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Haghpat Monastery

Churches and Monasteries

​Haghpat (literally “Strong Wall” in Armenian) is a monastery located inside the village of the same name, on the folds of Mt. Surplich (Holy Lake).

188 KM

​Haghpat (literally “Strong Wall” in Armenian) is a monastery located inside the village of the same name, on the folds of Mt. Surplich (Holy Lake).  The sprawling complex, together with Sanahin, is considered one of the best examples of Medieval Armenian monastery architecture in existence!  Both were designated World Heritage Sites in 1996. 

The first church, dating back to the 10th century, is believed to have been built on the remains of a pagan temple, as artefacts such as pottery, jewelry and bronze idols featuring sun worship from the Bronze and Iron Ages, surround the site. This symbolism carried through to the style of the churches, as can be seen by the variety of engravings of pre-Christian ideologies carved into the rocks of the monastery. Between the 11-13th centuries, the monastery became a repository for Armenian manuscripts, with the monks securing thousands of ancient texts from all over the Armenian kingdoms for safekeeping. During invasions, the manuscripts were scurried away to mountain caves, where it is believed many of them still remain undiscovered!

Haghpat was a temporary home to Armenia’s greatest bard, Sayat Nova, an 18th century musical prodigy that gave romance and elegance to this extraordinary place. Born in Sanahin, he spent much of his time in Tbilisi, writing and singing for the court, and helping to forge peace between the warring kingdoms of Armenia, Albania and Georgia. He was exiled for falling in love with the princess, and wandered the world as a minstrel before settling in Haghpat and writing some of his more haunting pieces of loss, despair and unrequited love.

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