14 March, 2018 Tavush Region 2855 Views

Goshavank Monastery

Founded in 1188, Goshavank is famous for its founder, Mkhitar Gosh, scholar and author of Armenia’s first criminal code and for its intricate 13th c. khachkars (cross stone) and reading room, Armenia’s first law library. The monastery is inside the Dilijan forest preserve.

Monastery complex
In the late 12th c. the monastery became one of the most famous religious and scholarly centers in medieval Armenia, led by Mkhitar Gosh, who was buried in a little chapel overlooking the main complex, this monastery features a main church (Surp Astvatsatsin), smaller churches to St Gregory of Narek and St Gregory the Illuminator, and a matenadaran (library) that is said to have held 15,000 books. A fourth church topped by a bell tower was built on top of the library in 1991; entrance was via the external cantilevered staircase.

The monastery was abandoned after the Mongol invasion in 1375. Later on it appears to have been reoccupied between the 17th to 19th centuries and restored from 1957 to 1963. Another major restoration was underway at the time of research. 

Khachkars (cross stones)
The khachkars created by master carver Pavgos in Goshavank stand out among khachkars of the 13th c.  The best is the 1291 “Aserghnagords" (embroidered) khachkar with the maker’s name carved in the bottom left star. This is a true masterpiece, a stunning work of art.  The ornaments are carved in layers in a complicated design that seems to lift the stone from its base. 
 

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