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Khorakert Monastery, Jiliza, Armenia

The monastic complex of Khorakert, surrounded by centuries-old trees, is situated in the Lori Province of Armenia in 3 km southwest of village Jiliza on the western flank of Mt. Lalvar. The complex consists of a church, a vestibule, a refectory (now destroyed), chapels and khachkars.

According to inscription above the western entrance, the main church of the monastery was built by prince Stepanos in 1252. It’s a rectangular outside and cross-domed inside building with narrow side chapels which ends with semicircular niches.

The church is built from yellow-reddish cut felsite (petrosilex) stones of different tones. The structure lightly extended in length which makes it closer to the type of Armenian domed basilicas. The church has two entrances — from the west and the south. The interior is rather modest whereas the dome of the church is striking. Its form is new and unique for Armenian and also world church architecture. A special attention is drawn, first of all, to its decahedral drum, the lower part of which is composed with hexahedral columns, three per each facet. The spaces between columns are spanned with trefoil and quatrefoil conchs, and in bright sunlight the dome seems to be “soaring”. The dome is also original from the inside. It’s leaning over a structure of three pairs of intersecting arches in the form of a six-pointed star (the Star of David).

The vestibule was attached to the church in 1257. It was a rectangular hall roofed with a system of intersecting arches, which was destroyed after 1965 earthquake. Its central part was crowned with octahedral pyramid dome. This kind of dome (roofing) also not typical for Armenian church architecture.

The remains of refectory, two chapels and gravestones were found in the north-west part of the monastery. There is a big khachkar dating from XIII century stands near the northern wall.

In 1661 the monastery was reconstructed.

By Natalia Ghukasyan,


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