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Harichavank Monastery Tour

Harichavank Monastery Tour Packages
Country: Armenia
City: Gyumri
Duration: 1 Day(s) - 0 Night(s)
Tour Category: Full Day Tours

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The Monastery of Harichavank is situated in the village of Harich in the Shirak Province. The precise date of the foundation of the Monastery is not known exactly. But archeological excavations have shown that the Monastery of Harichavank was built in the 2nd century BC and was once a well-known fortress town.

The Monastery embraces the churches of St. Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Enlightener) and St. Astvatsatsin (The Holy Mother of God), as well as two gavits and several chapels, all of them constructed during different periods. The territory of the Monastery is surrounded by walls.

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Explore More About Harichavank Monastery:

A gorgeous monastery in the Shirak marz that definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves is Harichavank Monastery. This post will detail its history, my experience visiting Harichavank, and some tips about how to get there.

Harichavank is known as one of the most famous monastic centers in Armenia and it was especially renowned for its school and scriptorium. Archaeological excavations of 1966 indicate that Harich was in existence during the 2nd century BC, and was one of the more well-known fortress towns in Armenia.

The oldest part of this Armenian monastery is the Church of St. Gregory the Enlightener it is a domed structure that is usually placed in the category of so-called "Mastara-style" churches (named after the fifth-century church of St. Hovhannes in the village of Mastara, in the southern part of Shirak). The founding date of the monastery is unknown, but probably it was built no later than the 7th century when St. Gregory was erected.

The Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God (Սբ. Աստվածածին) that dominates the monastic complex was built by the orders of Zakare Zakarian, Amirspasalar (commander-in-chief) and Prince who ruled Eastern Armenia in the 13th century together with his brother Ivane Zakarian. Prince Zakare started the Cathedral after he bought Harich from a family representing the Pahlavuni dynasty.

The privileges granted by the princes to the monastery contributed to its becoming a large cultural and enlightenment center of medieval Armenia. At the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century, two monumental gavits (narthexes) were built of big stones, some measuring 3.5 meters. The larger narthex (gavit) is adjacent to the western facade of the cathedral and is linked to the northern apse of the Church of St. Gregory. It is a rectangular building supported by four pillars, with a stalactite carving in the central part of the ceiling.

South of the monastery, on a steep cliff, stands the Hermitage Chapel. In the cemetery, there are ruins of a small single-nave basilica of the fifth century with annexes on the sides of the altar apse and interesting tombstones with ornamented slabs dating from the 5th-6th centuries (now at Armenia’s State History Museum in Yerevan).

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