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Bovurkhanavank, Askeran, NKR (Armenia)

Bovurkhanavank (or Bovurkhan) Monastery is situated in Askeran region of Nagorno Karabakh, on the northern flank of Mount Bovurkhan, 1700 meters above sea-level. It was founded by melik Bagr Shakhnazarian (he also had the title of a khan), the prince of Varanda in the first half of XVII century. The mountain and the monastery on it were named after the prince – Bagrkhan. However the name of the monastery was distorted later and turned into Burukhan, and then Bovurkhan.

Bovurkhan Monastery was a summer residence of Varanda Province princes and also served as a fortress.

The monastic complex consists of a church, several dwelling and utility rooms, and was enclosed by thick walls. A major part of monastic buildings are partially or completely destroyed. The church in the eastern site of the territory is comparatively well preserved. It`s single-nave basilica with vault leaning on one wall arch. A vestibule is joining the church from the north.

The room of Father Superior deserves special attention. Built with untrimmed stones the room is one nave hall with vaulted cover.

The western part of the fortress wall crowned with round tower is of great interest. The oval room built in the tower has preserved its original look. The internal and external walls are rich of niches. A picturesque view is open from the windows widening towards inside. There is also the only fireplace preserved in the monastery. Wide stairs, leading upstairs, witness that the room had a second floor. In the basement floor there were stalls, storehouses and a smithy, but now they are covered with earth. The monastery-fortress had a subterranean passage and water supply system, but their traces are lost.

There are chapels Anahit and Leri-khach (cross of the mountain) at the foot of the Mount Bovurkhan, and also 4 observation posts which were a part of defensive system and a monastery spring.

By Natalia Ghukasyan,


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