Surb Astvatsatin Monastery (Tartar)

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Photo ©
Footbridge across Tartar River to Monastery ©

Surb Astvatsatin Monastery is built near the Tartar River in northern Karabakh, very close to Dadivank Monastery.

The large medieval-period monastic complex, which includes over 20 constructions and rooms is situated 3km towards west from Dadivank, at the foot of rocky hill on Tartar’s right bank.

The most ancient monument of the monastery church Surb Astvatsatsin is in the northern part of the complex. It’s a rectangular in scheme one-nave basilica with vaulted cover. About the foundation date of the church points the squared-beam inscription; “… princess daughter of king Kyurike… in 1174”.

From west to the church joins the rectangular vestibule-gavit. The western entry leads to the adjacent room, and the large south-western door opens to the yard.

From west to the church joins an ancient chapel, the northern wall of which is at the same time the continuation of temple’s southern wall.

In the center of the complex is the main church of the monastery, analogous to the churches of late medieval period. This three-nave basilica with interesting interior has almost wholly-preserved. Th church-vault leans of two pylons and four pre-wall half-pylons. By its volume-space solution it reminds church Surb Astvatsatsin (1621) in village Akaku in Hadrut region. The vestibule of the temple is a square in scheme hall, and like the Armenian glkhatuns, in vault cover it has light-passage-yerdik. One entry of the vestibule is connected with the yard, and the other is connected with the chapel in southern part.

In the western part of the complex, along north-south axis were situated now wholly-destroyed auxiliary constructions. Here remains only the rectangular in scheme with vaulted cover prolonged building in south-western part. Obviously in the past it was used as a stable. Number of dwelling and communal buildings are in southern part of the complex. All the constructions of the monastery are mostly built from untrimmed stone, except for some main parts, where is used roughly-trimmed and clearly-trimmed stone. Khachkars and stones with epigraphic inscriptions are badly harmed.

In the monastery are calculated 8 inscriptions, 3 of which are dated 1174, 1178, 1261.

Judging by the preserved and destroyed monastic monuments in the past here had been a large religious center, belonging to Tsar’s princes.


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