Haghpat Monastery

Haghpat is a medieval monastery complex in Haghpat, Armenia, built between the 10th and 13th century.
The monastery was founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh, wife of the Bagratid king Ashot III, probably in 976. Haghpat was an eminent spiritual and cultural center of Armenia. The monastery was famous for its rich library and a school where pupils were taught philosophy, rhetoric, music and manuscript illumination.
The Monastery of Haghpat is one of the largest and the most impressive monasteries in Armenia. The main characteristics of the Medieval Armenian architecture are reflected in the buildings of this magnificent monastery.
The largest church in the complex, the Cathedral of Surb Nishan, probably begun in 976, was completed in 991 by king Smbat. It is a typical example of tenth-century Armenian architecture, its central dome rests on the four imposing pillars of the lateral walls. The outside walls are dotted with triangular recesses. A fresco in the apse depicts Christ Pantocrator. Its donor, the Armenian Prince Khutulukhaga, is depicted in the south transept (a transversal nave intersecting the main nave). The sons of the church's founder, Princes Smbat and Kurike, are shown with Queen Khosravanuysh in a bas-relief on the east gable. Apart from one or two minor restorations carried out in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the church has retained its original character.
There are several other structures at the site as well. There is the small domed Church of Sourb Grigor (St. Gregory) from 1005. Two side chapels were added to the original church; the larger one built in the beginning of the 13th century and the smaller, known as "Hamazasp House", built in 1257. In 1245, a three-story tall free-standing belltower was constructed. Other 13th-century additions include the chapel of Sourb Astvatsatsin, the scriptorium, and a large refectory which is outside the monastery limits.
There are also a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the 11th-13th centuries standing on the territory of the monastery, the best known among them is the "Amenaprkich" (All-Savior) khachkar which has been standing since 1273.
In 1996 the Haghpat Monastery was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

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