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Arakelots Monastery, Acharkut, Armenia

Arakelots (Apostles) Monastery is located in the Tavush Province of Armenia, 2 km away from Acharkut village on the left bank of Kirants River. The monastery complex consists of two churches, a vestibule, dwellings and utility rooms, most of which are destroyed today.

The main church was built in XIII century. Built of greenish stones the church is rectangular from the outside and cruciform - inside. The northern wall of the church is a part of the monastery thick enclosing walls. The dome sits on a round drum being supported by four arches joining the pylons. Lime plastered interior walls preserve fragments of the old frescoes.

The vestibule is one of the remarkable ones of the Armenian medieval architecture. The inscription above the entrance mentions 1245, so the vestibule is believed to be built in the XIII century. This right-angled construction has rather interesting vault which is formed by two pairs of crossing arches. The passage to the dormer-window is made by “hazarashen” technique traditionally used in the Armenian rustic home construction with difference that there were used stone slabs instead of wood beams. The stone slabs are laid slantwise at an angle of 45 degrees. A bell tower (now practically destroyed) was attached to the vestibule from the south-west.

The second church of the monastery (built in XIV century) is located in southern part and attached to the monastery west enclosing wall. The plan of the church is quadrilateral. It refers to the type of single-nave basilicas with hipped roof.

Sourb Karapet khachkar (cross-stone) stands near the southern wall of the main church. Made of reddish tufa stone the khachkar is decorated with sophisticated ornaments and high reliefs.

By Natalia Ghukasyan,


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