Sevanavank (also known as “Mariamashen” or “built by Mariam”) sits on the peninsula east of Sevan City.


St. Harutiun

The oldest church at the site is St. Harutiun, believed to have been established by Grigor Lusavorich in 305.

The church is now in ruins but its trace foundations show its large size.

The church was one of the few central domed basilicas in Armenia, a design that became popular in the 5th century and which combines a dome feature that would later become a defining part of Armenian churches, added to  the triple nave temple design borrowed from ancient temples. 

Up until the 9th century, the domed cruciform shape that is often pointed to as the “Armenian style” was not prominent, except in a few examples like that at Artashat (Karmravor) and Talin or central plans at Zvartnots and Yeghvard. 

Rather, the use of the large triple nave structure, like its Romanesque cousins in Greece and Europe, would be prominent for several centuries until their collapse (following earthquakes and Arab invasion) made smaller, self-contained structures more practical and popular.

The dome placed over the nave church at Sevanavank was impressive.  Most of this type (Dvin Cathedral, Talin, Aruch) had their central domes collapse following earthquakes.   One good example that still survives is located in Sodk village, on the opposite end of the lake.

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    How to reach Sevanavank is about 1 hour northeast of Yerevan. Take the M-4 highway to the peninsula, then follow our signs to the parking lot, and climb the steps to the monastery complex.

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