The Historical-Cultural Monuments of Armenia are Inseparable Parts of UNESCO World Heritage List
Ejmiatsin Mother Cathedral
Mother Cathedral of Ejmiatsin was build nearly in 303, 2 years after Christianity was adopted as a state religion in Armenia. According to the history, Gregory the Enlightener, while preaching the Christianity in Armenia, had a dream one night. In the dream Jesus Christ handing a gold hammer, was coming down from the heaven and He knocked at a place where a pagan temple was situated. In the morning Gregory the Enlightener told this dream to the King Trtad, who decided to found the holy cathedral, which was called Ejmiatsin (the coming of the only-begotten). During the centuries the cathedral has been ruined for several times by different invaders, for instance by Persians (after 80 years of foundation), and it has been rebuilt for several times by different catholicoses. And the final construction that we have today differs much from the temple built by Gregory the Enlightener. The temple that we have today is the result of final reconstruction in 1680s. In 2000 The Holy Cathedral of Ejmiatsin has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
Ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral
Zvartnots, a complex of structures erected in the middle of the 7th century near (Armavir district), is of extreme architectural value. The complex consisted of St. George temple or Zvartnots («vigil forces», «celestial angels») and the palace of Catholicos Nerses III, known as «Builder». Zvartnots, built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661. The plan of Zvartnots is based on the composition of the central nucleus of Armenia’s cross-winged, dome-type structures of the previous times that is the Greek cross. However, this cross is harmoniously fitted into a circle rather than into a square. Zvartnots’ architecture was supposed to impress the onlooker by its extraordinary artistic splendor. According to Stepanos Taronatsi, an Armenian historian of the late 10th and the early 11th centuries (Stepanos of Taron, known as Asoghik) Zvartnots lays in ruins since the tenth century: it has been ruined by Byzantines. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins are majestic. There survived only the lower parts of the walls and individual fragments. In 2000 the ruins of th Zvartnoc temple have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
To north-east of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat River, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture – Geghard monastery (founded in 4 century). The specific character of this monument reflects, no doubt, the peculiarities of the austere and majestic scenery around it. The picturesque gorge of Gegharda-dzor with its high and precipitous cliffs is extremely winding, and the monastery opens to view unexpectedly behind a turn of a steep path leading to it. Its figure is stylistically connected with the decoration of the monastery. The exact date of its foundation is unknown but it dates back to the 4th century. Its name can be traced back to the 13th century when, as a legend says, the legendary spear – geghard, which pierced Christ was brought there. In 2000 the Monastery has been inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
The Haghpat monastery is situated in the north of Armenia, in village Haghpat (Lori district). The exact date of the foundation of Haghpat is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that this structure dates back to the middle of the 10th century. The formation of Tashir-Dzoraget kingdom of the Kyurikids in 979 and the great attention paid to Haghpat by various rulers of Armenia and their vassals favored the construction of many religious and civil structures there. In this monastery humanitarian sciences and medicine were studied, scientific treatises written and paintings, most miniatures created. Haghpat complex is especially rich in khachkars, which were intended not only as memorials. Most of the khachkars have the traditional shape of a cross which germinated out of a grain, with branches on its sides. In the khachkars of the 10-11th centuries the framing of the cross was simpler than that of the 12th-13th century khachkars which developed new stylistic features. In 1996 the Monastery has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
The Sanahin monastery is situated in the north of Armenia, in the Lori district, within the limits of Alaverdi city. The exact date of the foundation of Sanahin is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that these structure date back to the middle of the 10th century. It was build before just before the Haghpat Monastery:and its name means ”this one is older than the other” intended to inform that it is older than Haghpat monatery. Sanahin complex is especially rich in khachkars, which were intended not only as memorials, among them are Tepagir (1011), Tsiranavor (1222), etc. In the khachkars of the 10th-11th century the framing of the cross was simpler than that of the 12t-13th century khachkars which developed new stylistic features. The lacy patterns and their intricate interweaving on Sanahin’s Grigor Tudevordi khachkar (1184) or Sargis khachkar (1215) are truly amazing for the ultimate skill of their execution. In 1996 the Monastery has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
UNESCO World Heritage Objects
Among the cultural elements of Armenia, the list of UNESCO includes musical instrument duduk and its music, symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars, Armenian epic “Sasuntsi David”, traditional Armenian bread “Lavash”.