Ptghnavank

The Ptghni Church or Ptghnavank is located in Ptghni village in the Kotayk province. It is only 20 minutes from the center of Yerevan! It was built in the 6th-7th century and is one of the oldest and most important surviving examples of a domed hall church seen in Armenia and served as a prototype for a large number of Armenian churches constructed after the 9th century. Unfortunately, it is in very poor condition. Most of the north wall, part of the south wall and connecting arch, and some of the vaulting still exist but the cupola and the ceiling vaults have collapsed. The east apse, polygonal from the exterior, is flanked by two square chambers, each with a niche on the east side. Four powerful pilasters, linked by lofty arches, define the central square. This square was covered by a cupola supported by the east and west vaults and the north and south arches. Pt'ghni is also notable for its decorative relief sculptures. The use of both figurative and ornamental relief sculpture in stone on church facades distinguishes Armenian from Byzantine and all other eastern Christian art. Above the central window of the southern façade, you will find reliefs of the apostles in round medallions. In the center at the top, angels carried a medallion with Christ's image. At the bottom on the left there is an inscription and a hunter on horseback shooting an arrow at his prey and on the right, a rooster and a hunter on foot piercing a lion with a spear. The inscription reveals that the figure on the left is Manuel Amatouni and the one on the right, is his father, Pargev; both died in the 4th century, fighting the Sassanids. On the northern side, there is a row of carved wine jugs on the cornice. In 1939-1940 the church was partly restored and the stones in the area are all numbered.

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