Harichavank known as one of the most famous monastic centers in Armenia was especially known for its school and scriptorium. Archaeological excavations of 1966 proved that Harich was in existence during the 2nd century BC and was one of the most well known fortress towns in Armenia. Over 800 years the monastery was repeatedly reconstructed. Damages inflicted on it were repaired and small annexes and chapels were added to it at various times. The largest of these date back to the second half of the 19th century after Harich was made the summer residence of the Catholikos of Echmiadzin in 1850.
The first church of St. Gregory was of cross-winged dome type and dated back to 7th century. The apse wings of the cross are semicircular inside and pentahedral outside, as in Mastara and Artik. The central part, square in the plan, is roofed by means of original pendentives with a tremendous 12-hedral cupola which imparts to the interior a majestic appearance.
The second, main, church of Astvatsatsin was built in 1201. It belongs to the type widespread during 12th — 13th centuries; outwardly rectangular and inwardly cross-winged domed buildings with two-store annexes in all the four corners.