Not far from the city of Yeghegnadzor, some 120 km from the capital city Yerevan, in a mountainous area is located the Noravank Monastery. This complex is one of the architectural highlights that the majority of travelers want to see during their visit in Armenia. The road to Noravank may seem long but never boring, as on the way, you can admire the Armenian landscapes and stop in different villages to buy local fruits & vegetables. As almost all old monasteries in Armenia, the Noravank is situated on a hill from where you can almost touch the sky.
Noravank is a 13th-century monastery. From the 13th to the 14th century, it was one of the major religious and cultural centers of Armenia. The complex has two churches: St. Astvatsatsin and St. Karapet.
The St. Astvatsatsin Church was constructed in 1339, by a well-known architect Momik. He was an architect of many different churches, but they say that the Noravank was his last and the best work. The church has two floors. You can get to the second floor from the outside by the narrow stairs. The construction was financed by the Burtel Orbelian’s family, so on the first floor are placed the tombs of his family members. On the second floor, you can find a multi-columned rotunda. In general, the building is very unique in its style and impressive, both from inside and outside. The walls are decorated with different ornaments.
picture © credits to Aramyan
The St. Karapet Church, built by Lipartit Orbelian, is located nearby the St. Astatsatsin Church. It was constructed in 1227, and it was named after the church that was situated at the same place and was ruined during the earthquake. The church has been reconstructed several times, but it never lost its initial look. The facade of the church is decorated with a depiction of “God the Father”, surrounded by nice ornaments. What’s interesting, this image of God, by the main entrance, reminds of the Mongols appearance of that times. They say that Momik designed it that way so that the Mongols associate that image with themselves and don't destroy the church. Taking into consideration that the church remains standing till our days, we can assume that the idea of Momik did work.
picture © credits to Tomasz Dutkiewicz
Besides the churches you can see there and the impression you get by exploring it from inside, you will also admire a mind-blowing scenery that opens from the Noravank Monastery. The hills with brick-red cliffs that surround the area, as well as a hill on which the monastery is placed and from where you feel like you can touch the sky, are all surrounded by a gorge where the river Amaghu flows. This place is nice at any time of the day but the evenings, and especially the sunsets, make it even more admirable by wrapping the area in beautiful colors. It is also a perfect location to take pictures.
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