Artavazik Church

The 7th-century Artavazik Church is in the village of Byurakan. Byurakan, which is on the slopes of Mt. Aragats, is known for its observatory. The isolated church is located on the eastern outskirts of the village on the edge of a rocky ravine formed by a stream, although I've seen it called the Jrvstik River. It was first reconstructed in the 13th century but in 1840 a major flood ruined the church. From 1959-1960 it was reconstructed again. Finally, in 2017 preservation works were done. The actual name of the church is unknown as it is not mentioned in historical documents and there are no inscriptions left on the walls. One theory is that it was named in honor of its builder, Artavazd. The church has an interesting cruciform plan. The western arm, where the entrance is, is longer and rectangular. The northern and (presumably) southern arms are very short and rectangular. The eastern arm where the apse and altar are is semicircular and significantly narrower than the other arms. Above the central bay of the church, there used to be an octagonal drum and dome. Above the western entrance, there used to be a narrow belfry which was added in the 13th century (some other sources say the 8th century). Unfortunately, it collapsed in 2005. In a field to the south, you can find the remnants of the belfry with other traces of decorations scattered around. In the northeast corner, there is a small depository or chapel. The semi-circular tympanum above its entrance has a painting depicting Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. Inside you will find many objects and photos. Across the ravine, to the east, there is a huge 13th-century khachkar monument.

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