Tegher Monastery
ArchitectsVardapet Aghbayrik

Tegher Monastery is located across a gorge from the village of Byurakan. The monastery was built for Princess Khatun (AKA Mama Khatun), the wife of Prince Vache Vachutian. The architect Vardapet Aghbayrik designed Tegher and the more well-known monasteries of Saghmosavank and Hovhannavank as well during the 13th century. The monastery complex consists of the 1213 St. Astvatsatsin church, a 1221 gavit with two towers, and the remnants 9th-century village around it. The church was built at the time of Mongol invasions and survived intact. The story goes that when they were building the church, Mama Khatun had the architects install pointed arches at the entrance so that invading Mongols would recognize them and consider the church one of their own. The gavit, or narthex, the entrance hall of the church, is particularly impressive not so much because of the decoration but because of its massive size. It has a central plan with four short thick columns and intersecting arches supporting the center square and dome. But the gavit is unique in one aspect, and one that is hard to notice! It has two chapels with domed bell towers, unlike any other gavit in Armenia. The towers are tall, with a second floor, where students lived. Also here are the graves of Mama Khatun, the church's donor, and her husband Prince Vatcheh. The western wall above the entrance, has khachkars carved into the façade, memorials of wealthy donors who supported the monastery. Scattered around the Monastery are the ruins of the 9th-century village of Old Tegher including the remains of a Tukh Manuk funerary chapel of the 5th century. From here you have a great view of Mt Ararat and the valley below!

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