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Surb Stepanos Church, Togh, NKR (Armenia)

Surb Stepanos (St.Stepanos) church is located in Hadrut region of Nagorno-Karabakh, to the south-west of deceased people Togh village, not far from a large cemetery. According to the inscription found on the tympanum above the entrance the church was reconstructed by melik Egan and his son melik Esayi in 1747. Surb Stepanos church was erected much earlier on the place of medieval cathedral church which in its turn was built (as historians believe) on the site of a pagan temple.

The base of walls of the medieval domical church is seen under the masonry in the apse wall. The signs of an ancient structure also found near the southern wall of the church.

The church of Surb Stepanos is a rectangular hall with arched ceiling. The side-chapels are in the eastern part of the church. The walls are built from sledged and rough-hewn stones which remained from earlier version of church. An unusual pylon divides the hall into two unequal parts (the northern part is smaller). The small part is full of gravestones. 51 khachkars embedded into the walls of the church represent a unique collection consisting of both archaic crosses and classical compositions of XVIII c.

The church’s nearby territory is studded with gravestones which are considered to be unique patterns of medieval stone carving art. Scenes of revelries, images of riders, warriors, musicians and hunters are depicted on them: likely thematically connected with the deceased people life.

By Natalia Ghukasyan, www.building.am



 


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