Things to do in Echmiadzin list is going to amaze you. Here you can find the list of top things to do and see in Echmiadzin Holy city that you definitely shouldn’t miss if by any chance you will visit Armenia.
One of the most important historical and religious capitals of Armenia, Echmiadzin, is the fourth largest city of the country. It houses some of the oldest churches of Christianity, that’s why it is unofficially the spiritual center of Armenia.
Many people even jokingly say that it is the Vatican for the Armenian Apostolic Church. Interestingly, the word Echmiadzin is translated as the “descent of the only begotten son of God”.
It’s of no surprise that this holy city has an unparalleled significance for the Armenians. In order to explore Echmiadzin properly we offer a full package of top things to do and see in this historical city that you should not pass up.
Things to Do in Echmiadzin #1: Archaeological Site of Zvartnots
The Cathedral of Zvartnots, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is situated only 15 kilometers away from the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. It is located on the highway of Echmiadzin, thus you can visit it either on the way to Echmiadzin, or at coming back from there.
Apparently, some centuries ago the place was used as a worship center. The building is a real architectural miracle. Presumably it was founded in 7th century (in 643-652) by Catholicos Nerses the Builder.
As you can guess from his nickname, the Catholicos of All Armenians, Nerses the Builder is known to be the constructer of countless monasteries and churches in Armenia during the period of his reign.
Though the Cathedral of Zvartnots was founded with the aim to stand for some thousands of years, it had a life for just 320 years. There are two popular assumptions about the cause of its collapse. The first version is that an earthquake destroyed the cathedral, while the other one says that the fall of the temple was caused by Arab invasions.
Zvartnots Cathedral hides a lot of mysteries, secrets and interesting things that are surely worth seeing. So, don’t miss your chance to enjoy the beauty of this majestic site with your own eyes.
Things to Do in Echmiadzin #2: Alex and Marie Manoogian Treasury House
This variant will perfectly suit for those who love exploring antiquity and artifacts. The Treasury House Museum is named in honor of American-Armenian benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Marie Manoogians.
The Treasury House is an excellent museum of paintings, carpets, antiquity clothing and artifacts. Furthermore, its exhibits have been brought to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin from various Armenian communities.
In the halls of the Treasury House you can find various samples of valuable artistic items, such as: church art, applied art, chalices, altar curtains, cross banners, reliquaries, lanterns, vestments, crosses, pottery, wood-engravings, unique handwritten records, manuscripts and many other things.
Include this place in your “Things to Do in Echmiadzin” list and enjoy the high artistic skills of Armenian craftsmen and feel their outstanding perception of beauty.
Things to Do in Echmiadzin #3: Saint Mesrop Mashtots Cathedral
This 19th century church in Oshakan village is only 6.8 miles away from Echmiadzin Monastery. The cathedral is one of the most unique and spiritual places in Armenia. So, take your time and don’t miss your opportunity to admire the beauty of this hidden gem.
This place is especially famous for being the burial place of the inventor of the Armenian alphabet, Saint Mesrop Mashtots.
The foundation of this church goes back to the 1875 – 1879 years. By the way, the entrance of the cathedral is decorated with the statues of 36 khachkars (cross-stones). They depict all Armenian alphabet letters that was created by Mesrop Mashtots.
So, don’t hesitate to visit this place as it is well worth seeing and enjoying its wonderful scenery and amazing park of Armenian letters.
Things to Do in Echmiadzin: #4 Breathtaking Cathedrals of this Holy City
The heart of the Armenian worldwide Apostolic Church, Etchmiadzin Cathedral is surely one of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Armenia. Can you imagine that it is considered as the world’s oldest church?
Furthermore, this mother cathedral is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The foundation of Etchmiadzin Cathedral dates back to 301 and, as it is said, the church was built by the initiative of patron saint of Armenia, Gregory the Illuminator.
Besides, the church is the official seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians. This spiritual-historical-architectural site is truly unique revelation for the researchers. Therefore, don’t miss your chance to see this identity symbol of all Armenians and feel its significance yourself.
Saint Hripsime Church
The 7th-century built Saint Hripsime Church is also a must-see place whether you are a believer or not. Are you curious to know in whose honor this church is named?
Well, Abbess Gayane and some other nuns, like Hripsime and Shoghakat, played an important role in adopting Christianity as the state religion in Armenia.
The legend has it that the Roman emperor Diocletian wanted to marry Hripsime, whereas she refused. In order to escape his persecutions this Christian virgin, together with other virgins came to Armenia. The Emperor decided to send a letter to King Tiridates III requiring him to find and martyr all the virgins, but sent her back to him.
However, the Armenian pagan King was captured by Hripsime’s unique beauty as well and it’s not strange that the king himself wanted to make her his wife. Anyway, Hripsime rejected him, too. Infuriated Tirdates ordered to isolate the nuns in different places and martyr them.
Saint Gayane Church
This church was erected in 630AD over the tomb of Virgin Gayane. As we already mentioned, she and some other nuns were martyred for preaching Christianity in Armenia.
By the way, this church is just a short walking distance from the Cathedral of Echmiadzin. This temple has a special national value as well. It belongs to another architectural masterpiece constructed in the epoch of Armenia’s early Christianity.
Things to Do in Echmiadzin: #5 Echmiadzin Historical and Ethnographic Museum
As part of your tour at the World Heritage site of Echmiadzin it is obligatory to visit Echmiadzin Historical and Ethnographic Museum.
It will offer you large collection of valuable exhibits, like church relicts, manuscripts, vestments and many other items. In brief, it displays all the treasures that the Cathedral of Echmiadzin safeguards.
This museum welcomes anyone who wants to learn more about the rich culture and religion of historical Armenia.
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