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Rambler's Top100

ASHTARAK
: Itineraries | : admin | 15.03.2007, 03:56

The town of Ashtarak is located 20 km from Yerevan. There are many monuments of the late Middle Ages around it. At about five kilometers from the town there is an architectural complex of HOVAKAVANK. It includes basilica building of V century, cross winged-dome temple of XIII century which is decorated with various ornaments and bas-reliefs, vestibule, cross stones of the VIII century.
Not far from it there is the monastery of SAMOSAVANK in which once was a large repository of manuscripts.
In the northeast of Ashtarak stands the basilica of Yeghvard of VI century.
At the bottom of the mountain Arailer there is a temple of ZORAVOR. The building of church has the star-shaped form. The dome is supported by eight columns from within, between which the arches were spanned.
In Ashtarak there is a church TSIRANAVOR - the most ancient one of local monuments. This modest, laconic construction of basilic type was erected of black tuff in the V-VI centuries. The internal space of the building is divided into three parts by the columns supporting the dome. In the XVIII century the church was surrounded by one more external ring of walls. From the stone masonry, judging by the preserved architectural details it is visible, that the building of church was repeatedly reconstructed, that, within long centuries people cared of stability of walls, carefully closed up apertures, holes, leaving only loopholes as over long years basilica simultaneously served as a fortress and a refuge for neighboring inhabitants. Therefore Tsiranavor is otherwise called POKABERD (a Small fortress ).
Nearby, on the high rock, there are ruins of another badly kept church - SPITAKAVOR, erected in the III-XIV centuries. Construction has a square form. It lost its ceiling; only the walls of tuff survived. At present they are working on its reconstruction.
In the northwest of Ashtarak the harmonious silhouette of comparatively young church of MARINE is allocated. It was erected in 1821, and a bell tower was built in 1836. This is cross -winged dome construction with two vestibules. On the southern facade of church a sundial was placed, besides there stood a cross stone of the XIII century, and another one of the XVI century.
On the territory of the ancient cemetery situated in the suburb of the town, the unique chapel of KARMRAVOR constructed in the VII century was erected among cross stones. It is a unique monument in Armenia the tile roof of which has been spared up to now. Karmravor, actually, is a small mausoleum. Being a house of grief, the chapel looks secluded and lonely as if it is cut from single monolith. It has minimum decorative ornaments. Modest meshed ornament decorates only its eaves. Windows have small furnishing-whith carving. From the outside the inscriptions are cut on the perimeter of walls. The octahedral drum of the dome topped with unusual covering of helmet shaped form, rested on the arches basing on half columns. Twilight reigns inside the building.
There are lot of interesting cross stones around the chapel.TSAK-KAR was especially well-known among them i.e. the holey stone named so because of an aperture in a pedestal. The inscription on it informs that it was erected in 1268.

On the outskirts of Ashtarak, on a high slope there is a small church Saint SARKIS dating from the XIII century, which lately has been reconstructed.
In the northern surburbs of Ashtarak is located monastery of MUGNI. It was erected in the XII century in place of a chapel constructed on relics of George Pobedonosets. In the XVII century the bishop of Mugni completely destroyed a shabby chapel and on its place constructed church of roughly meshed stone, which was soon demolished as well. In 1664 the construction of St. George church was launched. It ended in 1670 and the church stands up to these days. The church is laid out of black meshed tuff; chess shaped masonry was laid out with red stones on the facades. In the extensive rectangular hall of church four columns support the dome. The drum of the dome is laid out in alternate rows of black and red stone. The high reliefs representing four apostles were carved. The vestries covered with the arch are located on both sides from altar. Hiding-places with mobile doors of a whole stone were arranged on the second floor. Eight big windows illuminate the premise of church.
The Church is famous for its rich decorative appearance from outside and murals inside. The walls are covered with colourful wall paintings. Around, there are pictorial groups of twofold and threefold cross stones inserted in a wall. Among them there are cross stones dating back to 986 as well. Entrances of church have the oak doors made in 1838-1839. Frames of the entrance and windows are covered with the finest carving. A lightning damaged the roof of the church and the dome. However they were repaired in XIX century.
The ARCADE was constructed simultaneously with the church. The ceiling of the gallery rests on the arches, connecting four columns with wall columns. The gallery ends up in twenty - column rotunda - belfry.
The territory of the monastery where economic and residential premises, refectory, fountain - pool are also available, is enclosed with fencing.
Long time ago a school has worked in Mugni. In the XI century manuscripts were created here. In 1870 one of the few acting spiritual schools of those times in Armenia, was opened there and existed till the first decade of the XX century.
Another interesting sight of Artashat is the bridge constructed in the XVII century on the place of more ancient one-arch bridge. The bridge is spanned above a very picturesque canyon of the river. This massive three-arch construction has a length of 75 meters and width of 5 meters. The triangular breakwater is located between the big and medium arches. The bridge has an ancient water mill with stone millstones. From the flour of this mill the tastiest bread in the town is baked.









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