The Monastery of Khor Virap - Golden Apricot Tour

The Monastery of Khor Virap

The Monastery of Khor Virap

The Monastery of Khor Virap is a sacred place in Armenia, linked to the history of the country’s adoption of Christianity. The monastery is located in the Ararat Province, near the village of Pokr Vedi, on the territory of the former Armenian capital, Artashat.

The history of Khor Virap dates back to ancient times. According to legend, this place was a pit used as a prison for criminals. It was here that Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Illuminator), who preached Christianity in Armenia, was thrown and spent 14 years before being released to continue his mission.

Even older legends mention the pit of Khor Virap as the place where the goddess Asthik was abducted by a demon and hidden until the god of war, Vahagn, freed her. This mythological aspect adds additional symbolism to the place.

The monastery complex was constructed in various historical periods. The current appearance of the monastery was formed in the 17th century. Initially, there was a pagan temple, and then in the 5th century, a small basilica church was built. In 642 AD, the Church of St. Gevork was built on the site of the pit, and in 1662, a vaulted chapel was erected in its place.

The main church of the monastery, the Church of St. Astvatsatsin (St. Mary), dates back to the 13th century. It served as a center for education and chronicle writing. In the 13th century, Khor Virap housed a university where many renowned Armenian scholars taught.

The second half of the 17th century saw the construction of the monastery’s enclosure and the repair of its buildings. In 1669, the Church of St. Gregory was built, and in the late 19th century, a bell tower was erected, completing the architectural ensemble of the Khor Virap monastery complex.

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