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Mysteries of Armenia

The Fresco of Uneasy Times

The experts in Armenian culture have at all times devoted their attention to the Greek and Georgian letters preserved in certain monastery complexes. Their script also exists on the territory of Akhtala Fort, situated 170 km north from Yerevan. One can still find the gates of the Fort there, the Church of the Blessed Virgin, the chapel, as well as the ruins of separate buildings (also subterranean ones). The architectonic principles used by the builders, just like the traditions of mural painting, cast no doubt upon the fact that these ensembles were created by Armenians. Throughout the 1st–2nd millenniums, the Armenian people were going through one of the most controversial periods in their history. The representatives of Armenian dynasties had for long come to power in neighboring Georgia and Byzantium. However, there was barely any independent government on their native land which had once been a unified national state. The beginning of the Armenian stage of development of Byzantine art was predetermined by the accession of Basil I to the throne in Constantinople. Many Armenian artists and architects worked at his court. They built the famous New Church and reconstructed the dome of St Sophia’s church. At the same time though, their compatriots who had adopted Chalcedonism intensified their activity towards forcing out the Armenian Church from the nation’s life and involving the latter in Orthodoxy. This very circumstance urged the Chalcedon Armenians to initiate the construction of monasteries in various parts of their historic fatherland.

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