Haghartsin Monastery


Haghardzin. built by the architect Minas in 1248, is a structure of a rare composition. The structure is divided by pillars into two square-plan parts roofed with a system of intersecting arches. Haghardzin has no walls and is located in the forest on a mountainside. The first warning of the approaching monastery is a small cave-like building and khatchkars. Among the memorial khachkars of Haghartsin there are unique and highly artistic ones. Of interest is the ornamental carving of a 13 century khachkar placed next to the southern door of St. Astvatsatsin church in Haghardzin. This is a unique work. There are three main buildings still standing. The biggest is St. Astvatsatsin Church (1281) and it deserves special mention. The tall sixteen-faceted dome, dominating all the other structures, is decorated with a graceful arcature, the bases of whose columns are connected, by means of triangular ledges and spheres. Haghardzin vestry has ornamented corner sections and these sections contain sculptures of human figures in monks' attires, carrying crosses, staffs, and birds. The framing of the central window of Haghardzin’s vestry is cross-shaped. Placed right above the portal of the main entrance, it emphasizes the central part of the facade.