There is a fabulous monastery about 122 kilometres from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

The Monastery of Noravank is situated in the gorge of the River Amaghu in the midst of a magical landscape, surrounded by brick red walls that fall steeply into the valley below.
The closest town is Yeghegnadzor whilst the actual village of Amaghu is situated just above the canyon.
The complex at Noravank consists of 3 different churches.

The main church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (otherwise known as the Precursor) which, in Armenian, translates as Surp Karapet.

One of the other churches is dedicated to St. Gregory which, in Armenian, translates as Surp Grigor and the third church which is consecrated to the Holy Mother of God, which is translated into Armenian as Surb. Astvatsatsin
The churches were built in the 12th century on the ruins of a previous construction that had been built between the 9th and 10th centuries.
It was the princes of the Orbelian family who financed the building of the monastery and several of the princes of the Orbelian dynasty are buried in parts of the flooring of the church that is dedicated to the Holy Mother of God.
The actual church itself is situated on an upper floor which is accessed by climbing steep stairways that are cantilevered against the exterior walls of the building on both sides.
The construction of the church, the bas-reliefs and the sculptures were the work of the most famous Armenian architect and sculptor of the time, Momik, (born around 1250 and deceased in 1339).

These are really fantastic works of art both from an architectural point of view as well as from an evocative perspective and were, sadly, his last creations by this talented artist as he died before he could carry out any more works.

His mortal remains are preserved inside the mausoleum.
Between the 12th and the 14th centuries, the monastery reached its most splendid period becoming the episcopal sea of the Syunik region with its reputation growing stronger throughout the Christian ambit and thus attracting religious and artists from many other countries in the world.
It was also famous for its “scriptorium” which was dedicated to the use of those monks who were involved in the drafting, copying, binding, decoration and restoration of religious texts.

The importance of this work was such that, still today, you can see an area that was dedicated to the Armenian alphabet which is engraved in the flooring and in the stonework.
Inside the churches there are columns, arches, sculptures and bas-reliefs as well as the tombs of various members of the Orbelian family.
The Monastery of Noravank suffered various collapses caused by the frequent earthquakes that occurred in the region, in particular those of 1321, 1840 and 1931.

After each of these destructive natural events, the churches were restored, either entirely or partially.

The most recent works were started in 1980 and completed in 2001 although the site was actually opened to the public in 1999.
The churches are surrounded by a protective wall which was started between the 16th and the 17th centuries and which is still in existence today.
The beauty of the churches, the stunning scenery, the colour of the rocks and the whole setting and atmosphere of this place make it somewhere that should absolutely not be missed when travelling to Armenia. It is fantastic!

My travel experience in Novarank

Noravank Monastery

[ Autumn, 2005 ] Most of the destinations in Armenian tour were churches and monasteries. But each one stands in a special place and I never got tired of it. This Noravank monastery is located…

Food in Noravank

Cave restaurant

[ Autumn, 2005 ] After visiting Noravank monastery in Armenia, we went to a restaurant in a cave in this gorge. It was too simple to call a restaurant really. It was decorated with the…