Spitakavor St Astvatsatsin Monastery

This church was the original repository of a bas-relief portrait of Prince Each with his son Amir Hassan (now in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg) with another of Amir Hassan at the hunt (State History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan) and carvings representing Jesus and the four evangelists on the dome wall.

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Spitakavor St Astvatsatsin Monastery

This monastery (also referred to as St. Astvatsatsin, Boloraberd monastery, Gyolvank) was started by Prince E'achi Proshian and after his death (1318) finished by his son Amir Hassan II in 1321. It is built of polished felsite stone, which gives it its name (“Spitak” means white in Armenian).

The church, a domed hall type, boasts a cruciform interior and a square exterior. It is adorned with high relief sculptures in spiritual and secular themes that are among the most valuable patterns in medieval Armenian architecture.

The tympanum carving depicts St. Mary with the Christ child in her lap. This church was the original repository of a bas-relief portrait of Prince Each with his son Amir Hassan (now in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg) with another of Amir Hassan at the hunt (State History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan) and carvings representing Jesus and the four evangelists on the dome wall.

The church sculptures are attributed to the famous 13th century artist Momik.

To the west lies the gavit (built between the years 1321 to 1330) with an almost square ground floor. Attached to the west wall, the three-story belfry was built in 1330 for  Hovhannes and his wife Tatch. The courtyard includes ruins of tombstones, monk cells and defensive walls dated to a later period. 

After Gladzor University closed, Spitakavor became the cultural center for Proshian lands. It also housed a calligraphy center, led in the 2nd half of the 15th century by the Abbot Avagter.

In 1987 the remains of the famous Armenian statesman and military figure Garegin Nzhdeh were moved to Spitakavor, with the basalt tombstone and the red tufa-carved khachkar (cross stone) installed in 1989.

The group of monuments was renovated in the 1960s-1970s and in 2006.


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    Working days Sunday - Monday

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    How to reach Spitakavor’s St.Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) monastery complex is located in the Vayots Dzor 8-9 kms north of the Vernashen village.

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