Sanahin Monastery

Nestled in the Lori Province of Armenia, not far from the city of Alaverdi, lies the ancient settlement of Sanahin, home to the remarkable 10th to 13th-century Sanahin Monastery. This architectural gem is considered one of the best landmarks in Lori, showcasing the rich history and craftsmanship of ancient Armenian architecture.

Sanahin Monastery was more than just a religious institution; it was a thriving educational center in Armenia. The complex housed academies, libraries, scriptoriums, and schools, where books were diligently copied, and the monastery itself possessed vast land resources.

The monastery's construction began in the first half of the 10th century, when Armenian clerics expelled from Byzantium built the Church of St. Astvatsatsin. The structure's cross-shaped facade, crowned with a large dome resting on a round drum, was reminiscent of Georgian cult structures of that time. Over the years, additional buildings emerged around the church, including the main monastery church Amenaprkich, the Gregory Magistros academy, the round St. Gregory the Illuminator temple, the scriptorium, and the 13th-century belfry.

Beyond these central buildings, the monastery complex hosts various other structures, such as the tomb of Zakharid and Argutin-Dolgoruky princes, the chapel of St. Sarkis, the church of St. Karapet, and more. Sanahin Monastery is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which it shares with the neighboring Haghpat Monastery. The two monasteries, both part of the Armenian Apostolic Church, are strikingly similar in many ways and can be easily viewed from one another across a small river.

Sanahin Monastery, with its intricate khachkars (engraved cross stones) and bishop gravesites, has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, thanks to its inclusion on numerous Armenian tour agency itineraries. As a testament to Armenia's architectural and educational heritage, Sanahin Monastery offers visitors a unique glimpse into the country's rich history and cultural legacy.

Nearest to Sanahin Monastery

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