11 March, 2018 Lori Region 2017 Views

Haghpat Monastery

Occupying a commanding position overlooking the gorge, Haghpat monastery has atmosphere and architectural splendor in spades. Founded around 966 by Queen Khosrvanuch, who funded construction of the domed Surp Nishan (Church of the Holy Cross) at the center of the complex. Surp Nishan's frescoes and the porch, gavit, bell tower, library and chapter house were added later on. The monastery's name means 'huge wall', acknowledging its hefty fortifications.
Other buildings in the complex include two 11th-century churches and a freestanding 13th-century gavit at the rear of the site. This has glorious acoustics and frames a magnificent view over the landscape. 

 

Invasions of Mongols, Lenk Timur, Ottomans and Persians
In the 13th c. the Mongols captured the monastery and decimated the countryside, pulling down Lori Berd.  From this the monastery recovered, further decimated by the legions of Timur and then the Ottomans. When Persia and Ottoman Turkey divided Armenia in the early 16th c., Haghpat monastery went under Persian control.  Craftsmen and artisans were removed to Iran, where they enriched the Safavid dynasty at Jhulfa, Tabriz and Tehran.

The sloping complex is truly awe-inspiring, retaining much of their original character.  It is considered the best example of Medieval Armenian architecture in existence (promoters of Tatev and Garni/Geghard aside).  Haghpat monastery was designated a World Heritage site in 1996.
 

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