Monastery Haghpat, also known as Haghpatavank, is a medieval Armenian monastery complex in Haghpat, Lori, Armenia. The monastery was founded by Saint Nishan in the 10th century during the reign of King Abas I. The nearby monastery at Sanahin was built around the same time. The monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin were chosen as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The location of Monastery Haghpat was chosen so that it overlooks the Debed River in Lori region. It was built, not on a peak, but halfway up a hillside on a site chosen to afford protection and concealment from prying eyes and in response to a kind of monastic humility. It is built on a verdant promontory in the middle of a mountain cirque which is often wreathed in clouds. A peak on the opposite side of the river is over 2,500 meters high. The monasteries of northern Armenia are not isolated, unlike their counterparts in the country's arid regions. They were built in a village environment and Haghpat is surrounded by many hamlets. The small church of St. Nishan is Haghpat's earliest survived building. It was begun in 966-67 and was later enlarged and embellished under the direction of Trdat the Architect. The largest church in the complex, the Cathedral of St. Nishan, was built from 967-991. 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. There are several other structures at the site as well. There is a small domed Church of St. Gregory from 1005. Two side chapels were added to the original church; the larger one built at the beginning of the 13th century and the smaller, known as "Hamazasp House" built in 1257. In 1245, a three-story tall free-standing bell tower was constructed. Other, 13th century additions include the chapel of St Mary, the scriptorium and a large refectory which is outside of the monastery limits. There are also a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the 11 -13th centuries standing on the territory of the monastery and the best known among them is the "All-Savior" khachkar standing since 1273. The monastery has been damaged many times. Sometime around 1130, an earthquake destroyed parts of Haghpat Monastery and it was not restored until fifty years later. It also suffered from many attacks by armed forces in the many centuries of its existence and from a major earthquake in 1988. Nevertheless, much of the complex is still intact and stands today without substantial alterations.


  • Lori, Armenia
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