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XIII AD - Vayots Dzor Marz
Heading NE out of nearby Yeghegnadzor Town, then continuing N up the road past the Museum, one reaches the village of Gladzor (1553 v) until 1946 Ortakend; inhabitants came from Soma, Iran in 1830. There is the so-called Vardani berd of the 9th c. on SW edge, with khachkars; also 1692 S. Hreshtakapet (Archangel) church. Continuing, the road reaches Vernashen, (961 v., historical name Srkoghovk, known till 1946 as Bashkend) site of the Masis shoe factory. Inhabitants came from Salmast in 1829. In village, S. Hakob church of 17th c. built with earlier carved blocks, has been converted into a museum for the Gladzor university. There are photographs and maps charting the existence of educational institutions in Armenia, and the influence of Gladzor and its pupils. Outside the door are seven modern khachkars representing the trivium and quadrivium, the 7 branches of medieval learning. Tanahati Vank* (Թանահատի Վանք), not to be confused with ruined Tanahat Monastery near Sisian, is the actual site of the university, and is 7 km further SE continuing along the same narrow paved road. The S. Stepanos church was built 1273-79 by the Proshian family (family crest of eagle with lamb in its claws carved in S wall, with the Orbelian crest of lion and bull near it). Varaga S. Nshan shrine of 13th c adjoins it. South of it, among the ruins of the educational buildings, are foundations of a small 5th c. basilica. Site was excavated in 1970 by I. Gharibian. Gladzor University flourished from 1291 till the 1340s and was a bastion of Armenia’s theological resistance to Uniate Catholicism. About 3 km E of Tanahati Vank is Arkazi S. Khach (Holy Cross) Vank, a church completely rebuilt in 1870-71, still a significant pilgrimage site particularly on October 8 or 11. According to legend, a piece of the true Cross, given by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius to the wife of Burtegh, ruler of Syunik, was buried in the walls. [Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook.]