Etchmiadzin Cathedral - Saint Gayane Church - Saint Hripsime Church - Zvartnots Cathedral - Khor Virap

Daily tour, one day trip: st Etchmiadzin – st Gayane church - st Hripsime church - Zvartnots Cathedral - Khor Virap

 

Echmiadzin or Vagharshapat is a city in the Armavir region of Armenia, one of the most significant cultural and religious centers of the country.

Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). According to most scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and is often considered the oldest cathedral in the world.

The original church was built in the early fourth century - between 301 and 303 according to tradition-by Armenia's patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by King Tiridates III. It was built over a pagan temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The core of the current building was built in 483/4 by Vahan Mamikonian after the cathedral was severely damaged in a Persian invasion. From its foundation until the second half of the fifth century, Etchmiadzin was the seat of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church.

 

The Church of Saint Gayane is a 7th-century church, the religious center of Armenia. In 2000, Saint Gayane Church was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with historical churches of Vagharshapat. It is located within walking distance from the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. St. Gayane was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630. Its design has remained unchanged despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652.

Gayane was the name of an abbess who was martyred with other nuns by Tiridates III of Armenia in the year 301, and subsequently made a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

 

Saint Hripsime Church was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other nearby churches, including Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia's mother church, in 2000. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in the country. The current structure was completed in 618 AD. It is known for its fine Armenian-style architecture of the classical period, which has influenced many other Armenian churches since.

Hripsime, along with the abbess Gayane and thirty-two unnamed nuns, are traditionally considered the first Christian martyrs in Armenia's history. They were persecuted, tortured, and eventually killed by king Tiridates III of Armenia. According to the chronicler Agathangelos, after conversion to Christianity in 301, Tiridates and Gregory the Illuminator built a martyrium dedicated to Hripsime at the location of her martyrdom, which was half buried underground. Excavations around the church have uncovered remains of several tortured women buried in early Christian manner. In 395 Patriarch Sahak Partev (Isaac the Parthian) rebuilt or built a new martyrium, which had been destroyed by the Shapur II of the Sasanian Empire in the 360s.

 

Zvartnots Cathedral is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) in Armavir Province of Armenia.

Dedicated to St. Gregory, it was located at the place where a meeting between King Trdat III and Gregory the Illuminator was supposed to have taken place. According to the medieval Armenian historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi, the cathedral was consecrated in 652.

Zvartnots remained standing until the end of the tenth century, but historical sources are silent as to the cause of its collapse.

 

The Khor Virap ("deep dungeon") is an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain, near the closed border with Turkey, Ararat Province. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos.

Khor Virap's (6 metres deep and 4.4 metres wide) notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Gregory the Illuminator was initially imprisoned here for 13 years by King Tiridates III of Armenia.

A chapel was initially built in 642 at the site of Khor Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. In 1662, the larger chapel known as the "St. Astvatsatsin" (Holy Mother of God) was built around the ruins of the old chapel, the monastery, the refectory and the cells of the monks.

The 17th century church built around the pit is a simple structure surrounding a large courtyard which looks like a fort complex.

Duration: 6-7 hours

Price of group and individual excursions

(The price is written on the transportation regardless the number of the participents)

 

Price without a guide
1-3 pers. 4-6 pers. up to 7 pers.
60 USD
75 USD
on request
Price with a guide
1-3 pers. 4-6 pers. up to 7 pers.
100 USD 115 USD on request
 
The price does not include:
  • entrance tickets to the historical and cultural centers;

   

  • (+374 91) 01 56 60

 

 

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