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Sanahin Monastery Complex, Armenia

The exact date of Sanahin monastery construction is not certain but the legend tell that the monastery was built in IV century, when Surb Nshan (the cross) was established. Surb Astvatsatsin church (Holy Mother of God) is the oldest in the complex; it was built in 928-944 and there are frescos remaining inside the church. The main church of Sanahin complex is Amenaprkich (Christ the Savior), it was built by Queen Khosrovanuish (wife of Ashot the Merciful). The monastery complex also consists of Surb Grigor church (X century), churches of Surb Karapet (X-XI century), Sargis chapel (XII-XIII century), three domes, belfry, library and academy. The academy (seminary of Magistros X-XI century) is a unique example of medieval Armenian architecture. School of Sanahin (also the university) played an important role in educational and cultural life of medieval Armenia. It was also established by Queen Khosrovanuish. There are more than 50 khachkars (cross-stones) in Sanahin. The most distinguished are Grigor Tudevordi (under the northern wall of St. Harutyun church, 1184, by Mkhitar Kazmich) and Sargis (1215) cross stones. These khachkars are considered to be unique examples of Armenian sculpture. The tomb of Zakarian family is also in Sanahin. Together with Haghpat Monastery, they where built in the same period and played an important role in spiritual and cultural life of Armenia. They are also the best examples of the medieval Silver Age, when Bagratuni and Orbeli Kings, and the Kyurikian and Zakarian princely families led to an extraordinary flowering of culture. The two monasteries symbolize the highest blossoming of Armenian religious architecture.Sanahin was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2000.


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