Areni - St. Astvatsatsin church

St. Astvatsatsin Church (St. Mary's Church) is located at the eastern edge of the Areni village, on a mountain slope overlooking the left bank of the River Arpa.

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St. Astvatsatsin church

St. Astvatsatsin Church (St. Mary's Church) is located at the eastern edge of the Areni village, on a mountain slope overlooking the left bank of the River Arpa.

According to the inscription at the Western entrance, the church was commissioned by the religious leader of Syunik, Archbishop Hovhannes Orbel, and constructed in 1321 by the famous Armenian medieval miniaturist, sculptor and architect bishop Momik.

The church has a rectangular plan with a dome in the center and two eastern chapels. It has two entrances; to the west and south of the building. The church is remarkable for its soaring, proportionate patterns.

The bas-relief of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus on her lap at the Western entrance, with the exquisite carvings representing the four evangelists are among the finest and most valuable carvings in the Armenian architecture.

The church and  particularly the dome were  destroyed during the 1840 earthquake. The building was reconstructed in 1967-1972, and in 1998 the dome was rebuilt, commissioned by the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin I and the philanthropist Artashes Tyuzmetchyan.

The ruins of the Tarsaiyitch Orbelian castle, 11th-17th century khachkars and tombstones surround the church.

According to the Akhtamar Sopayetsi's inscription uncovered in the south of the building, situated years earlier at the location of St. Astvatsatsin was a church, with its remains preserved in the vicinity.


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    Working period/season Year around

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    Working days Monday-Sunday

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    Working hours 8AM-8PM

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    How to reach The church is about 2 hours from Yerevan, depending on your vehicle and driver. To get there go south on the M2 highway 110 km.

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