolic Church's main cathedral and home. It is called a "holy city" in Western sources, and in Armenia, it is called the country's "spiritual capital" because it is so important to people there. It was one of the most important cities and the capital of ancient Greater Armenia, and it still is today. A small town by the early 20th century, it became a suburb of Yerevan during the Soviet period, which made it look like a part of the city. In 2016, there were about 37,000 people living there.
According to Movses Khorenatsi, the area around Vagharshapat was called Artimed because it was named after the Greek deity Artemis, who lived in the area. After that, Prince Vardges Manouk rebuilt the settlement near the shores of the Kasagh River during the reign of King Orontes I Sakavakyats of Armenia (570?560 BC). Later, it was changed to Avan Vardgesi or Vardgesavan. If you look at Procopius' first book, Wars of Justinian, you'll see that he refers to the city by the name Valashabad (Balashabad), which is named after the Armenian king Vologases I, who lived there. The middle l turned into a gh, which is common in the Armenian language. This caused the name to change. In Movses Khorenatsi's book, he said that King Vagharsh I rebuilt and fenced the town of Vardges so that it became known as Norakaghak and then Vagharshapat.