Monastery of Noravank: A Gem of Armenian Architecture
The Monastery of Noravank, or Նորավանք in Armenian, is a remarkable 13th-century religious complex nestled in a picturesque gorge formed by the Amaghu River. Located approximately 122 kilometers from the capital city of Yerevan, it is situated near the enchanting city of Yeghegnadzor.
Sourp Astvatsatsin Church: A Testament to Architectural Beauty
One of the prominent structures within the Monastery of Noravank is the Sourp Astvatsatsin Church, dating back to the 14th century. This church stands tall, gracing the landscape with its two-story construction. What truly distinguishes Sourp Astvatsatsin Church is its unique and architecturally intriguing feature—the cantilevered exterior stairs. These captivating stairs, intricately designed and adorned, have become an iconic symbol of the monastery.
Financing and Architecture: A Tribute to Prince Burtel Orbelian
The Sourp Astvatsatsin Church owes its existence to the financial support of Prince Burtel Orbelian, a noble figure of the time. In fact, the church is sometimes referred to as “Burteleshen,” meaning “built by Burtel.” The architectural genius behind the construction is attributed to the renowned architect Momik, who left an indelible mark on Armenian ecclesiastical architecture.
A Tapestry of History: Tracing the Origins of Noravank
The roots of the Monastery of Noravank date back to the year 1105 when it was founded by Bishop Hovhaness. Over the centuries, the complex has served as a spiritual and cultural center, embodying the rich heritage of Armenian Christianity. The compound comprises two notable churches—the Church of St. Karapet and the Church of Sourp Astvatsatsin—which together create a harmonious ensemble of architectural splendor.
Kachkars: Marvels of Stone Carving
As you explore the Monastery of Noravank, you will encounter a fascinating array of Kachkars—intricately carved cross-stones that hold significant cultural and artistic value. These exquisite works of stone carving showcase the mastery and craftsmanship of Armenian artisans, displaying a fusion of religious motifs, delicate patterns, and intricate details that narrate tales of faith and history.
The Wall Surrounding the Complex: A Testament to Time
To protect and preserve the sacred site, walls were constructed around the Monastery of Noravank in the 17th century. These sturdy and imposing fortifications, added centuries after the original construction, stand as a testament to the continuous efforts to safeguard the spiritual and cultural legacy of Noravank.
The Monastery of Noravank stands as a testament to the rich architectural heritage of Armenia, captivating visitors with its splendid churches, remarkable stone carvings, and breathtaking natural surroundings. It serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring spiritual and cultural legacy that has shaped the Armenian identity throughout the centuries. Explore this historic gem, immerse yourself in its tranquil ambiance, and witness the harmonious fusion of art and faith that defines the Monastery of Noravank.
Flora around Monastery of Noravank:
While visiting this monastery in June, I noticed a variety of wildlife flowers. Some of the flowers include red Papaver rhoeas, the yellow Verbascum pulverulentum, and purple thistle flowers of Cirsium vulgare or the pink Securigera vera.
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