The book presents the author’s historical and archaeological observations on a number of places and monuments, proposing some assumptions and suggestions that can serve as a guideline for further studies. The author referred to those places about which he had previously published studies.
ARUCH – In the book, titled Aruch (Yerevan, 1987), Matevosyan K. assumed that the basilica which was excavated in the 1950s and considered to be part of the palace complex, is the ancient basilica church of Aruch (5th century), the western wing of which was later downsized and therefore the altar has not been preserved. This assumption was confirmed during the excavations in 2006.
Another assumption made in the same book has not yet been verified. It refers to the place of the entrance to the palace hall, which could not be determined during the excavations. Since the pedestal of the throne is on the eastern side of the hall, the entrance must have been from the western side, and if making excavations in a small area, the western wall of the palace and the entrance section can be opened.
From an archeological point of view, the 7th-century fortress of Aruch is also of great interest, the walls of which are currently in a state of disrepair.
HAVUTS TAR – A few years ago, in a 14th-century manuscript of the Matenadaran (Ms 3681) Matevosyan K. found the text of the spiritual leader of the Havuts Tar Monastery, Nathanael, about the history of the monastery. It is mentioned in this text that in 1002, Prince Gevorg built the Katoghike Church of the monastery, which had nine altars. The church is now in ruins, the area is covered with many church stones and architectural fragments. The gavit (narthex) of the monastery has been built in front of it, which is also currently destroyed. In the book, the author tries to restore the original plan of the monastery, showing the location of the Katoghike Church and suggests to make excavations in that area for discovering it.
ANI – the famous capital of medieval Armenia, the ruins of which are now in the territory of Turkey. It was especially famous for its numerous churches. Information about one of them, St. Stepanos, has been preserved only in the lithographs of other monasteries. In one of them it is mentioned that St. Stepanos was near the Kars Gate of Ani. In J. Orbeli’s Brief Guideline of the City of Ani it is mentioned under the number 20 – “the ruins of the big temple.” Therefore, it was the Church of St. Stepanos.
The Bekhents Monastery of Ani is famous for the two manuscripts copied and illustrated there which have come down to us (Matenadaran, ms. 5554, ms. 6288). Its exact location is unknown, but in the coastal part of the gorge of the Akhuryan River, where there are two more famous monasteries (St. Gregory built by Tigran Honents and the Kusanats Monastery), ruins and architectural fragments have been preserved, which allow us to assume that there were also a church and a monastery there. (Matevosyan K. made observations there in 2012-2013). It is possible that it was the Bekhents Monastery.
AGHTAMAR – King Gagik Artsruni made this island on Lake Van his residence, built a city, a palace, and the Church of the Holy Cross (915-921) there, which is famous especially for being completely decorated with reliefs from the outside. In the history ordered by the king it is said that in order to build the church, he invaded and occupied the Kotom fortress, destroyed the pagan temple there, and brought these stones to Aghtamar. First, Lydia Durnovo, then Asatur Mnatsakanyan, made the assumption that the reliefs of the temple presenting the images of animals, which form a separate ornamental belt, are quite protruding from the walls and differ from the other reliefs of the church in some respects. They were brought from Kotom and initially belonged to the temple situated there. The author of this book brings additional arguments in favor of this view.
The palace built by Gagik Artsruni on the Aghtamar Island has not been preserved and even its exact place is not known. When Matevosyan K. was in Aghtamar in 2012, he noticed a platform on the south-eastern side of the Church of the Holy Cross, on a high place, which was devoid of grass and was intentionally leveled. There are traces of walls on the northern and southern sides of the area. Taking into account these and several other circumstances, the author supposes that the Aghtamar Palace could have been in that place.
VAYOTS DZOR – This province of Armenia flourished in the late 13th and the first half of the 14th century. The University of Gladzor, having a pan-Armenian reputation, was founded here. In 1282-1338, it functioned at the Aghberts Monastery, the location of which is currently unknown. In 1338-1356, the university operated at the Hermon Monastery, which is now abandoned and in a state of disrepair.
Since the end of the 13th century, under the auspices of the Orbelian princes another high-class school functioned at the Upper Noravank in the Vayots Dzor province, the location of which was also unknown, but due to the recent studies (Discovery of Tigran Mkrtchyan) it was discovered that it is the nowadays famous Shatik Monastery. Matevosyan K. suggests to carry out corresponding archaeological and restoration works in these two monasteries, Hermon and Upper Noravank, which are far from the roads. Due to them, Armenology will be enriched with new data, the tombstones of some medieval educational figures will be discovered. At the same time, it will be possible to add these two monuments to the tourist map of Armenia as places of activity of the higher educational and scientific centers of medieval Armenia.
The book is published in Armenian with English conclusion.
Author of the book
Dr. Karen Matevosyan
Doctor of Historical Science, Professor
Deputy Director of Matenadaran
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