Kecharis Monastery

This monastery was a famous religious and cultural center in Armenia in the Middle Ages.


Kecharis Monastery

This monastery was a famous religious and cultural center in Armenia in the Middle Ages. Kecharis is where some of the country's most outstanding medieval scientists and politicians lived and worked. It was also a major center of calligraphy where hundreds of manuscripts were created and copied.

The complex consists of four churches, a gavit, two chapels and a cemetery with tombstones and elaborately carved khachkars (stone crosses). 

The inscription on the southern entry says that St. Gregory the Illuminator church, the main structure in the complex, was commissioned in 1033 by Grigor Magis­tros. It is a domed hall type with two-storey annexes on both sides of the altar apse.

Adjoining it to the west is the central-domed gavit with a rectangular plan and four columns (late 12th c.). To the south of the main church are located St. Nshan domed church with proportionate patterns and Katoghike with two-story annexes at the four corners. Cruciform on its inside, Katoghike (attributed to the medieval architect Vetsik) was commissioned in 1203-1214 by Vasak Khaghbakian.

Small Saint Harutyun church (1220) is located about 120 m. of the main group of monuments. Prince Grigor Apiratian (1099) perished during the battle against the Seljuq Turks, Grand Prince Prosh (1284) and others  are buried in the churchyard. Among the khachkars remarkable is Vetsik's tomb (13th c.) erected by his architect brothers. 

Kecharis monastery was repeatedly ruined and renovated throughout the centuries. The complex structures were renovated during the Soviet years; the roofs were covered with stone slabs, the area was surrounded by a wall in 1947-1949, the domes of Katoghike and St. Gregory the Illuminator churches were renovated in 1900s. The monastery was reconsecrated on July 9, 2000 by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

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    How to reach From Yerevan take M1 highway drive east for 33km, turn to the left towards H5 highway and drive 9km to reach Kecharis Monastery.

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