Pemzashen Church, Pemzashen, Armenia
There is an early medieval unique Christian monument in the centre of Pemzashen village of the Shirak Province of Armenia. It consists of churches built close to each another.
In 1970 during the excavations the lower rows of thick walls of a large single-nave basilica (V Century) were found in the northern part. There is a small one nave basilica built in the VI century in the southern part of the complex. A domed cruciform vaulted church (VI c.) on a stylobate is between the two basilicas. It is built of local reddish shaved tuffa stones. This church differs from other domed cruciform churches with three apses. It is not cruciform but rectangular from the outside. On its middle verge one can see an equal-winged cross inserted into a circle. Three pairs of the wall pylons divide the hall into four almost equal parts.
There are rectangular three-storied vaulted shelters in the south-east and north-east parts of the church. The only entrance is in the west. On its tympanum there is an image of Virgin Mary embracing child Jesus Christ with the angels above. Pemzashen church complex is a unique monument in early medieval Armenian architecture.
By Natalia Ghukasyan, www.building.am