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SIGHTS - Geghard


Monastery of Geghard is one of the most famous sites in Armenia. It is set amidst incredible scenery, at the root of a gorge surrounded by high cliffs. The history of Geghard began in 1215, with the Zakarian family. In Armenia, the Zakarides were one of the strongest families of the middle-ages and most prolific builders. Geghard was designed to shelter the “holy spear” (Sourb Geghard), used to pierce Christ and verify his death. At present, the spear is in Etchmiadzine. The main church (A), known, as Katoghik?, was erected in 1215. In 1240, another family, the Prochian, purchased Geghard from the Zakarian. The Prochian perpetuated the former family’s work by actually entering the rock against which the church and vestibule abided. Azavan, the first church cut into the rock was built in 1240. Within the chapel there is a miraculous running source. The waters are held to have healing properties: drinking or applying them to wounds cures ills. Church of the Virgin (Sourp Adzvadzadzin,) was built in 1283) that was properly the chapel adjacent to the Proshian burials. The church has a classical ‘cross and dome’ structure. An opening in the dome lets in the light and creates striking contrasts throughout the building.

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