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Vahanavank, Syunik Region, Armenia

The monastic complex of Vahanavank is situated not far from Kapan. According to Stepanos Orbelian the monastery was founded by Vahan (and named after him), the son of the Syunik prince Dzagik. In 911 he built the church of Grigor Lusavorich (St. Grigor the Illuminator).

It’s a cross-domed church built of local reddish basalt. The church has two entries — from the west and the south (main entrance).

After Vahan’s death (he was buried in the monastery) his nephew, also named Vahan, built a porch, a refectory and a pillared hall. (Xc.). The porch, bordering the church from the west, is a rectangular construction. Interior cornices are decorated with geometrical and vegetable ornaments. Three massive horseshoe-shaped arches were supporting the roof of the porch. During the earthquake the middle arch ruined which caused considerable destructions.

In 1086 Syunik queen Shahandukht and her sister Kata built two-storey church-mausoleum of Surb Astvatsatsin (St.Virgin) not far from the main church. A number of gravestones with inscriptions dated X-XI was found in a pillared hall which is skirting the church and the porch. Kings, princes and high-ranking members of the clergy of Syunik and Aghvank are buried there.

About half a century ago (1966) excavations were hold on the territory of Vahanavank monastery. Reconstruction works under the guidance of the Armenian architect Arthur Meschian started in 1969. In 1978 famous architect Alexander Tamanyan`s son Yuli Tamanyan was also engaged in reconstruction.

During reconstruction works launched in 2006-2009 partially rebuilt a pillared hall. Church of Grigor Lusavorich and the porch bordering the church were also restored.

By Natalia Ghukasyan,



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