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Haghartsin Monastery

XII-XIII centuries, Haghartsin village


The monastery is located in a forested area in the Tavush region 18 km north from the city Dilijan on the upper reaches of the Haghartsin River and about 2 km away from the village of Haghartsin.


The foundation date is unknown. The monastery started prospering at the end of the 12th century and at the beginning of the 13th century during the superiority of cleric Khachatur Tarontsi  It is mentioned as an educational-scientific center in the 13th century among the leading cultural centers. Haghartsin Monastery has four churches, two vestibules (one destroyed), a refectory, prayer rooms, and khachkars. The ancient St. Gregory's Church (circa 10th century) is a cross-shaped structure on the inside with sacristies in the four corners, and a rectangular, domed structure on the outside. Harba's son Khalt S. built a small single-nave, vaulted church called Katoghike to the north of  St. Gregory in 1194.

At the end of the XII century, the prince Ivane Zakaryan S. built a four-columns-vestibule to the west of the St. Gregory Church. There are sculptures on the corners of the ceiling of the vestibule, and from those are valuable the full-body sculpture of father Daniel and monastery's housekeeper Simeon with a ladle in his hands. There are also full inscriptions, respectively. To the east of the st. Gregory church, quite close to it, St. Stepanos domed church was built in 1244 with blue basalt and with elegant details. Haghartsin Monastery is currently completely renovated with the funding of the sheikh Sharjah.


Haghartsin Monastery received a 350 kg bronze cauldron with the help of the priest Zosima in the XIII century and the engraving on its illustrated lip marks the year of preparation, which is 1232. The cauldron is one of the high-quality works of the Armenian metallurgy and has carved legs. The four handles of the pot are statues of lions. The architect Minas, with the participation of Grigores and Movses, built a refectory in the western side of the monastery complex in 1248. It is considered to be one of the best works of secular architecture of medieval Armenia. It is a spacious, rectangular hall (21.6x9.5 m in size) with two equal, oval parts divided by a pair of struts, each covered by a system of two pairs of intermittent arches. There is a wide arched opening on the western facade. The stone bench stretches along the inner perimeter. The other similar building of Armenian architecture is in Haghpat Monastery. On the eastern side of the refectory is a wooden kitchen. The complex of Haghartsin Monastery is one of the vivid examples of harmony between the structures of Armenian architecture and the surrounding nature.


Christian Armenia․ Encyclopedia, Yerevan, 2002, pp. 524-525

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