Geghard Monastery is the masterpiece of the 13th century Armenian architecture. At fist the monastery was called Ayrivank, but later it was renamed Geghard, as the lance used by Roman soldier to sting Jesus Christ. Monastery is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The monastery of Geghard contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley.
The Geghard complex is an exceptionally complete and well preserved example of a medieval monastic foundation in a remote area of great natural beauty. There have been no changes on the components of the inscribed property since the time of inscription. In addition, the property is surrounded by a substantial buffer zone, established in 1986, within which there are strict controls over any form of development and change.
Sevan Lake is the fascination and the pearl of mountainous Armenia, which is one of the world's greatest high altitude fresh-water lakes. It is about 1900 m above sea level. The lake is of volcanic origin and is surrounded with mountains of 3000 m and higer. The beautiful landscape and the crystal water serve nice preconditions for excellent rest.
Sevanavank is a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia, not far from the town of Sevan. Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, which started in the era of Joseph Stalin, the water level fell about 20 metres, and the island transformed into a peninsula.
Lake Sevan with its picturesque landscapes is a well-developed tourist location,.Sevanavank is one of the most visited tourism sights in Armenia.
The Khor Virap Monastery is located at the foot of the mighty Mount Ararat in Armenia, about 40 kilometers north of the capital Yerevan. The venerable monastery is of great religious as well as national importance as it is in the immediate vicinity of the Turkish border. When the weather is clear, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the legendary Mount Ararat, which rises to a height of 5137 meters.
The history of the region goes back to pre-Christian times. King Artaxias I founded it here in 180 BC. The ancient Armenian capital Artaxata. According to legend, King Trdat III. have held Saint Gregory (called "The Illuminator") imprisoned for over 13 years. The tyrant tried to persuade him to renounce Christian belief, but all his efforts were unsuccessful. Impressed by his stubbornness, the king finally gave in and even made Christianity the state religion in 301.
Originally there was only a small chapel on the hill, the St. Georg chapel, inaugurated in 642. Even today, two narrow entrances, starting from the inside, allow access to two holes in the earth, in which the saint - according to legend - was imprisoned. It wasn't until around a millennium later that the Mother of God Church was built here in 1661, which was gradually expanded into a small monastery over the following centuries.
On weekends, the monastery is a popular destination for locals, weddings and performances are often held here, which are very popular with the Armenians. Traditionally, white pigeons are also sold here to be released. For every released pigeon, one wish should come true, but certainly the wish of the seller. If you want to visit the facility in summer, it is best to do this in the morning, as it can get very hot during the day.
The Tatev Monastery is located 35 kilometers southwest of the city of Goris in the southern Armenian province of Sjunik. It lies high above the Vorotan Gorge at 1500 meters above sea level and has been accessible from Halidzor since 2010 with the “Wings of Tatev” cable car. The journey takes 11 minutes, 5.7 km are covered and the gondolas sometimes hover 500 meters above the gorge. Due to the road conditions, driving by car is less recommended.
History and meaning
It is not far from the mountain station to the monastery, whose construction began at the end of the 9th century and is well preserved. Tatev was a bishopric and exercised considerable religious, political and economic influence over the region. In the middle of the 14th century the philosopher Hovhannes Vorotnetsi founded an educational center here, later it became a university that attracted great scholars until the middle of the following century. In the course of the Soviet rule, the monastery was shut down, in 1931 there was a devastating earthquake, now the monastery is gradually being restored and monastery life has been resumed.
Facility and sights
The Peter and Paul Church, built between 895 and 906, sits enthroned in the middle of the complex, which is surrounded by a defensive wall. Four hundred years younger is the directly built Grigorkirche, dedicated to the man who was decisive for the foundation of the Armenian Apostolic Church: Gregory the Illuminator. The 11th-century Mother of God Church at the entrance to the monastery and an eight-meter-high stone pillar, which is located at the monks' cells and is staggered when touched, does not survive. The view from up here is spectacular and a visit to the monastery is a highlight of the trip through Armenia.
The oldest domed church is the cathedral of Echmiadzin, 301-303 by King Trdat III. (Tiridates) and Saint Gregory the Illuminator was built. His cruciform plan with four apses and a central dome on four columns is the outstanding contribution of the Armenian church architecture to the Christian architecture as a whole. This inventive discovery by Armenian architects spread throughout the country to Byzantium and then to Central and Western Europe. Another special feature besides the architectural qualities are the original paintings with interior frescos.
St. Gayane Church (AD 630) is the earliest example of early Christian and Armenian architecture that combines a three-aisled basilica with a central dome, a form that has prevailed in both Armenia and Western Asia. It is a four-column dome basilica with harmonious proportions, a central nave and two sacristies made of well-worked tufa (a stone of volcanic origin). St. Gayane Church is considered the best example of this type of church. Under the main apse, which is entered from the southeastern sacristy, is the arched tomb of the Holy Virgin Gayane. The roof and walls of the church were renovated in 1652. A canopy hall with three bays was built along the west facade of the church in 1683, at the north and south ends chapels are dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul. The Narthex Hall also served as a tomb for the Catholics.