In the picturesque gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River, in a stunning red rock cliff lies a monastery that enchants with its beauty and uniqueness. Noravank Monastery (New Monastery) is on the list of World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996.
Bishop Hovhannes, the former Abbot of Vahanavank, founded Noravank in 1205. In late 13th and early 14th centuries, architect Siranes and remarkable miniature painter and sculptor Momik worked here.
The monastic complex includes the church of St. Karapet, St. Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall, and the church of S. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God). The monastery is famous for its two-storey S. Astvatsatsin church, or Burtelashen (“Burtel-built”) in honor of Prince Burtel Orbelian, its financer. St. Astvatsatsin erected in 1339 is the latest masterpiece of Momik and it is situated to the southeast of and at an angle to St. Karapet church. Narrow steps, projecting from the west facade, lead up to the entrance to the church/oratory. Here you can see a fine relief sculpture over the doors, Christ flanked by Peter and Paul.
In 1275, over the tomb of Prince Smbat Orbelyan, who died in Persia, the architect Siranes built the chapel Saint Grigor. The chapel contains more Orbelyan family tombs. The earthquake of 1840 destroyed Noravank and it was renovated in 1982-1998.
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