Zvartnots Cathedral

The Zvartnots Cathedral, a celestial masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture, stands in an evocative ruin near Vagharshapat, Armenia. Built during the 7th century under the guidance of Catholicos Nerses III the Builder, the cathedral was dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator. Its unique circular exterior and multi-floor interior structure supported by piers crowned with a dome set it apart in Armenian architecture.

During the turbulent times of Muslim Arab raids on Byzantine and Sasanian territories, the construction of Zvartnots Cathedral began in 643. Despite the chaotic era, the cathedral was completed and consecrated in 652. It remained standing for 320 years before collapsing in the 10th century. The cause of its collapse is still debated, with scholars suggesting either an earthquake or repeated Arab raids as the culprit.

The ruins of the once-grand cathedral laid buried until the 20th century when they were excavated and partially reconstructed. The polygonal form of the cathedral, with its numerous columns supporting carved arches, offers visitors a glimpse of its former glory. Interesting sculptural remnants, such as the eagle capital, surround the main structure, showcasing the influence of Syrian and northern Mesopotamian architecture.

A museum located within the site showcases artifacts discovered during the excavations and provides informative panels on medieval Armenian architecture. Also found within the grounds are the ruins of the Catholicos palace and a medieval winery, complete with a wine press and stone tanks.

Today, the Zvartnots Cathedral stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting visitors from around the world. It is situated near the village of Ptghunk, 17km from Yerevan and 4km from Vagharshapat. Exploring the ruins of this celestial masterpiece offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich architectural history of Armenia.

Nearest to Zvartnots Cathedral

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