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Mysteries of Armenia


The complex of monasteries in Noravank is erected on the edge of a deep gorge. Its modern form was shaped during the 9th–14th centuries. St Karapet’s church, which is one of the oldest extant buildings, used to function in the times when the territory was still called Khoradzor and was renowned for being the center of enlightenment. The famous Edjmiatsin Gospel of 989 was written under its marvelous vaults. At the beginning of the 14th century, Noravank became the religious center of Syunik Principality. This marked yet another rise in the Armenian monumental architecture. Under the direction of Momik the old religious constructions were pulled down and new ones were laid. The two-storeyed Church of the Blessed Virgin (Burtulashen) was the marvel of architecture of this period. It had a gorgeous rotunda and an under-dome pillar-shaped drum. The emergence of such constructions must not be viewed locally. It should rather be examined at certain stages of development of the Armenian construction, which the European architecture could by now hardly keep up with. Many following historians were astounded by the architectonic solutions of those times. “A Greek genius embodied in St Sophia’s Cathedral and an Italian one in St Peter’s Cathedral… They have amply recreated something that was initiated by Armenians”, wrote the famous Austrian arts critic Joseph Strjigovsky.

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