Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap stands on the left bank of the Arax River, in Ararat Valley, in the shadow of Mt. Ararat (5165 m. and 3925m.). It is located at the site of a pagan temple to goddess Anahit, on hill 6 of the upper city of Artashat.

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St. Astvatsatsin

St. Astvatsatsin

This church, built on top of a hill, is the central structure of Khor Virap complex and the first building you see after passing through the gateway. 

The church, a domed hall type, was destroyed during the Timurid invasions of the 14th century and rebuilt in the 17th century. It was damaged again during the earthquakes of 1939, 1949 and 1957. The most recent renovation was in 2000-2001 within the framework of 1700th anniversary of proclaiming Christianity as state religion in Armenia.

The church is unique in that instead of the domed cruciform plan typical for medieval Armenian churches, the building is instead a domed long hall with two annexes, one on either side of the apse. On its outside, the building is topped by an eight-sided conical dome resting on its eight-faceted drum.

The western entry is protected by a 17th century bell tower boasting eight columns. 

Note that Astvatsatsin is a working church; please observe strict protocol when entering the church, especially when attending a service. Men should remove hats and women wear head scarves. You may purchase candles and other religious items at the entry desk.

Temple to Anahit

The temple was located in the area where the present Astvatsatsin now stands. It was, along with the Temple to Mythra/Apollo, one of the most important temples in the old city, and was covered with marble and copper plate, its treasury lavished with gold and silver plate.

Among artifacts found in early excavations was the head of an idol to Anahit, goddess of fertility and motherhood. One of the most beautiful sculptural pieces from the Near East, a copy is in the State History Museum in Yerevan. The original is now housed at the British Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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    How to reach From Yerevan drive 44 km to south. The trip will approximately take 40 minutes.

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