Kecharis Monastery, dating back to the 11th century, is located in Tsaghkadzor, a town with constant tourist flow. The visitors of the Monastery are usually astounded by its remarkable gracefulness.
The Valley of Flowers
The Kecharis Monastery is located 60 km from Yerevan in a resort town of Tsaghkadzor in Armenia. The town is located in a densely forested valley. There are lots of tourists and hikers in summers. In winters Tsaghkadzor is teeming with holidaymakers who come to ski.
Tsaghkadzor is a town with constant tourist flow, so there are many hotels and restaurants. I often stay in Kecharis hotel. Located in the center of Tsaghkadzor, Kecharis hotel always stands beyond my expectations.
Tsaghkadzor is about a 40 minute drive from the center of Yerevan. A taxi ride usually costs me about 6000 AMD (~16 USD). Alternatively, you can take a minibus to Hrazdan City, which leaves from Raikom in Yerevan for 500 AMD. There is minibus # 17 (AMD 150) you can take from Hrazdan to get to Tsaghkadzor. Hrazdan is only 54km. from Tsaghkadzor. Another option is that you could take a taxi from Raikom to get to Tsaghkadzor. There are usually many taxis, which let 4 people share the fare of the taxi. So the fare in this case is usually about AMD 1000.
Before you reach Tsaghkadzor, you can turn left from the highway and go see the Makaravank Monastery famous for the exquisite detailing of its bema.
The Kecharis Monastery Complex
The notice board in front of the monastery says that Kecharis is an 11-13th century monastery. At first, the gavit was built. St. Grigor Church was built in 1033 and then the St. Nshan (Mark) Church, Katoghike and St. Harutyun (Iohan) Churches, the chapels and the cross stones (khackkars).
First, I entered the gavit that was annexed to the main church St. Grigor in the 12th century. There are a sun-dial clock on the southern and a bordered portal in the western elevations. Through the gavit I walked into the St. Grigor Church. It is remarkable that the building of the church was the result of the construction efforts of the duke Grigor Magistros. This testifies to the origin of capitalism in late medieval Armenia. The facades are modest, with no decorations. There are some ornaments on the southern portal.
Walking 10 m southeast I came up to the St. Nshan Church. Between the two churches there used to be tomb-chapels, of which only the eastern wall, decorated with cross stones, has survived.
The St. Harutyun Church stands alone from the cluster, off the way going to the forest in the southwest. A distinctive feature of the structure is that it has, on its western facade, twin openings topped with arches, which rest on the wall-attached and intermediate columns. This gives the structure the appearance of an open passage. There are many graves in the church, which was probably a family burial vault.
A notice board says that the reconstruction of Kecharis resumed in 1998 and was finished in 2000 thanks to a donation by an Armenian benefactor from Vienna named Vladimir Harutyunian.