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Hayravank is a unique discovery for those who want to get up close and personal with the unique architecture of Armenian medieval monasteries while relaxing on the shores of Lake Sevan. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Hayravank, which sits gracefully on a cliff overlooking the lake.
Before we discuss what a fascinating structure Hayravank Monastery is, let's take a look at its location and how to get there.
Hayravank Monastery is located on the southern shoreline of Lake Sevan, about 1 hour' drive from Yerevan. Taking a taxi or renting a car is the quickest way to get there. If you want to be part of a group with similar interests that is guided by a local, you can join a group tour. Or, you can take the train to the town of Sevan and then a taxi to Hayravank - there are many options. On the peninsula, you can also visit Sevanavank Monastery, where you can take in the picturesque scenery and fully appreciate the monastic complex.
Although Hayravank is not on the main highway, it is in a convenient location that allows visitors to combine visits to other attractions. You can, for example, drive up to Hayravank Monastery, spend some time on the beach, sail to Seagull's Island, visit Noratus cross-stone field and old cemetery, and dine at one of the highway restaurants. Try the local "fish gata," which is a dish made of local fish in the form of Armenian sweet bread (the gata).
After the Hayravank Monastery, you can continue your trip to the south – Vayots Dzor region. In general, the highway connecting Yerevan to Lake Sevan is an important route with numerous tourist attractions. So, if you want to drive less, you can stop in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia's main ski resort town, or continue on to Dilijan or other tourist attractions in northern Armenia. Simply look at a map and plan an authentic itinerary to make the most of your vacation days.
Why should you go to Hayravank Monastery? There are several reasons for this, including the fact that, aside from the unique architectural legacy Hayravank offers, the location is also an excellent spot to view the country's stunning landscapes.
As you approach Hayravank Monastery, you will notice how naturally it blends with the blue colors of the lake and sky. You need to climb up the stairs to enter the complex. Huge orange-colored cross-stones from medieval times accompany you to the narthex entrance of the main church. The entire monastery is painted in dark colors with a bit of moss, hinting at the complex's age. The black and red tuff stones used in the buildings form a color puzzle, adding to the overall charm of the complex.
At the entrance, you can see the fantastic art of woodcarving, which is unique in the cultural legacy surrounding the Sevan water basin. Another such masterpiece can be found in Sevanavank, another jewel of the Gegharkunik region.
Hayravank Monastery was once a well-developed religious center. In addition to its role as an important spiritual center, Hayravank played an essential role in Armenian history during its time as an important cultural center for writing and illustrating manuscripts. Get inside the narthex and explore the architectural patterns, the vast and lavishly decorated dome, and the tiny cross-stones on the walls.
Inside the narthex, you will see two more entrances, one to the main church, St. Stephen, and the small 10th-century chapel from the right. Again, pay close attention to the choice of architectural solutions for the complex since when you get outside – trust us, you will get mesmerized.
Walk to the backside of the monastery and enjoy Lake Sevan's striking views–the region's biggest freshwater supply and the second largest by its height in the world. Face the lake and from your left side you will also notice some ruins of cyclopean fortresses – the silent witnesses of the life in this area populated for millennials.
Visit Hayravank Monastery in the spring to enjoy the blossoming of local flora, in the summer to enjoy the hotter but delightfully windy weather, in the fall to see the yellowish colors of this area, and in the winter to photograph the monastery and lake covered in snow.