Kanach Jham Church
Among Shushi's monuments is also famous Verin Tagh or Kanach Jham church, which has preserved almost unharmed. According to the building inscription the church was built in 1818 in the place of the former Gharabaghtsots wooden church (in bottom eastern part of fort-town, existed in the second half of 18c). In the walls is placed the former church' inscription. The dome of the ramparted churchy and its chapel are seen from very far. the latters have architectural innovations.
The church has a cruciform scheme. In course of placing side-chapels under the alter rising, the eastern façade of the church and the chapel joining to it from west stand out with unique interior decoration, thanks to which this monument isolated among the analogous architectural constructions. Over the entry, crowned with chapel’s dome is carved the inscription, “Babayan Stepanos Hovanes. In the memory of the deceased brother Mkrtich. 1847”.
Though the chapel is directly joined up with the church, but by means of pilasters it definitely separates from the temple. By this is even more outlined the solemnity of the entrance portal. The praying hall is divided into two halls by means of pilasters. The first, almost square in scheme hall has a close vault peculiar to national houses. The second hall is crowned with large dome, which leans on pilasters from trimmed stone. The floor-level of the praying-hall, as it is seen by the exterior cornice-belt and the stairs of the chapel’s entry, is 2m higher compared with the yard-level.
In the architecture of Kanach jham attract attention the close, some not peculiar to Armenian church architectural details; a comparatively large bay of domes, placing the side-chapels under the stage, the eastern half-round wall. These new constructive methods, in particular the unique solution of the cover considerably enriched the construction. If add to this the vegetation, the white- cream tinit of walls, built from trimmed chipped stone, then it’s easy to guess, that the monument from the point of view of town-planing performed a definite organizing function. Kanach zham is well seen from almost all dwelling districts of the town, thanks to harmoniously raised domes and the chapel.
Until the early nineties of 20-th century, the church, was surrounded with resting houses and sanatoriums, and was turned into a mineral water-testing hall. In course of rashly realized rebuilding separate parts of the interior were altered or concealed. In peculiar, situated on the altar the iron cistern, hid by an odd picture, completely covered and separated the altar from the praying-hall. The stairs of the western entry of the church were taken away and instead of them along the northern façade were built new ones, dissonant to the monument, in course of which the layer under the central window was destroyed. The often pouring from the cistern water falls on the side- chapels and destroys the walls.
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