Exploring Tourism in Armenia
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Exploring Major Christian Sites Tour

Exploring Major Christian Sites Tour Packages
Country: Armenia
City: Aragatsotn Region
Duration: 3 Day(s) - 2 Night(s)
Tour Category: Religious Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

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Package Itinerary

Exploring Major Christian Sites

Day 1: Arrival

Day 2: Etchmiatsin / Zvartnots

Echmiadzin Cathedral - is one of the oldest standing churches in Christendom. It was built in 303 AD over a pagan fire altar. The name Echmiadzin means “descent of the Only Begotten”. It was believed to have been designated in a vision where Christ came to earth and struck the plains with a golden hammer. This landmark is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Zvartnots. This marvelous temple is a result of the skillfulness and brave creativity of Armenian architects of the 7th century. Being built only on several columns it survived for three centuries. Even at present, the awe-inspiring ruins bear witness to the fact that Zvartnots was worth being considered one of the jewels of the world medieval architecture.

Day 3: Departure

Transfer to the airport. Departure home!

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Get to Know More About Zvartnots Cathedral:

The ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral are located on a flat plain within the Ararat Plateau between the cities of Yerevan and Etchmiadzin in Armenia's Armavir province near Zvartnots International Airport. Built-in the middle of the 7th century CE, under the instructions of the Catholicos Nerses III (r. 641-661 CE), Zvartnots is the oldest and largest aisled tetraconch church in historical Armenia.

Its design strongly influenced later constructions of other Armenian churches with central-domed cross-halls, leaving an enduring architectural and artistic mark in what is present-day Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and eastern Turkey.

Zvartnots was constructed largely from basalt quarried nearby, along with tufa, pumice, and obsidian. The cathedral contained four W-shaped piers to support its large dome, which in turn divided the cathedral's interior and exterior spaces. Zvartnots' dome reached a height of about 45 m (148 ft), and the entire structure of the cathedral sits on a stone platform that is 5 m (16 ft) tall. The cathedral's core was dominated by a circular ambulatory and a large chamber with an unknown function. There once existed an ambo to the southeast of the cathedral apse as well. The cathedral was sumptuously ornamented with mosaics and well furnished.

Zvartnots Cathedral provided the architectural blueprint for many fine churches throughout the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia, including a ruined church in Bana, Turkey; a ruined Armenian church in Lekit, Azerbaijan; and the Church of St. Gregory in Ani, Turkey. The modern Holy Trinity Church in Yerevan, Armenia is also modeled on Zvartnots Cathedral. Historians believe that Zvartnots Cathedral collapsed following an earthquake in the 10th century CE. It was largely forgotten until it was excavated in 1900-1901 CE.

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