Yerits Mankants Monastery
A beautiful sight can be seen 7 km from Jraberd Fortress; Yeritsmankants Monastery rises from afar in the forest. With its majestic look and construction it beautifully harmonizes with its surroundings and nature.
On the dark green background of the surrounding mountains here raise their tops till the sky, the canyons are deep, the rivers are rapid, the forests are virginal.
In order to get to Yeritsmankants Vank you must conquer the difficulties of the road. Usually the roads to Artsakh's temples are difficult to conquer, perhaps it is for the pilgrim to exercise its body, soul and wonder at the majesty of the erection. According to some preserved inscriptions Yeritsmankants Vank was built in 1691. The khachkars set into the walls of the church have 1571, 1620, 1745 and other datings.
The three-nave vaulted basilica church was built of clearly-trimmed and roughly processed whitish stone. The dome of the temple rises over four remarkable, square, cruciform pillars and the arches connecting them. The square beam of the door is completely lithographed carving-texture.
The architect of the church is Sargis, whose inscription is situated on the northern side of the stage wall: "The builder and the master of the church Sargis remember with Christ".
The church is interesting to look at from inside. A large hall, the perfect silence and majesty of which are especially marked out by the magnificent upward pillars, by the inclination of pointed intermingled arches, by the sun rays that run-through the big windows of the drum, by the mystery of two-storied sacristies, by the iron-written lithograph on the stage, by the existence of big and small many khachkars and windows.
The many preserved dwellings, rooms and other buildings in the territory of the temple, show the number of Yeritsmankants Vank's monks.
The rooms of monks and other auxiliary halls, as a rule, had fireplaces and windows. These secular constructions have a scheme similar to the buildings of Kolatak's St. Hakobavank church, though these erections are still larger. The dwelling cell in the eastern part of the church consists of a vaulted hall, which opens at the yard, and doors which open to the dwelling rooms situated on both sides of the hall.
The next group of rooms is situated lower than the level of southern wall of the church and consists of two rectangle halls coming one after another.
The patriarch's chamber (a big round hall) is situated on the left part of the second hall fully buried in the ground. It is an interesting and unique erection. Jraberd and the canyon of Trghi River can be seen through the window of the hall.
Due to the position of the front lines, the following trip requires permission from the Karabakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense. Once you have it, or that situation changed, here are the directions. Heading straight N from Mardakert, you reach the village of Mataghis, which straddles the Tartar River. Continue up the Tartar past Mataghis, along your left side of the Tartar, past the Yeghsharakel River, into some of Karabakhs most impressive scenery. Temperate rainforests and dramatic gorges set the scene as you drive. Skip the first bridge across the Tartar (which leads to Tonashen, then back down to the road you stay on) then cross the second bridge to get to your right hand bank of the Tartar. Continue straight, ignoring the last bridge leading across to Maghavus, until the road turns right up the tributary named the T'rkhi River, where you will see J'raberd. Visible some 7km from Jrabert is the monastery of Yeritsmankants. By following the road straight along the T'rkhi River, up through the gorge, (some have made it in 4x4's, others say you should walk) you reach Yeritsmankants** (Three Youths) Monastery. Also in a breathtaking setting, with interesting architecture, this is one of the gems of Karabakh. Like its other almost unknown and unvisited worthy sister monastery in the south, G'tichavank, this will one day be one of the must-sees of Karabakh. Built in 1691, this monastery has its own look. Again, I should mention that access to this entire area north of Mardakert is difficult not just for the horrible roads, but for the military situation. It may not be possible to visit these sites at the present. [Paragraph Source: Rediscover Armenia Guide]
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