10 Most Beautiful Churches in Armenia That You Must Visit

Armenia being one of the oldest countries in the world was also the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion back in 301 AD (that’s more than 1,700 years ago!). Its millennium old monasteries can usually be found situated on highlands among-st picturesque landscapes where they are less vulnerable to attacks. Armenia, also known as the “land of churches”, has around 4,000 monasteries and churches. Here’s our curated list in random order for the 10 most beautiful churches in Armenia that you must visit at least once in your life!

1. Khor Virap Monastery

It’s no wonder why Khor Virap is one of the favorite attractions of most travelers in Armenia. The majestic Mt Ararat positioned right behind the church makes a fantastic backdrop for a panorama view of the church. The locals also believed that Mt Ararat protected the monastery against a strong earthquake in the past.

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                               The absolutely stunning Khor Virap against the majestic Mt. Ararat.

It is believed that St Gregory the illuminator was imprisoned here in this dungeon was dug 7-8 meters underground for his preaching of Christianity to the people in Armenia. It was such a miracle that despite being imprisoned for 13 years, he was still alive when they found him. It turned out that throughout the years, there was this Christian lady who continued to give him some bread surreptitiously.

Tip: For those who are claustrophobic, it’s advisable to not enter the pit. It was quite challenging climbing down the vertical ladder into the pit.

Image result for The pit where St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years
The pit where St. Gregory the Illiminator was imprisoned for 13 years

2. Noravank Monastery

This monastery is most famous for its two-story church whereby you will have to climb up to the main entrance via a narrow staircase made from stones jutting out from the face of building.

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Image result for Noravank Monastery Image result for Noravank Monastery

 

3. Echimiazin Armenian Apostolic Church

This was the first cathedral that was ever built in Armenia and also the oldest cathedral in the world. Sadly the main church building has been under construction for the past few years, hence we were not able to get a nice shot of it. The photo below shows the main entrance to this Church. This place was also the headquarter for all the churches in Armenia.

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And yes, this is the majestic view of the Echmiadzin church in summer when it was not under any renovation. Very beautiful right?

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4. Zvartnots Ruins

Zvartnots is also known as the “temple of ruins” and it is listed as a UNESCO heritage site. This place was the first circular 3 story church built back in the 6th century which only lasted for 3 centuries before it was destroyed by an earthquake. Some of the pillars and the altar of the church were relatively well preserved and you could also still see its exterior circular architecture.  The Armenians later learnt to built more stable rectangular based churches instead of circular shaped

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Image result for Zvartnots Ruins sunriseodyssey.com

5. Geghard Monastery

This was one of the most interesting and unique monasteries that we’ve seen during our time in Armenia and also my personal favorite. This entire cave monastery was carved inside a rock mountain, how is that even possible back then with limited tools and technology?! Its name “Geghard” means spear and this spear was actually referring to the same spear that was used to pierce Christ after he was being crucified on the cross to check if he was still alive. Many pilgrims head here to see the relic of the “spear” and hence they eventually renamed the monastery to Geghard Monastery (Spear Monastery).

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Can you imagine, this entire church was carved inside a rock mountain! Look at the details on the pillars and sides of the walls. Also, the                                                         exact spot where we were standing in the photo below was said to have the best natural acoustics ever. We did try humming a tune and it                                                     immediately sent tingles up our spine! The echo was unbelievable and even the slightest whisper could be heard clearly and beautifully!

 

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Remember to try singing a tune at this exact spot if you ever get a chance to be here!

 

6. Sevanakvank monastery

Most people travel to this monastery situated on a hill adjacent to the beautiful Lake Sevan to get a glimpse of the unique green cross stone that was made from limestone. This place was originally built for the priests that have sinned as this monastery was isolated and far away from the city and women. Also, this was one of the only 3 churches in Armenia that has Christ illustrated on the cross stone.

 

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Image result for Zvartnots Ruins sunriseodyssey.com
The maze on the right of the photo used to be the dormitory for the monks

7. Tatev Monastery

Another stunning fairy tale like monastery that literally took our breath away. This was in fact Daniel’s favourite out of the lot that we’ve seen! But this monastery is definitely more beautiful during summer

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Image result for Zvartnots Ruins sunriseodyssey.com

During winter, the road that leads up to the spot where you could capture a nice panorama shot of the monastery was too slippery and                                                          dangerous.

                                                 Useful tip: During winter, the cable car that leads up to the monastery only operates on Sat & Sun.

