Every nation has something unique to be proud of. When it comes to Armenia, what do you think, what are Armenians proud of the most? Monasteries!
Armenians took and take their religion really seriously. Churches and monasteries always have been a crucial institution, because they served as schools, colleges as well. Hundreds in Armenia.
This time we are going to tell you about Noravank Monastery Complex in Armenia. The complex is comprised of several churches: St. Karapet church, St. Grigor and St. Astvatsatsin churches, St. Stepanos Church and vestibule.
This wonderful monastery is situated in a picturesque valley to the south of Armenia, in Vayots Dzor marz. The narrow gorge, which arms around the monastery, was dug by Amaghu River and is encircled by fabulous red rocks.
Unbelievably Interesting Story about the Construction of Noravank
This marvel of the Armenian architecture was built in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes, a former abbot of Vahanavank. The architect and sculptor of the most part of Noravank was Momik, who, besides Noravank, left huge stonework heritage.
He also carved a number of typically Armenian religious monuments known as “khachkars” (cross-stone), which usually depict an image of a cross and a circular symbol. Momik is also buried in a simple grave in the southern part of the monastery.
There is an unbelievable story connected with the construction of Noravank and Momik himself. Momik falls in love with the beautiful girl of Syunik prince. The prince promises Momik to let his daughter to marry him, only if in a very short period he can build an astonishing church.
Momik agrees. When the construction of the church is coming to its end, the prince orders one of his servants to go and do everything possible to hinder the architect. The servant secretly climbs to the dome of the monastery, where the sculptor is working, and pushes him.
The talented architect falls down from the dome of the church and dies. Pupils of Momik continue the construction of the monastery.
In the 13-14th centuries Noravank was a residence for Syunik province bishops and Orbelian princes.
How to Get to Noravank? There are so Many Exciting and Affordable Ways!
Noravank monastery is located in Vayots Dzor marz near the town of Yeghegnadzor. To reach this amazing site, one should drive off 122 km from Yerevan.
For traveling to the monastery there are various means; personal vehicle, taxi, tourist agencies, which provide tours with buses, mini-buses included in the price.
As well as new transportation means has recently appeared in Armenia, which can be very useful for every tourist travelling around Armenia. Car pooling! Yeah, we are sure that you, the foreigners, are well aware of this transportation system, which will help you to get to your destination in an affordable and comfortable conditions.
The drivers of the vehicles registered in the system mostly know English, and while taking you to the place, they will not tell about their past life or positions, which they have never held, but about marvels coming to your way in every step-in Armenia.
Share4car can provide you such a means of transportation in Armenia. Hostels in Yerevan provide various tours, which take you from Yerevan to Noravank and back.
Need to Stay Somewhere Overnight? We got you!
Near Noravank and surrounding villages there are also many guest houses and hotels, which provide affordable and high quality service for tourists. Some of them include Noravank B&B, which is only 12 km away from Noravank Monastery, Hotel Arpa, Terjanian Guest House and many others.
These hospitable guest houses provide food and drinks, including Areni wine for real wine lovers, comfortable accommodation and atmosphere thanks to which you will feel yourself at home.
Professional guides, which the tour organizers provide, or even residents of the nearby villages will be willing to tell you amazing stories and history of Norvanak. So, make sure that your brain memory is ready for that experience, as there is truly much to remember and take with you back.
Did You Know that Noravank is in the List of UNESCO World Heritage?
Noravank was an important cultural center, closely connected with educational and spiritual centers at Gladzor and Tatev Monastery.
History goes that under the chapel of the church a wellspring flew, which water had healing qualities.
In 2002 Noravank was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
While travelling to Noravank not to forget to take with you your camera, as there are so many breathtaking sights in the surrounding that your camera memory will surely be filled up.
Let’s examine Each Church of Noravank Monastery Separately!
St. Karapet Church
We can start with St. Karapet Church, which is the oldest structure in the complex.
As many other building across Armenia, the church is built from multi-color tufa. St. Karapet’s arches are very typical of Christian churches of that time.
Surb Astvatsatsin Church
Surb Astvatsatsin Church, which is also called Burtelashen, is the grandest in the complex. Burteiashen (also spelled Burteghashen; built for Burtel) was built for prince Burtel (Burtegh) Orbelian, who governed in Syunik in the early-mid 14th century.
It is situated to the south-east of the Surb Karapet church. This church is considered the masterpiece and the last work of architect Momik. His grave-khachkar is located just near this church. The first floor of this church was intended for family tombs.
Very-very narrow stairs (one can really get frightened when climbing them for the first time) above the western entry lead to the second floor. Both of the floors carry carvings, khachkars, arches, crosses and other ornaments, and it may seem that someone embroidered on the stone.
Besides, Noravank is the only church in Armenia, which has sculpture of Father the God on one of its walls, because all other sculptures depict Christ, but not Father the God.
St. Stepanos Church
St. Stepanos Church was built by prince Liparit Orbelian and Bishop Sargis in 1216-21.
It is a rectangular structure, the floor is covered with tombstones, including the tombstone of historian Stepanos Orbelian.
Surb (Saint) Grigor
The side chapel of Surb (Saint) Grigor was added later. Architect Siranes built it in the northern wall of Surb Karapet church in 1275.
The monastery witnessed invasions of Mongols and Timurid, was destroyed by earthquakes and revived again after all.
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