Photographer's Note

Noraduz Khachkars (Cross Stones)

It was very difficult and actually not the right time to capture these beautiful cross stones because the light was inverse. I will try to post some more shots of these masterpieces of stone carving. The mountains in the background are Gueghamian mountains which contain many rock carvings of more than 4000 years of age.

from wikipedia:

Khachkars ("Խաչքար" in Armenian, literally meaning "cross-stone") are a uniquely Armenian form of art, which evolved into incredibly ornate form which reached its peak in the 12-13th centuries.

Perhaps some of the most intricate known Khachkars were designed by the great architect Momik. He also is credited with the design of the Areni Church and Noravank Monastery.

Khachkars are most commonly used as tombstones, but were sometimes used as memorials. The biggest khachkar cemetery in Armenia is the Noratus Cemetery, while the biggest in the world is in Jugha, in Nakhichevan.

Most khachkars do not depict Christ on the cross, but a few notable exception except. Most khachkars fall under the basic definition of a cross carved onto a stone. A few of the highly detailed and elaborate khachkars are called "lacework" khachkars. Khachkars which are freestanding crosses are called tevavor or "with arms" khachkars. Finally there are some examples of totem-pole style khachkars. The cross is usually the standard Armenian cross with two triple-loops on each arm of the cross, but can be simpler or vary.

Noratus (Arm: Նորադուզ)

Exiting E at a somewhat over-engineered cloverleaf intersection leads one toward Lake Sevan and the ancient village of Noratus* or Noraduz (5465 p). Turning right at the first street past the bridge leads to the S edge of town and S. Grigor Lusavorich church/Daputs Monastery of the 9-10th c., rebuilt by the 11th c architect Khachatur. Continuing straight into the center of village, the second left leads to the ruined S. Astvatsatsin church, a basilica built by Prince Sahak at the end of the 9th c., probably on earlier foundations. Outside the W door are intriguing carved grave monuments. On the E edge of town is a huge medieval-modern cemetery with an impressive array of early khachkars* =70= (40 22.40n x 045 11.05e), the largest such collection of khachkars in Armenia, as well as evocative modern funerary statuary. Continuing up the bare, windswept hillside beyond, there is a smaller cluster of khachkars around a medieval funeral chapel. Two km E of Noratus on the top of a hill is the Heghi Dar cyclopean fortress with a large tomb and two big inhabited caves. On a promontory N of Noratus is a large, well-maintained forest of antenna masts, ostensibly belonging to Armentel. A couple of km S of Noradus, near the former village of Artsvakar (formerly Ghshlakh, now a suburb of Gavar), are the Early Iron Age cyclopean fortresses of Ghslakh (near the lake), Zhami Dar (just W of Artsvakar) and Mrtbi Dzor (S of Zhami Dar).

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Additional Photos by Sayat Arslanlioglu (sayat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 569 W: 4 N: 345] (2949)
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