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This is the breathtaking panorama view that you can get when you travel here during summer. Super amazing right?! Photo not taken by us obviously since we were there during winter.

8. St Grigor Lusavorich

The St Grigor Lusavorich cathedral is also the symbol of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia as well as a tribute to St Gregory, the illuminator, who was responsible for introducing Christianity to Armenia. This church is one of the newest church in Armenia and was built only around 6-7 years ago.

Useful tip: Visit this church twice! Once in the day and again at night. This church is particularly beautiful at night after being illuminated by the floodlights.

Image result for St Grigor Lusavorich sunriseodyssey.com

Image result for St Grigor Lusavorich sunriseodyssey.com

9. Odzun church

This church was different because of its pink felsite stoned walls. Most of the other churches that we’ve seen were grey/dark colored, so this was indeed quite refreshing for us! Especially with its picturesque setting of the magnificent ridge as the backdrop, this church quickly became one of our favorites.

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10. Sanahin monastery complex

The Sanahin Monastery was very impressive because of its remarkable archways. The Sanahin was especially rich in Khachkars (cross stones) where more than 80 of them survived till date. If you’re visiting this complex, do remember to pay more attention to the intricate details on the khachkars. Most of these khachkars depict the traditional cross growing out of a grain with branches at its sides. According to our guide, this symbolizes “life”.

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Image result for St Grigor Lusavorich sunriseodyssey.com Image result for St Grigor Lusavorich sunriseodyssey.com

 

Mary’s Boy Child – Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

“Wishing You the Best of What This Christmas Can Bring You,
Have A Joyous, Peaceful & Love-Filled Christmas!”

“Can I have your Picture, So Santa Claus knows,
Exactly what to give me, Happy Christmas.”

“Thinking of you during the holiday season and
wishing you the best in all things. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

“Yuletide is a season of peace, goodwill and
abundance of mercy, may the joy of Christ’s birth ignite
your heart with gladness and laughter. Merry Christmas.”

 

Mary’s Boy Child – by Harry Belafonte

Long time ago in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day.

Hark now hear the angels sing
A newborn king was born today
And man will live for evermore
Because of Christmas Day.

While shepherds watched their flock by
night,
They saw a bright new shining star
they hear a choir sing
The music seemed to come from afar.

Hark, now hear the angels sing,
A king was born today,
And man will live for evermore,
Because of Christmas Day.

Joseph and his wife, Mary,
Came to Bethlehem that night,
They found no place to bear her child,
Not a single room was in sight.

Hark now hear the angels sing,
A king was born today,
And man will live for evermore
Because of Christmas Day

By and by they find a little nook
In a stable all forlorn,
And in a manger cold and dark,
Mary’s little boy was born.

Hark, now hear the angels sing,
A king was born today,
And man will live for evermore,
Because of Christmas Day.

Take My Heart

This is a very special piece with piano and Duduk instrument ( The Armenian duduk is one of the oldest music instruments in the history of mankind.)

 

The lyrics of this instrumental ” Take my Heart” is following:

“I wish you were a flower in my garden. I wish you were a bird flying over my garden. I wish you were with me, my love. Stay with me, don’t cause me too much pain. You may take my heart away if you wish, only please don’t leave me. Stay with me and I will do anything for you.”

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Arman Demerjian – duduk, lead vocals
Mihran Kalaydjian- Piano
Aram Kasabian – Lead Guitar
Hratch Panossian – Bass
Samer Khoury – Violin
Tony Amer – Saxophone
Haim Cohen – KeyBoard
Albert Panikian – Trumpet
Nicole Del Sol – Percussion
Dana Debos – Trombone
Roman Calote – accordion

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The duduk translates the pain and sorrow of the Armenian people and all that we went through…hearing the duduk sends shivers down my spine and through my soul, I think of my ancestors who perished during the Armenian Genocide and our lost lands…especially with “My Home”, this piece is a memorial to the Armenian Genocide, think of the Armenian families being massacred and forced from their homes onto the death marches and outright massacre.

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The Day God Took You

It was the shocking news that brought tears to my eyes.
And you made me remember what it was like to cry.

On that dreadful day, God decided it was your time, your time to go,
So He took your life away.

And everyone felt the pain, the pain that you had been suffering for so long.
It’s harder than I ever thought life could be without you.

You taught me values
Lessons in life I would learn
You taught me to respect
I gave you love in return

You have always been in my life
Through thick and thin
And now my lonely journey
Without you will begin.

Continue reading “The Day God Took You”