Photographer's Note

I feel a bit like a discoverer (for you) the unknown land, as from the whole Armenia there are less photos than from some Polish cities. I have shown already beautiful monasteries in Khor Virap , Noravank , Tatev , Sevanavank and a temple in Garni , I also visited a few churches of the Holy Seat of Echmiadzin, but for me the number one was a monastery in Geghard.

The Geghard complex is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a medieval Armenian monastic foundation in a remote area of great natural beauty at the head of the Azat valley, surrounded by towering cliffs. It contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture and decorative art, with many innovatory features that had a profound influence on subsequent developments in the region. It was founded in the 4th century, according to tradition by St Gregory the Illuminator. The first monastery was destroyed by Arabs in the 9th century, but it was flourishing again by the 13th century. The monastery was famous because of the relics that it housed, the most celebrated the spear that wounded Christ on the Cross. Relics of the Apostles Andrew and John were donated in the 12th century and pious visitors made numerous grants of land, money, manuscripts and so on over the succeeding centuries.

I present three similar photos of the setting of this monastery in Azat River Valley. But the most amazing is carved in the stone interior which I will show later.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13052 W: 139 N: 33765] (153944)
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