Khatravank Monastery

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Photo © Mazzoniguide.com
Photo © Mazzoniguide.com

Khatravank is in northern Karabakh on the road from Stepanakert to Dadivank Monastery.

Towards south-east from the above mentioned monuments, on Tartar's bank, 2km far from the river, on the end of a sabre-shape mountain-ridge stretches Khatravank complex with presently blackened and mossy, half-destroyed ramparts, old and new churches. Khatravank, which certainly was a remarkable architectural complex, contains number of voluable collection of khachkars. There was a nice custom in Medieval Armenia; while building monk buildings they put old khachkars and inscriptions, things connected with historical memories in the walls.

So, this way the built building became a unique museum. A best example of it is Khatravank, tens of khachkars and wall-carvings on the walls of which can open many folds of the area's previous history and culture, about which there are no other sources. The temple consists of three churches, a vestibule, dwelling and communal constructions. Khatravank construction's building inscription is since 1204 and informs us that the church was built by Hovanes Khachenetsi. He collected crosses and khachkars, written journals and other sacred objects, planted a new garden and with onother garden presented to the temple.

The church has an enterior cruciform, exterior rectangle, vestries in four corners composition. It's not symmetric in scheme. In the praying hall there are two one-nave vaulted chapels with rectangle stages. From this point it is exceptional in Armenian architecture. The inside pillars of the church are from trimmed-grey stone decorated with carvings. The first two from four pillars are integral, the others consist of two-pieces each. Symbols of Evangelists are carved on their anchors. The stage with the main table is situated in half-circle of eastern wall. There are also two large and two small vestries. The inside walls are plastered with lime mortar. The destroyed chapel is adjacent to the church. It can be seen from its half-destroyed walls that the chapel had two stories covered with madder stone.

On the western side of the chapel is situated the vaulted hall type of dining-hall. This construction stretching from east to west performs quite an important role in the general architectural solution of the complex. The dining hall has preserved comparatively well. The walls and the vault are built from local roughly-trimmed stone and lime mortar, only the arches and the wall-pillars that carry the vault are from trimmed stone.

The dining-hall is lighted by means of four windows, which widen towards inside in southern and eastern walls. For auxiliary lighting and airing roofings are opened in the vaulted cover.

As has already been mentioned, all the buildings of the temple are completely covered with trees and bushes, which cover them entirely and the presence of an architectural construction in the thick forest can be noticed only whn very close to it. The ramparts, cells, other constructions and buildings became nature's victims and it's now impossible to give the full picture of complex' main scheme. Even the roofs of the buildings are covered woth trees and bushes. The gable roof of the big church is completely covered with trees.

In western side of Khatravank, in the rock on the slope of a deep canyon is situated Khatra called fortress.

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