Havuts Tar, Garni, Armenia
Havuts Tar monastery is located in the Kotayk Province of Armenia, not far from Garni village, on the top of the mountain located on the left bank of the river Azat. In the early Middle Ages the monastery was one of the religious and cultural centers of Armenia. According to historian Mkhitar Airivanetsi Sourb Amenaprkich church (St. Saviour) was built there by an Armenian prince Gevorg Marzpetouni. Later in 1013 it was rebuilt by Grigor Magistros. The Chapel of St. Karapet was erected in 1213. The buildings of the monastery are made of red and black tufa stones.
Havuts Tar monastery was destroyed by 1679 Garni earthquake. In 1724 Catholicos Astvatsatour initiated construction of Sourb Karapet church on the ruins of the chapel, but it remained unfinished. The stones of the narthex and the church built by Grigor Magistros were used during the construction. In the 18th century a wall was erected around the main buildings of the monastic complex. Havuts Tar monastery preserved to our days partially demolished: the dome of the church, a part of the back wall and the chapel are destroyed.
The way to the monastery and its territory are studded with khachkars (cross-stones) unique in their elegance. One of them is kept in the Museum of the Armenian History as one of the 10 best khachkars in the country.
Havuts Tar is known among the local population as Amenaprkich (the Saviour). This name is associated with a nice legend. During one of the regular Turkish invasions Father Superior of the monastery managed to persuade the enemy to show mercy to those who would find an asylum in the monastery. The people one by one entered the monastic gate and got out through a secret passage. So the monastery saved those who were condemned to death, that`s why it was called Amenaprkich (the Saviour).
By Natalia Ghukasyan, www.building.am