Did you know that in Yerevan you can find many ancient manuscripts? The good news is that everybody who wants to have a closer look at them can do it at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots – commonly known as "Matenadarn" (repository of manuscripts). In front of the Matenadaran, you will notice a huge statue of Mstoshtots (he created the Armenian alphabet in 405 AD) and his pupil Koriun.
The Matenadaran has a research institute (it is located in the new building built in 2011 near the main building) as well as museum & gallery (the museum part is located in the old - and main - building of the Matenadaran). It is operating since 1957. In this huge building, you may find manuscripts, the number of which is around 23.000. It's one of the world's richest depositories of medieval manuscripts), fragments of manuscript, documents, old printed books, precious bindings, individual miniatures. It has fifteen halls. The collection of the Matenadaran was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 1997 in recognition of its world significance.
At the Matenadaran you can get familiar with the development of medieval sciences in Armenia from their early stage as well as to learn more about Armenian culture. It contains pieces related to theology, philosophy, historiography, and history, geography, grammar, art and art history, medicine. Here, among other ancient books, you will have an opportunity to see the biggest book ever written in Armenian: the book is called "Msho Charntir" (Homilies of Mush). As it was huge and too heavy for one person to carry, two women divided it into two parts during the Armenian Genocide to save it. Thanks to them, it survived till our days and is hosted in the Matenadaran. You can also discover the smallest book ever written in Armenian.
The halls are divided on thematic bases: Artsakh exhibition, Mush and Karin, Vaspourakan's manuscript collection, the exhibition of archival valuable documents and etc. Almost in every single hall, impressive ancient Gospels are presented, together with many ancient Korans in Arabic and other languages, which is why many Muslims do not miss a chance to visit it. There are also digital copies of numerous manuscripts available in digital format.
The Matenadaran also has a gallery (and some halls) where you can find temporary exhibitions. This information is always updated on their official website. This repository of ancient manuscripts in Yerevan has a lot to offer to it's visitors; at anytime, you will find something new and interesting.
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