Arnjo Vank

The unique Arnjo Monastery with its St. Astvatsatsin church was rebuilt on its 15th-century foundations in the 21st century, but it is thought there was an older monastery here before from the 12th-13th century. The walls around the site are dated from that time so it is probable that this was a fortress-like monastery. Entering from a break-in from the northwest you will see the western front of the church. There are 3 entrances here. The central doorway is decorated with an Islamic-style arch above, and 2 openings on either side lead to simple and undecorated prayer rooms. There are 2 large khachkars on either side of the central doorway dated to the 16th century. Walking around to the eastern side of the church is where you see what is really unique about the site. The eastern wall of the church is rounded to the shape of the apse. Most of the churches we see have a square outer wall hiding the rounded area of the apse and altar Also of interest here is the statue of John the Evangelist as an eagle. According to an inscription above it, the creator was Bishop Stepanos who also was a painter of manuscripts at the monastery in the 15th century. The interior of the church is plain with several paintings and a large statue of Mary with baby Jesus. In the mid-17th century, there were some more reconstructions carried out by the famous Arinj architect Navasard. Unfortunately, like many other sites in this area, the monastery was ruined by the 1679 Yerevan earthquake leaving only the foundation, outer fortress walls, and various remnants of khachkars remaining. This monastery is on the private property of Gagik Tsarukyan. In order to visit you must drive to his gate, tell the guards you want to visit the church, and they will escort you there.


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