Matenadaran-Institute of Ancient Manuscripts

Matenadaran is a place where you can feel the spirit of ancient civilizations, get acquainted with the rich history of the Armenian people and see unique ancient manuscripts in the world.

Matenadaran - a treasury of the history of ancient civilizations

Institute of Ancient Manuscripts Matenadaran named after St. Mesrop Mashtots is located in Yerevan. It is one of the largest and most impressive repositories of manuscripts in the world and the largest repository of ancient Armenian manuscripts. The collection of Matenadaran manuscripts is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The institute has a museum open to visitors.

The word "matenadaran" in translation from Armenian means the repository of manuscripts. The beginning of the creation of the Matenadaran collection dates back to the V century. In Matenadaran, research work and restoration of manuscripts are ongoing. The funds of Matenadaran include more than 17 thousand ancient manuscripts and more than 100 thousand ancient archival documents. Along with Armenian manuscripts (over 13,000), over 3,000 manuscripts are stored here in Russian, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, Greek, Georgian, Indian, Japanese, Persian, Azerbaijani and other languages. Manuscripts and books stored in Matenadaran cover a wide range of topics, including history, mathematics, medicine, literature, philosophy and much more. Here you can see such interesting exhibits as the largest, smallest, thickest and thinnest books (handwritten) in the world. For example, “Sermons” written around 1200. The book weighs 27.5 kg and has a size of 75 by 55 cm. The oldest manuscript stored in Matenadaran is “The Gospel of Vekhamor”, written presumably in 887. The manuscript is considered the oldest full-fledged Armenian manuscript.

The Matenadaran Museum is divided into 9 thematic exhibitions: the central exhibition hall, halls of manuscripts of Artsakh, New Jugha, oriental manuscripts, medieval medicine, ancient maps, archival documents, ancient books, a virtual hall and sections representing donations from individuals and organizations. Museum guided tours are available in Russian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Arabic and Persian.

The monumental building of Matenadaran was built in 1959 according to the project of architect Mark Grigoryan in the traditional Armenian architectural style. In front of the building is a monument to St. Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian script, and the inscription is carved next to the wall: “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand the sayings of the mind” This was the first phrase written in Armenian letters. In the niches of the facade of the building, basalt statues of ancient Armenian scientists and thinkers are installed: historian Movses Khorenatsi, mathematician and astronomer Anania Shirakatsi, lawyer and fabulist Mkhitar Gosh, artist Toros Roslin, poet Frick and philosopher Grigor Tatevatsi.

Matenadaran will surprise you with its incredible atmosphere - here you can get acquainted with amazing exhibits and chat with the keepers of ancient manuscripts. This is definitely one of the places to visit in Armenia.

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