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Karmravor Church, Ashtarak, Armenia

Karmravor (meaning reddish hue) church or Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) was built in VII century by priests Gregory and Manas in Ashtarak. It is a small cruciform central-plan domed church with exterior dimensions 5.9x7.4 meters. Karmravor is the only church with well preserved red roofing tiles. Tiles had been firmly pressed into lime mortar and was nailed. There is an inscription on the outside walls which refers to the villagers, who donated funds to create the chapel, and also to the difficulties of laying an irrigation canal.

According to an old legend, three sisters living in Ashtarak fell in love with young man Sargis. In favor of the youngest one the two elder sisters decided to commit suicide. One wearing an apricot dress and the other red dress, threw themselves into a gorge. Finding the sisters dead, the youngest sister put on a white dress and also threw herself into a gorge. After sisters' death broken hearted Sargis became a hermit... The three small churches - Karmravor (reddish), Tsiranavor (apricot hue) and Spitakavor (whitish) at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters' dress colors.


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