St. Hovhannes Church

The 18th century St. Hovhannes Mkrtich (Saint John the Baptist) Church is located in the historic Kond district of Yerevan. It is only a short walk from anywhere in the center of town. The church was built in 1710 with the support of Melik Aghamal, replacing a medieval church that was ruined by an earthquake. It is a triple naved domed basilica. The plan of the church includes the main prayer hall and the main altar on the eastern side with two sacristies on either side. It may seem like the church looks relatively new, but there is a reason. Unfortunately by the 70s, the church was in bad condition, so a plan was made by famous Armenian architect Rafael Israelyan to restore it. In 1973 he presented a project of basic reconstruction to Catholicos Vazgen I, but that same year he died. 10 years later his son, architect Areg Israyelian followed through with the project with the help of architect Baghdasar Arzoumanian and engineers Avetik Tekevejian and Mikayel Hovhannissian. The dome and the walls of the church were re-faced with tuff stone and the interior was renovated. On the western side in the back of the main hall, a floor was made for a choir. A bell tower was also added. Walk around the church and you will see little decorations all around on the walls and around the entrances. In the yard there are many beautiful khachkars, mostly modern ones which are replicas of Julfa khachkars, they are true masterpieces! The cemetery of Julfa used to be the largest Armenian cemetery and collection of medieval khachkars until the government of Azerbaijan began and completed a systematic campaign to destroy the monuments in the late 90s-early 2000s.


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