Aragatsotn - Tegher Monastery

The inscription shows that the church and the gavit adjoining it on the west were built for Prince Vache Vachutian’s wife (“Mama Khatun”) and designed by architect Vardapet Aghbairik in 1213-1232.

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Monastery Complex

Monastery Complex

Tegher The monastery complex consists of the 1213 S. Astvatsatsin, a 1221 gavit with two domes towers, and a 19th c village as well as a new “D’gheratun” folk restaurant and museum. The D’gheratun plans to renovate the entire old village into a folk art center and lodge, making this one the more interesting spots in the region, well worth the stop.

The church of St. Astvatsatsin (1213) is made of dark gray basalt. The church is an enclosed cruciform type with four chambers in the corners, used as chapels and depositories. The large hall has a central dome and ends in a semicircular apse. The dome is supported by the corner columns of the square, and has a tall round drum. The décor is simple, without much design save the cornice moldings and the accentuation of the arches in the main area. The cupola of the dome is reach by a transition of layers from it base, accentuating the height of the space, the volume seeming to expand beyond its actual dimensions.

As you enter the church, look on both side walls immediately after the door; the inside walls boast niches, surmounted by a pointed arch, reminiscent of central Asian design predominant among the Muslim overlords at the time.

The church was built just before the Mongol invasions, and survived intact, a feat not much repeated in the country. The story goes that when they were building the church, Mama Khatun had the architects install these pointed arches so that invading Mongols would recognize them and consider the church one of their own. Interesting to note that the arch has two protruding arches on the below the top point, forming a trilogy of design features. The trilogy is one of the most constant symbols of the Christian faith, in this case allowing Mama Khatun to placate the Mongols while she confirmed the Christian purpose of the design.

The outside of the church, a rectangular building with two wall niches and windows on the north, east and south, is also simply done, with little attention to detail or the ebullient décor of its sister vanks at Hovhanavank and Saghmosavank. The round tower drum is topped with a tent roof. The roof over the church is gabled, in a cruciform design with the four corners of the central square supporting the drum for the dome.


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    Working period/season Year around

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    How to reach Continue uphill on the Dzorap road (take the left fork when given the choice) for about 5 km on a climbing, winding road past the turnoff to Orgov (at about 2.9 km) that gradually deteriorates as it reaches Tegher Monastery․

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