Tsiranavor Church

Tsiravanor church, literally meaning apricot-colored church is a 5th-century partly ruined Armenian church located at the edge of a gorge in the town of Ashtarak, Aragatsotn Province, Armenia.
According to a legend, three sisters lived in Ashtarak, all of whom fell in love with the same man, prince Sargis. The elder two sisters decided to commit suicide in favor of the youngest one. One wearing an apricot-orange dress and the other wearing a red dress, they threw themselves into the gorge. When the youngest sister found out, she put on a white dress and also threw herself into the gorge. Sargis then became a hermit and three small churches appeared at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters' dress colors.
Tsiranavor Church is a triple-aisled basilica built in the 5th century, and most-likely renovated the years between 540 and 557. There is not a foundation inscription, but evidence indicating a date for the construction of the church include the archaic T-shaped piers, the arches of the nave, and the two pilasters that survive at the north wall that do not correspond to those at the south wall. Traces of an earlier 5th century structure in the construction details have also been found.
The front façade had at one time been painted white, and is covered in inscriptions. One portal leads into the building from the south wall, and another (now blocked off) was at the western wall. All of the walls, the horseshoe apse flanked by two rectangular chambers, two massive piers, and the southern aisle’s columns remain standing. At the west end a small portion of the vaulted ceiling remains, but much of it has since collapsed. During the 17th century the church was fortified by doubling the north and west walls in order to defend the structure, and above the southern wall a gun slot was erected. In 1815, the church was partially ruined. The south façade was supposedly rebuilt at one point. During 1963-64, restorations were done to the church which revealed walls, piers, arches, fragments of vaults, and a khachkar.

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