Ptghni Church (Ptghnavank)
This 6-7th century imposing church marks the end of the formation of domed hall type church in the history of Armenian architecture. It indicates the refined accomplishments of the early Armenian architecture.
Very Close to Yerevan
Ptghavank is located in a village called Ptghni in the Kotayk Province of Armenia, on the left bank of the Hrazdan River. The village was founded in 1831, in the vicinity of an abandoned settlement. The village was a cultural center with schools, a kindergarten and a library.
The Ptghni village is close to Yerevan, a forty to fifty minute ride from downtown. A taxi will charge you about 3000 AMD (~8 USD). If you travel 15km east from Ptghni, you can get to Aghjots Monastery thats in the village Aramus.
Only the Northern Wall
The Ptghni Church is one of the oldest surviving examples of the domed hall type church commonly built in Armenia during the early medieval period. It served as a prototype for a large number of Armenian churches built after the 9th century.
Most of the church is destroyed. The walls have partially survived except for the northern wall, which still withstands the vicissitudes of history. Although the only remaining parts of the Ptghni Church are the north wall, part of the south wall and one of the four pylons supporting the dome, it is not difficult to reconstruct the floor plan and the elevations.
The peculiar decoration of the Ptghni Church attracts ones eye - the ornaments on the borders of the windows are with geometrical, floral, anthropoid and zoological motifs.
In the center of the southern elevation, within a circle, there is a bas-relief depicting the figure of Virgin Mary, or possibly Christ (it is impaired), on both sides of who there are two flying angels; below this escort are groups of three apostles again within circles.
The other bas-reliefs are secular - in one, the duke Manuel Amatuni mounted on horse and shooting a beast from arch is carved; another one is probably the image of Manuels son, Sahak, spearing the chest of a lion; another lion is standing in front of a date tree in the upper left corner of the window, on a separate stone.