Deghdznut Monastery, Acharkut, Armenia
Deghdznut Monastery is located in Tavush District of Armenia, 9 km south-east from Acharkut village, in the gorge of Khndzorkut ("apple seed") River. It was founded by Archimandrite (Superior) Arakel who came from the Cilician city of Tarson. The fragments of his gravestone (1292) are kept in the vestibule of the monastery.
Deghdznut is an impressive example of medieval Armenian architecture. The monastic complex surrounded by a cemetery and ruins of medieval village consists of two churches and a vestibule (narthex).
The main church of the monastery built of dark pink tuffa stone is a rectangular in plan domed hall. Its eastern pillars are framing the altar. There are two-story side-chapels in both sides of the altar. The roof of the church is supported by four semi-columns which also serve as a bearing for round drum and the dome (now destroyed). The exterior and interior of the church are richly decorated. The interior walls are decorated with arches.
The narthex, built of the same stone, is attached to the church from the west. It`s a rectangular building without columns. The roof is formed with two pairs of intersecting arches with central opening, βerdikβ, typical to both secular and religious buildings of that time. Richly decorated eastern portal, which is open from the church, has a great artistic value. The cross carved on a lintel above the entrance is decorated with delicate vegetable and geometric ornaments. The western portal is generously decorated too. The roof and the floor are paved with tiles. According to the inscriptions preserved on the wall of the narthex, its construction lasted 16 years (1258-1274).
The second church of the monastery is situated 20 meters north-east from the main one. It`s a plain unpretentious building. It was reconstructed several times.
There are fragments of khachkars in the monastery with dates and inscriptions. The fragments of khackhar (1274) created by medieval masters Petros and Kaghak are among them.
By Natalia Ghukasyan, www.building.am