Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

Haghpat Monastery, also known as Haghpatavank (“Հաղպատավանք” in Armenian), is a medieval Armenian monastery complex in Haghpat, Armenia.

Described as a “masterpiece of religious architecture and a major center of learning in the Middle Ages”, this venerable institution of the Armenian Apostolic Church was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1996.

The monastery was founded by Saint Nishan (Sourb Nshan) in the 10th century during the reign of King Abas I. The nearby monastery at Sanahin was built around the same time.

The monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin were chosen as UNESCO World Heritage Sites because:

The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region.

The location of Haghpat Monastery was chosen so that it overlooks the Debed River in northern Armenia’s Lori region. It was built, not on a peak, but halfway up a hillside on a site chosen to afford protection and concealment from prying eyes and also in response to a kind of monastic humility. It is built on a verdant promontory located in the middle of a mountain cirque, which is often wreathed in clouds. A peak on the opposite side of the river is over 2,500 meters high. The monasteries of northern Armenia are not isolated, unlike their counterparts in the country’s arid regions. They were built in a village environment and Haghpat is surrounded by many hamlets.

The small church of St. Nishan is Haghpat’s earliest surviving building. It was begun in 966-67 and was later enlarged and embellished under the direction of Trdat the Architect.

The largest church in the complex, the Cathedral of St. Nishan, was built from 967-991. It is a typical example of tenth century Armenian architecture, its central dome rests on the four imposing pillars of the lateral walls. The outside walls are dotted with triangular recesses. A fresco in the apse depicts Christ Pantocrator. Its donor, the Armenian Prince Khutulukhaga, is depicted in the south transept (a transversal nave intersecting the main nave). The sons of the church’s founder, Princes Smbat and Kurike, are shown with Queen Khosravanuche in a bas-relief on the east gable. Apart from one or two minor restorations carried out in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the church has retained its original character.

There are several other structures at the site as well. There is the small domed Church of Sourb Grigor (St. Gregory ) from 1005. Two side chapels were added to the original church; the larger one built in the beginning of the 13th century and the smaller, known as “Hamazasp House”, built in 1257. In 1245, a three-story tall free-standing belltower was constructed. Other 13th century additions include the chapel of Sourb Astvatsatsin, the scriptorium, and a large refectory which is outside of the monastery limits.

There are also a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the 11th-13th centuries standing on the territory of the monastery, the best known among them is the “Amenaprkich” (All-Savior) khachkar which has been standing since 1273.

The monastery has been damaged many times. Sometime around 1130, an earthquake destroyed parts of Haghpat Monastery and it was not restored until fifty years later. It also suffered numerous attacks by armed forces in the many centuries of its existence and from a major earthquake in 1988. Nevertheless, much of the complex is still intact and stands today without substantial alterations.

Today the area is an increasingly popular tourist site.

Outline
Haghpat Monastery, also known as Haghpatavank ("Հաղպատավանք" in Armenian), is a medieval Armenian monastery complex in Haghpat, Armenia.

Recommended world heritage video

  1. Wieliczka Salt Mine

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

  2. Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery

    Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery

  3. Acropolis of Athens

    Acropolis of Athens

  1. Acropolis, Athens

    Acropolis, Athens

  2. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  3. Litomyšl Castle

    Litomyšl Castle

  1. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

    The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

  2. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  3. Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

    Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

  1. The Trulli of Alberobello

    The Trulli of Alberobello

  2. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  3. Old City of Zamość

    Old City of Zamość

  1. Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

    Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

  2. Wachau Cultural Landscape

    Wachau Cultural Landscape

  3. Ring of Brodgar

    Ring of Brodgar

  1. Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

    Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

  2. Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

    Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

  3. Alto Douro Wine Region

    Alto Douro Wine Region

  1. Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon

    Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon

  2. Laponian Area

    Laponian Area

  3. Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias

    Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias

  1. Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

    Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

  2. Wartburg Castle

    Wartburg Castle

  3. Røros Mining Town and the Circumference

    Røros Mining Town and the Circumference

  1. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

    The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

  2. Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

    Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

  3. Limes

    Limes

  1. Ironbridge Gorge

    Ironbridge Gorge

  2. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  3. Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

    Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

  1. Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof

    Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof

  2. Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

    Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

  3. Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

    Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

  1. Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

    Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

  2. Historic Centre of Riga

    Historic Centre of Riga

  3. L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

    L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

  1. Semmering Railway

    Semmering Railway

  2. Tower of London

    Tower of London

  3. Meteora

    Meteora

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top