Noravank Monastery is located on the ledge of the gorge of river Gnishik, south-east of Yerevan. Armenia’s largest cultural and religious center in 12th-14th centuries, it is still considered to be one of the most famous and interesting medieval monuments. One of the two churches with the same name Surb Karapet is unfortunately preserved only in ruins; the other one was built almost three centuries later, north of its antecedent and is currently the main church of the monastery.
Gndevank Monastery, built in the 10th century, which is by right called “a symphony in stone” in Armenia, is located in the canyon of river Arpa. An “old Jermuk road” leads to the monastery through the bottom of the canyon. Using that road is dangerous without an experienced guide. The main temple of the monastery represents a cross-domed construction dated 936 A.D., and the monastery itself is surrounded by a fortress wall.
Gandzasar Monastery, the most comfortable among Artsakh monasteries and the only functioning one, is located on the left bank of river Khachen. The main church, built in 1216-1238, is dedicated to Hovhannes Mkrtich. The monastery, which was founded in the 10th century, served as a cultural and spiritual center for many centuries, and is presently considered as the “realization of the best achievements of 13th century’s Armenian architects”.
Not far away from Ayrivank village, on the coast of Lake Sevan, a little four-apse church with the same name can be found. It is also noteworthy for travelers. Very close to the church one can see ruins of a monastery compound.
Echmiadzin is the central Cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church, worshiped by Armenians all over the world. It was built in 303 in the place of an old pagan temple. The former name of the city is Vagharshapat. Echmiadzin was and is the center of religious power of the country. Along the whole history of its existence, it has been destroyed many times, but always reconstructed and renovated.