The Yeghvard Church is a rare example of medieval Armenian architecture. Built in 1301, and also known as Surb Astvatsatsin Church (Virgin Mary), it is one of the best preserved architectural monuments in Armenia.
The Yeghvard Church is located in the center of the town Yeghvard, in the Kotayk Province of Armenia. This spot is one of the oldest settlements in Armenia. It abounds in various valuable architectural monuments dated to different periods. There is an important 5th century ruined basilica, the Katoghike Church, adjacent. The small Saint Sargis Church is nearby. Also, near to the Yeghvard Church there is a Surb Astvatsatsin Shrine. Finally, the Zoravor Church is about 2km from Yeghvard.
To get to Yeghvard you can take a taxi from Yerevan that will cost you about 4000 AMD (~11 USD). The taxi ride is about an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; it will be a cheaper, but a longer trip. You should take the bus to Gyumri and get off in Yeghvard. The bus leaves from Kkorenatsi Street in Yerevan, behind the Rossiya trade center.
The Yeghvard Church is a small, two-floor church with a cruciform floor-plan. It has a cylindrical drum and a conical dome. The drum consists of twelve columns, upon which the dome rests.
There used to be stairs to the second floor are on the western facade. A wooden ladder is sometimes available to get up there.
The exterior of the church is exceptionally decorated. The animal motifs are marvelous. On the front facade, above the second floor portal, there are a bull and a lion in high relief. On the southern façade, above a large window, is a motif of a fierce bird with a geometric rosette on its chest holding a hooved animal in its talons. On the northern façade is a mountain goat, and on the rear is a large cat pouncing upon a goat.
The geometrical and vegetative motifs form a latticework that at places looks like a fine embroidery. On the western facade you can see a high-relief of a large cross, flanked by Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus and another saint. The unusually low portal to the second floor is bordered by octagonal stars that, on their turn, are within a frame of a chain.
Adjacent to the church is the foundation of the Katoghike basilica. There are khachkars (cross stones) and graves nearby.