Saghmosavank Monastery: Complex
In the gorge of the river Kasakh there are many ancient cloisters, which impress with their centuries-old mysteriousness. One of such cloisters is Saghmosavank Monastery. Saghmosavank is a monastic complex which includes Church of St. Zion, a book depository, a narthex and Church of St. Astvatsatsin. The monastery itself was founded in 1215. The enlargements that surround the monastery from western and southern sides were built in the period from 1235 to 1255. Presumably in the first millennium BC on the site of the temple was located an Urartian fortress, the evidence of which is the plaque at the masonry of large boulders.
The founder of the monastery was an Armenian nobleman Vache Vachutyan. Later Saghmosavank (XII – XIV) became the spiritual and cultural center of the Vachutyan principality. During these years the most part of the Armenian Highland was included in the Georgian kingdom. It was during these years that the construction of temples and monasteries has blossomed throughout Armenia. Georgian commander in chief Zakareh appointed Vache Vachutyan as an “ishkhanac ishkhan”- prince of princes over these lands. Vachutyan erected many monasteries and castles throughout the area such as Teger, Saghmosavank, Hovhannavank and many others.
Saghmosavank Monastery: Manuscript repository
Saghmosavank Monastery was famous for its manuscript repository. In the medieval understanding, a library is a place where dozens of books are kept. In ancient times one manuscript could worth more than the whole monastery. In that library many mysterious manuscripts were created and miniature illustrations were copied. The central cone of the book depository vault is crowned with octahedral rotunda, the arch of which is decorated with geometric and floral ornaments. The interior is trimmed with multi-colored stones. The facade is richly decorated with hundreds of cross-stones-“Khachqars”.
During the earthquake in 1988, the temple was completely destroyed, but in 1998 the restoration works began. The temple was fully rebuilt in 2000.