Noravank Complex

This complex sits on the southern slope of Gnishik River canyon, 3 kilometers to the east of Amaghu village. It was founded in 1105 by Bishop Hovhannes, the abbot of Hovhana monastery, in place of the earlier existing St. Karapet church and St. Pokas chapel.


St. Grigor Mausoleum

This small mausoleum-chapel was commissioned by Tarsayitch Orbelian and built by the architect Siranes in 1275. It houses the tombstone of Prince Smbat Orbelian.

The church floor is paved with ten large stones marking the graves of members of the Orbelian dynasty, among them Smbat Orbelian, Tarsayitch Orbelian and his wife Mina Khatun. The chapel has a rectangular layout with a small semicircular altar in the east and a vaulted ceiling.

The space was once decorated with frescoes, traces of which can still be seen on the ceiling. Some of the original painting still survives, a testament to the durability of the paint and its source, the famous Armenian “Vordan Karmir,” which was used as dye, manuscript ink, miniature paint, and to create frescoes and wall paintings in churches and royal houses.

The chapel houses the grave of the famous medieval politician Elikum Orbelian, the son of one of the most powerful Orbelian princes, Tarsaiyitch Orbelian, and the brother of historian Stepanos Orbelian. The inscription reads:

“Handsome Elikum, son of Great Tartsaiyitch, who like a lion bravely growled at the enemy. I beg you to remember him in prayers.”

The Orbelian family became particularly strong in the Syunik province during the reign of Lord Tarsaiyitch (1273-1290), when church power was concentrated into the hands of the Orbelians (ca. 1286).

During the reign of Prince Smbat, Lord Tartsaiyitch, and Burtel, arts and culture rose to new heights in Syunik. This era was marked by the activity of the architect and artist Momik and  saw the construction of St. Astvatsatsin church at Areni (1321), Zorats Cathedral at Yeghegis (also 1321), Spitakavor Astvatsatsin (1322) and the two story sepulcher-church at Noravank (1339).

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    How to reach Noravank monastery is located 122 km from Yerevan. Take M2 highway from Yerevan and as soon as you get to Areni village turn to the right.


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