Yeghvard Church

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XIV AD - Kotayk Marz

Yeghvard Church

Yeghvard (Եղվարդ, 8499v) is a large, tidy, ancient village with the small, two-story S. Astvatsatsin (“Mother of God”) Church (1301 or 1321), steeple visible from afar, and an important 5/6th century ruined basilica about 350 m NNW of it. [Paragraph Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook.]


In the middle of Yeghvard stands the Holy Virgin church-belfry (1301). Its second floor has an almost cross-like scheme, with a stalactic finishing hole instead of an apse. Stony stairs are only on the second floor; a wooden staircase was put to get up there.

The walls of the church stand out with exceptionally richness of decorations. Yeghvard's church is one of the best similar- type monuments of Medieval Armenia and is the best-preserved one.


Yeghvard, one of the Armenian old settlements (now the center of Nairi region), is full of different period and type valuable architectural monuments. In the middle of Avan are situated the ruins of a one-nave church (only the bottom part of walls preserved). The scheme is a prolonged rectangle (9,1 x 23,5m) stretching towards east-west direction. One of the four entries is from West, the other three are from South.

The northern wall's lug and south-western corner's anchor witnes about the existence of a vaulted hall. The praying hall finishes with the half-rounded apse of the stage in eastern side. The wall-anchors of the arch also preserved. The three-nave basilica is situated towards south from the one-nave church, and is built from the local clearly trimmed tuff.

The huge volume of the basilica (14,1 x 27,3m) rises over ther wall- anchors. The hall divides into three naves by means of four pairs of T-shape pillars. The central nave is considerably wider than the ones on the sides. Yeghvard's basilica has a unique peculiarity, which doesn't come across in any other same type of Armenian mounuments- the side naves in the eastern side finish up with small apses looking at the hall.

The apse of the main stage of the church (not preserved) went out from the rectangle volume of the building with pentahedral outline. A one line inscription of 660 stretches on the wall. The basilica has seven entries- three in south, three in north and the main one in western side. The not very big door of the southern side stands out with beautiful decorations.

By its architecture and decoration Yeghvard's basilica belongs to the Armenia's monuments of Vc. But in VI- VIIcc (probably in Movses Yeghvardetsi's power) the basilica was restored- the original wooden roof was replaced with a tiled one, for which three strong pillars were built. The restoration is easily noticed, because the old and new pillars aren't placed correspondingly.

Yeghvard Church closeup


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