geghard monastery

The monastery of Geghard (Armenian: Գեղարդ, meaning spear) is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning “the Monastery of the Cave”. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank (Գեղարդավանք), meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.

Detail of the Gate of the monastery of Geghard, in Armenia (Built in the 4th century) It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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According to Armenian historians of the 4th, 8th and 10th centuries the monastery comprised, apart from religious buildings, well-appointed residential and service installations. Geghard Monastery suffered greatly in 923 from Nasr, a vice-regent of an Arabian caliph in Armenia, who plundered its valuable property, including unique manuscripts, and burned down the magnificent structures of the monastery.

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HPA 2013 Architecture  Documentary Award-Churches in Armenia

By Hristo Dimitrov(保加利亚 / Bulgaria)

Time: June 2-15, 2012

Place: Geghard Monastery and Noravank Monastery, Armenia

Nationality: Armenian

The monastery of Geghard is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk Province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. Noravank is a 13th century Armenian monastery, located 122km from Yerevan in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu River, near the city of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia.