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: Itineraries | : admin | 15.03.2007, 06:53

ZVARTNOTS is the most majestic construction of church architecture of Armenia. It was one of the wonders of its time. ZVARTNOTS took deserved place among the number of great phenomena and for ever remained in the history of universal culture for its high architectural art, impudence of idea and boldness of performance. It was constructed in 652 in the time of Nerses Catholicos on the place of a meeting between king Trdat and the first preacher of Christianity freed from the fifteen-year captivity - GREGORY the ILLUMINATOR. The temple stood until X century, but in the result of devastating earthquake in 930, this unique construction was destroyed. Prior to the beginning of the XX century on this place there were only small deserted hills with the shapeless remnants of constructions. It was possible to guess only from the books of our historians that the temple constructed here in VII century "was buried". At the beginning of the XX century a group of archeologists carried out big excavation. Architect Toromanyan supervised over these works. Unfortunately, none of historians left a concrete description of the temple. Numerous praises of eyewitnesses were kept only. The architect managed to recreate a composition of the temple only on the basis of measurements and laborious studying of each architectural detail. Construction appeared to be unusual to Armenia. Many doubted of the correctness of Toromanyan. But during the very time, unexpectedly, another expedition excavated a stone statue of one of the Armenian kings (Gagik). There was a breadboard model of church in his hands, which resembled like two peas in a pod a breadboard model represented by Toromanyan. So the assumptions of the architect were confirmed. As to romanyan the building consisted of three polyhedrons, put against each other, and decreasing in diameter and height. They were finished with a cone of a dome. The walls of construction outside were polyhedral, from within - completely round. From outside the walls were decorated by 64 semi columns, between which doors and oblong windows were placed. In the eastern part, behind the altar, there was an underground vestry. In the center of the temple in the floor there was a small pool for fulfillment of a christening ceremony .The work of builders of Zvartnots causes admiration. Walls of all circles have been richly decorated both from within, and from the outside by various vegetative ornament. The building seemed to be extended upwards, due to the skilful distribution of illumination. Light was amplifying over its course from the bottom part to the upper one. The eagles symbolizing the spiritual rise were represented on the capitals of the columns. The remnants of a painting on plaster, pieces of a mosaic, a tile, and also a rich carving on stone testified the magnificent furniture of Zvartnots found out at the excavation site of the altar parts. The freakish ornament framed the eaves crowning circles and arches, braided window apertures and all five entrances. Both palm leaves and branches, and pomegranate fruits, and bunches of grape were engraved on the stones. There were also geometrical figures and sculptural portraits of people. This extraordinary construction was tried to be repeated in later times in different areas of Armenia, but the constructions appeared to be fragile. Zvartnots had stood for more than 300 years before it fell from a strong earthquake. Not far from Zvartnots there was constructed a big palace. From whatever remained of the once princely mansion we can infer that this building corresponded to its neighbor both in terms of scale and architectural - art qualities. The palace had two wings, which stood at the right angle to each other and were incorporated by a corridor. The front part of the building consisted of two halls. The hall of columns, probably, served as a summer reception, and another one - as throne-room or refectory. Both residential rooms, and subsidiary services were situated there. In the other wing cells and economic premises were located. There was also a bath in the same place. Nearby the palace a winepress has survived with the big stone tubs for running off the squeezed juice. The deep well is also preserved. The huge fan of a sundial sprawls all over the territory of the temple; enormos pitchers were not the least telling artefacts resulting from the excavations.
In 1937 a museum was opened here.
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