armenia-around yerevan

khor virap

echmiadzin

echmiadzin

gyumri

gyumri

There are plenty of historical sites, churches and citadels in areas and regions surrounding the city of Yerevan

KHOR VIRAP

IMG_0831The Khor Virap (Armenian: Խոր Վիրապ, meaning deep pit or “deep well”) is an Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located in the Ararat valley in Armenia, near the border with Turkey, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of Artashat, Ararat Province. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos.

IMG_0876Khor Virap is located on a hillock in Pokr Vedi; the village is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the main highway. Yerevan, the capital and largest city of Armenia, is 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the north. It is situated about 100 metres (330 ft) away from the Turkish-Armenian border (sealed by barbed wire fencing) and defended by military establishments that guard the troubled border zone.

IMG_0864The monastery is surrounded by green pasture lands and vineyards within the Ararat plain and is in view of Mount Ararat. The Arax (or Arakas) River flows close-by and the monastery is opposite of Aralykh

IMG_0882Khor Virap’s notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Grigor Lusavorich, who later became Saint Gregory the Illuminator, was initially imprisoned here for 14 years by King Tiridates III of Armenia. Saint Gregory subsequently became the king’s religious mentor, and they led the proselytizing activity in the country. In the year 301, Armenia was the first country in the world to be declared a Christian nation.

IMG_0856A chapel was initially built in 642 AD at the site of Kirat Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. Over the centuries, it was repeatedly rebuilt. In 1662, the larger chapel known as the “St. Astvatsatsin” (Holy Mother of God) was built around the ruins of the old chapel, the monastery, the refectory and the cells of the monks. Now, regular Church services are held in this church. It is probably the most visited pilgrimage site in Armenia.

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ETCHMIADZIN

IMG_7473The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat, Armenia. According to most scholars, it was the first cathedral (but not the first church)] built in ancient Armenia, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world

IMG_0904The original church was built in the early 4th century—between 301 and 303 according to tradition—by Armenia’s patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by King Tiridates III. It replaced a preexisting temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The core of the current building was built in 483/4 by Vahan Mamikonian after the cathedral was severely damaged in a Persian invasion. From its foundation till the second half of the 5th century, Etchmiadzin was the seat of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church.

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As the main spiritual center of most Armenians worldwide, Etchmiadzin has been an important location in Armenia not only religiously, but also politically, economically and culturally.A major pilgrimage site, it is one of the most visited places in the country.Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

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GYUMRI

IMG_0666Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Shirak Province in the northwestern part of the country. It is around 126 km north of the capital Yerevan.

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text taken from wikipedia

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