Yeghegis settlement

Yeghegis (Yeghegik) is one of the oldest settlements in Vayots Dzor region, once part of Armenia's Syunik province. It was the seat of the crown princes of Syunik in the 9th-11th cc.


Zorats Church

Zorats church is built on a hill overlooking the Yeghegis River. A number of exquisitely carved khachkars (cross stones) dating to the 10th-13th centuries lie on the ground in front of the church, some of the surviving tombstones go back to the 15th-17th centuries.

The church was dedicated by Bishop Stepanos –Tarsayitch (1324-1331), a grandson of Prince of Syunik Tarsayitch Orbelian, whose castle was in Areni. At the time, Armenia was a tributary of the Mongols (ca. 1242-1344), Armenian lords and troops requisitioned to fight against the Mamluks and Turko-tribes vying for the kingdom's rich lands.

Zorats is completely unique among Armenian monuments; there are no surviving structures like it in the country. Instead of a closed space with vaulted or domed ceiling, Zorats has no inner hall; the only roofed spaces are the eastern altar apse and its two flanking annexes, all of which are open to a large western yard. In addition, the altar is raised more than usual.

The church is said to be created so that warriors could receive the sacrament and the blessing of the church before going to battle. The blessing of troops and their horses before battle were commonplace, but no other church in Armenia was built exactly for that purpose, and with the idea of bringing both steed and soldier into the outdoor sanctuary.

The church was extensively renovated in the 20th century and excavation of the surrounding area is ongoing. The recent excavations uncovered foundations of some structures dated to 15th-16th centuries, well-preserved walls and window tympanums. The book depositary is considered among the most valuable discoveries. 

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    How to reach From the M10 highway that connects Martuni at Sevan Lake to the north and Yeghegnadzor in Vayots Dzor region to the south, when you arrive at village Shatin, turn east for approximately 7.5km.

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