Armenia – the treasury at Echmiadsin

I headed to the Treasury to see some of the less palatable objects associated with religion, namely reliquaries containing the body parts of the apostles, Thaddeus, Peter, and Andrew. These parts are called relics and are venerated by people who visit Echmiadsin, but I have always found it hard to believe these relics can beContinue reading “Armenia – the treasury at Echmiadsin”

The Homilies of Mush

There’s one original manuscript at the Matenadaran whose story, if it had taken place in another country, would have been made into a blockbuster film. The Homilies of Mush is the largest, surviving Armenian manuscript and was created between 1200 – 1202. This manuscript is associated with the Holy Apostles Monastery of Mush (now inContinue reading “The Homilies of Mush”

The Cascade in Yerevan

After the Matenadaran, the next place to visit is the Cascade where you will see more modern works of art than those at the Matenadaran. Yerevan has the widest selection of public statuary I have ever seen in one city and the Tamanian Sculpture Park at the base of the cascade has a good representativeContinue reading “The Cascade in Yerevan”

Yerevan – Matenadaran

The northern part of Yerevan has some outstanding sights, which should on no account be missed. The first place is called the Matenadaran displaying Armenian manuscripts of varying degrees of antiquity. This museum is almost the only place in Armenia where this quality of manuscript can be seen. Originally built in 1957, when only oneContinue reading “Yerevan – Matenadaran”

Zvartnots Cathedral

The main church at this site was built around 650. It had three storeys and seems to have had 32 equal sides, quite a feat of engineering in itself. The whole of the cathedral precinct was destroyed in 930 by an earthquake and gradually became hidden under centuries of soil until it was re-discovered aroundContinue reading “Zvartnots Cathedral”

Armenia – Noravank Monastery

Noravank monastery lies in the Gnishik Gorge around 6 kilometres from the main road. The gorge is known for its sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The monastery’s best known feature is the two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, built by Prince Burtel Orbelian in 1339. He was the descendant ofContinue reading “Armenia – Noravank Monastery”

Armenia – Amberd Fortress

From the Park of Letters the road to Amberd is not in great condition and it’s just as well there’s not much traffic around as drivers have to avoid large potholes and large cracks in the tarmac every few hundred yards. Amberd Fortress is one of those old places where visitors can climb all overContinue reading “Armenia – Amberd Fortress”

Armenia – Saghmosavank Monastery

On the way back to Yerevan I stopped at Saghmosavank (“Monastery of Psalms”) another Armenian sight close to a spectacular gorge, this time the Kasakh Gorge. The monastery has a large gavit to the west of the Zion church. A gavit serves as a narthex, mausoleum and assembly room for the church, but at SaghmosavankContinue reading “Armenia – Saghmosavank Monastery”

Geghard Monastery – Armenia

Geghard Monastery is beautifully located in a gorge and is surrounded by high hills on three sides. There are fairy chimneys on one of the cliffs and the walking opportunities appear to be excellent. Legend has it the monastery dates from the 4th Century AD and was burned by Arab armies in 923AD. The mainContinue reading “Geghard Monastery – Armenia”

Garni Temple in Armenia

Garni Temple has nine steep steps at the front and 24 columns supporting the roof with Ionic capitals. Inside is a reconstructed altar and a sacrificial pit. When I was there, a man was playing a duduk, an ancient double-reed woodwind flute made of apricot wood and indigenous to Armenia. The duduk has a hauntingContinue reading “Garni Temple in Armenia”