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Welcome To Armenia


Echmiadzin is the center of the Armenian Church. It is where the Catholicos Of All Armenians lives, and the location of the Ejmiatsin Cathedral. 
The cathedral, built in 480, is located in a walled compound with gardens and various structures.
The word "Ejmiatsin" means The coming of the only-begotten, and the cathedral was built on the very spot Grigor Luysavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) dreamt Jesus Himself descended to from heaven to show him where He wanted the church to be built It is a scenic place to visit.

The main church structure is pretty large, however the majority of the interior is dedicated to uses other than worship and the area you enter is much smaller than the size of the entire complex. It is a traditional Armenian design with a belfry and a number of rotundas. Most of the exterior is plain until you make it around to the entrance which is intricately carved and very beautiful. You must not leave until you get into the Manoogian Museum.. This structure contains numerous cool paintings, souvenirs, religious artifacts, and illuminated manuscripts so insist on seeing it. Another secret is a fire pit beneath the altar. This is where pagans worshipped fire before Christianity. It is in the small museum in the main cathedral, with the entrance to the right of the altar.
Ejmiatsin (known as Vagarshapat before 1945) was founded by King Vagarshak (117-140) in the place of Vardkesavan, an ancient settlement of the third-second centuries B.C. In view of the might of the town's fortifications — fortress walls, ramparts and moats — the Romans, upon the second destruction of Artashat in 163, transferred the capital of Armenia to Vagarshapat which, after Christianity was proclaimed the state religion in 301, became the country’s religious centre as well.

Ejmiatsin cathedral was the main Christian temple of Vagarshapat. Gayane. Hripsimeh, Shoghakat and other churches, built at various times in place of small and not too expressive fourth-century chapels, complement it from the point of view of architecture and layout. Situated relatively close to Ejmiatsin cathedral, they are perceived as important components of a single architectural ensemble which changed after each new temple was built. The low residential structures all around set off to the best advantage the grandeur of these edifices and their domination in various parts of the city.
Meriting special attention among the museum exhibits are gorgeous church attires embroidered with gold and pearls, printed curtains, embroidered coverlets, crosses, croziers, all kinds of ritual vessels of silver gold, ivory, adorned with filigree work and jewels. Most of these articles date back to the 17th-19th centuries. There are older works of art, too. A tenth-century crucifix of Avutstar monastery is one of the oldest wooden bas-reliefs in Armenia to have come down to this day.

The most valuable of Ejmiatsin's manuscripts is the world famous "Ejmiatsin Gospel" of 989, now in Matenadaran (Ancient Manuscript Research Institute of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, No. 2374), a copy of the ancient original made by scribe Ovanes in Bkheno-Noravank monastery, the summer residence of Syunik bishops. This is a monument of three stylistically different epochs.

The opening miniatures of the late 10th century stand out for vivid colour, gracefulness and smoothness of ornament and realistic representation of birds and plants. In the galleries there are marble columns with magnificent capitals. The representation of Christ as a young man and the Apostles is quite unusual. They are shown in light-toned dresses. The monumentality and laconicisrn of style make these miniatures akin to the murals and bas-reliefs of the Church of the Cross (915-921) on Haghtamar Island.
The ivory binding is a superb work of art by Byzantine carvers of the 6th-7th centuries, It is composed of relief plates showing scenes from the Gospel. At the top there are flying angels carrying a cross enframed in a wreath — a theme well known from Byzantine works of Constantinople, Ravenne and Alexandria and from earlier stone reliefs of Armenia such as those of Ptgni temp]e of the 6th century and from later khachkars, such as Amenaprkich in Haghpat (1273). The centre of the front part is taken up by a representation of the Holy Virgin with the infant; all around it there are various scenes from the Gospel.

Some of the exhibits of Ejmiatsin monastery are put on display on the territory of the monastery’s yard. Meriting attention are the khachkars — one of the Amenaprkich type of 1279, and the other from the old Dzhuga cemetery (17th century) covered with intricate floral and geometrical ornaments, pictures of birds and animals and various scenes featuring figures of men and saints.
On the monastery yard there are the buildings of the Catholicosat, a school, a winter and summer refectories, a hostel, Trdat’s gate and other structures. They were built in the 17th-19th centuries in place of earlier buildings.

The 19th century dwelling houses of Ejmiatsin are of artistic value. They are distinguished by unusual layout and appearance. The open-work carving of wooden street balconies and yard galleries is a superb piece of folk craftsmanship. The carving motifs are stylistically connected with the ornamentation of the religious buildings of Echmiadzin of the 17th-18th centuries.


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