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Khor Virap


There is a beautiful view from here with a spectacular sight of the biblical mountain Ararat. The 17th century monastery-fort of Khor Virap is located in the Ararat district, in the surroundings of the Pokr Vedi village, on top of a hill. The village is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the main highway. It is situated about 100 meters (330 ft) away from the Turkish-Armenian border (sealed by barbed wire fencing) and defended by military establishments that guard the troubled border zone. The monastery is surrounded by green pastures and vineyards in the Ararat valley and is in plain view of Mount Ararat. The Arax River flows close-by. In ancient times, this is where Artashat city was historically located.

The Nerses chapel, built in the 5th century around the famous pit, was of white limestone. Though plain in appearance, a monastery was built around a large enclosure that surrounds the ruins of the old chapel. This church has a twelve sided tholobate (or drum, it is the upright part of a building on which a dome is raised) and dome and is dedicated to St. Astvatsatsin. Though most Armenian churches have an east-west orientation, placing the altar at the east end, St. Gevorg Chapel is oriented northwest-southeast. Circa 642 the Catholicos Nerses III built a chapel there. The chapel with its composition and construction style reminds us of Zvartnots. A new chapel was built in 1662 on its ruins, which is still preserved today. The St.Astvatzatzin church was built in the 17th century and has an attached bell-tower as it stands today.

 

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