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Ամարաս - Amaras

According to the testimonies of Armenian historians Amaras has been a famous religious and cultural center since the 4th century, when Gregory the Illuminator founded a church here. In the 5th century Mesrop Mashtots opened one of the first Armenian schools here. The church surrounded with formidable rampart is built of white well-hewn limestone. The church has been destroyed by invaders for several times, but it has always been restored.

 

 

 

 

Առուճ - Aruj

Century of Foundation: VII Date of Foundation: 660 Region: Aragatsotn Location: Talish village Aruch, a domed- hall design, was built in the late 660s by Grigor Mamikonyan, an Armenian nobleman, as part of his residence (the present-day village of Talish). The church is characterized by a spacious interior, with a pendent-like transition of the dome and copious stone-carving. Fragments of a 17th-century wall painting depicting Jesus Christ Enthroned and the Apostles adorn the main apse. A palace attributed to Grigor Mamikonyan, with a large rectangular central hall, side-chambers and galleries all along its perimeter, was unearthed in south of the Church.

 

 

 

Բղենո-Նորավանք - Bgheno-Noravank

Century of Foundation: XI Date of Foundation: 1058 Region: Syunik Location: Tatev village The focal point of the 11th century Bgheno Noravank Monastery is a church built in 1058- a vaulted building with wide-open arched apertures on the western, northern and southern sides. In 1962 a roofed gallery, running around the building on three sides, was added. Many reliefs on the monastery walls deal with various subjects from the mundane life of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

Գանձասար - Gandzasar

Among the monuments of Artsakh, Gandzasar monastery has its significant and special place. It is considered to be one of the pearls of Armenian medieval architecture. It consists of a church, monk cells and other buildings of economic significance. The dome of the cupola of the main church is of great artistic value due to its delicate bas-reliefs. The monastery is built on the peak of Gandzasar Mountain (mountain of treasures).

 

 

 

Գեղարդ - Geghard

Century of Foundation: X Region: Kotayk Location: 4 miles south-east from the Garni village The astounding Geghard monastery is situated 6 km from the temple at Garni and is revered throughout Armenia as one of the country's greatest spiritual and cultural centers. First called Ayrivank, or the Monastery of the Caves, the history of Geghard dates back to pre-Christian times. The present buildings here date back the 10th- 13th centuries, when the monastery was renamed Geghard, meaning ‘spear’ or ‘lance’ in Armenian. The association itself harkens back to the times of Jesus, when a spear was used by a Roman soldier to pierce the body of Christ during the Crucifixion. The spear was long housed at Geghard, but is now in the museum of Echmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard is an architectural wonder – a complex of churches hewn from within a mountain of solid rock. Particularly, the main church with its vestibule is striking, alongside three other churches which comprise the site. The main church, Saint Katoghike, dates back to 1215. Together with other domes and columned belfries, the Geghard complex is deservedly one of the most popular destinations for the locals and tourists alike. Boasting intricate stone-carvings, a natural spring, and numerous stone crosses (khach-kars), Geghard has endured all manner of assaults throughout the past 700 years.

Գնդեվանք - Gndevank

Century of Foundation: X Founding Date : 936 Region: Vayots Dzor Location: Gndevaz village Gndevank Monastery includes a four-apse domed church dating back to 936, with the ruins of a wonderful 10th century wall painting of the Virgin. A gavit (hall), one of the most ancient of its kind, is situated at the church’s western side. 17th century homes and utility buildings engulf the complex in the south, where both khachkars of the 10th-13th centuries and remarkably interesting everyday-life reliefs on 17th century gravestones catch the eye.

Գոշավանք - Goshavank

Century of Foundation: XII Date of Foundation: 1191 Region: Tavoush Location: Gosh village Nor-Ghetik or Goshavank is an example of 12th-13th century architecture. It was founded by Mkhitar Gosh, a medieval Armenian ruler who was both a scholar and a politician. The earliest building is the Church of the Virgin (1191-1196). On the church’s western side is a large four-column gavit (1197-1203). The other church is St Gregory (1208-1241) near a small chapel named for St Gregory the Illuminator (1237) the portal and decorative arches of which exemplify the architect’s remarkable taste and décor. A 13th century book depository, its roof resting on criss-crossed arches, was later topped with a belfry (1291). A number of small chapels complete the site, surrounded by delicately carved khatchkars, works of the master Pavhos (13th century), one of which is displayed now in the State Museum of Armenian History.

 

Դադիվանք - Dadivank

According to a legend Dadivank was founded in the 1st century over the tomb of St. Thadeu's disciple Dadi. The survived edifices now belong to the 12-13th centuries. Constructed on a hollow place, Dadivank is surrounded with dense forests. The wall inscriptions of Dadivank contain lots of valuable information about Armenian history. Dadivank is also famous for its two khachkars (cross-stones), which have gained the fame of being masterpieces.

 

Զվարթնոց - Zvartnots

Century of Foundation: VII Date of Foundation: 641 Region: Armavir Location: Zvartnots The architectural masterpiece of Zvartnots was built by the order of the Catholicos Nerses III between the years 641 and 662. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 10th century and unearthed nearly a thousand years later in 1900-1907, in the town of Echmiadzin. The construction of Zvartnots began around 643, after Armenia’s recovery from the devastation that followed the first Arab invasions in 640. In an attempt to stave off the pillaging of their country, the Armenians looked to sign a peace treaty with Arabs, only to provoke military outrage from co-religionist Byzantium in 652. After the capture of Dvin, the Armenian capital, the emperor Constantine demanded both a religious union and the adoption by Armenians of Chalcedonism - the extreme Orthodox belief within the Greek church. Once more, Armenians were faced with the eternal problem of choosing between East and West. During this round, the partisans of Arab alliance prevailed and the Catholicos Nerses, a passionate supporter of the religious union with Byzantium, was forced to leave together with the Byzantines and settle in his native village of Ishkhan. After the Arabs were ousted from Armenia he reappeared in Echmiadzin and spearheaded the efforts on a huge construction project, which eventually became embraced nationwide. Unfortunately, a series of devastating earthquakes during the 10th century, destroyed the cathedral. Excavations at the site took place in the 12th century, the restorations- in the early 20th century.

Խոր Վիրապ - Khor Virap

Century of Foundation: IV Region: Ararat Location: Lusarat village Khor Virap dates back to 4th –17th centuries and offers the best view of the Sacred Mountain Ararat where Noah's Ark landed. Khor Virap is one of the most popular destinations in Armenia. It is the place where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years for preaching the word of Christ. He converted King Trdat III in 301 and the King adopted Christianity as the state religion. The hill of Khor Virap and the adjoining plains mark the settlement of an early Armenian capital. According to legend, the Carthage general Hannibal spent his twilight years in this area.