Bjni (Arm: Բջնի), Kotayk Marz
In Arzakan, turn right and then take the left (straight) fork to Bjni (2791 p). You will pass two ambitious, incomplete hotel/restaurant “obekt”, one a complex fantasy covered with rounded river stones. Two tenths of a mile beyond, across the river, is an impressive natural bridge. Entering Bjni, the 9-10th c. fortress* of the Pahlavuni family will appear on a mesa overlooking the river at the far end of the village, with the S. Astvatsatsin church* =50=, 1031, built by order of Prince Grigor Magistros, looming below on the left. A hundred meters below the large church, with a collection of excellent khachkars, is the small rectangular S. Gevorg church of the 13th c., with older stones built in. A narrow dirt road rises straight to a water tank near the NW end of the berd =20=, thence a 50-meter scramble to the summit. Castle walls are poorly preserved. There are remains of two cisterns, one with vaulting partly intact, and low foundations of a 5th? C church near the far end, past the one standing medieval structure. A covered passage leads to the river. Nestled between the berd and the village is a small ruined shrine employing massive stones.
Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook
More Bjni info
Hrazdan region, full of architectural and historical monuments always has attracted specialist’s attention with its classic constructions. The historical constructions of Bjni stand out among lithograph of V c. It is situated in a picturesque defile of Hrazdan River surrounded with tall rocks. The village was the family land of Pahlavunies and had played a great role in medieval Armenian life.
Some historical sources tell that in 1043 Gregory Magistros Pahlavuni defended the fortress from foreigners. During 1387 invasion of Lenktemur Bjni devastates and remains in same condition till XVII c.
In the middle of the village, on a hill surrounded with impregnable rocks, the medieval fortress was built. Only frivolous remainders got to us from that impregnable fortress.
The remainders of the northern wall, Surb-Khach chapel, underground cistern and the secret passage preserved.
Towards the east from fortress, in small Bjni, on a sharp-end rock preserved St. Sargis church, which belongs to the small, widely spread in VII c Armenian type of churches with central-dome cruciform scheme.
Three cross-wings of the church are rectangle, and the eastern one has a half-round apse. The frontal doors are solved restrained.
The only entry is from western side. The church got to us almost unchanged, except the roof at first was tiled, then it was covered with stony slabs.
In 1969-1970 the church was essentially reconstructed.
Towards the west from the fortress, in the middle of Big Bjni village in 1031 Gr. Magistros built the St. Virgin church.
The monument is a domed hall in scheme. The four pointed arches lean on four pillars, which carry the dome and the drum. The inside passage is opened through the mediation of sails. United-undivided inside space is peculiar to domed halls, which exist in VI-VIII cc temples of Ptghi and Aruch.
The organization of this space in Bjni has a little different salvation. The eastern pillars carrying the dome don’t come out from the longitudinal walls as in Ptghi and Aruch, but are jointed with the walls of Big Bay.
The style of decorative motives under the window of the Big Bay is like XI c ornaments.
The southern and western frontal doors are restrained and not decorated. There is an inscription on the southern frontal door, telling about restoration. The building inscription preserved on the southern wall, by the entrance.
The polyhedral dome is crowned with triangle-shaped cornice, which serves as a basis for the fan-vaulted roof.
The complex of the monument is surrounded with serf wall, which in 1666 was built by Movses preceptor. It is built of big and small half-processed granite stone and has round towers in the corners.
There are khachkars with beautiful ornaments around the Holy Virgin’s church, two of which were built by the famous medieval preceptor Melikset Kazmogh.
The church was reconstructed in 1939, 1949 and 1957.
There are many architectural and historical monuments preserved in the territory of Bjni villages, which have not yet been examined thoroughly. One of them is the basilica church built in V c.
The remainders of caravansaries building and the bathhouse preserved. During 1978 excavations a cemetery was discovered which has not been examined yet.