Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Armenian Studies Program


Type: Monastic Complex

Location: District of Kotayk (east of the central part of the country)

Date: Xth-XIIth c

Evidence For Date:

Important Details:

State of Preservation:


Summary: Geghart is a large monastic complex which rises at the bottom of a rocky valley in the district of Kotayk (east of the central part of the country) which is composed of a series of rooms partly its name of Ayrivank ("the monastery of the caves"). The rock-hewn structures reproduce the motifs and building techniques of traditional architecture. The main church (1215) is a domed hall with a cupola set on a very high drum and with a very elongated covering. The exterior walls are decorated with sculptured reliefs some of which are of local origin (e.g.. the decoration of the portal with grape clusters and pomegranates) and others are reminiscent of western Romanesque art.

The large gavit (1225) is roofed over with a large cupola with stalactites of clearly Islamic inspiration. Many other parts of the complex likewise show signs of Islamic influence.

On the side of the mountain a whole series of chambers have been cut out at various levels, among these a small church preceded by an endonarthex adorned with remarkable sculptured motifs such as bas-relief of two chained lions. The entire complex is enclosed by a wall. It includes residential chambers cut into rock and set on the southern and eastern sides. Within the enclosure and on the surrounding slopes of the mountain are found a series of small cells which are also cut out at various levels as well as a rich collection of Khach'k'ars and carved crosses.

Gueghard. Convento XIII sec
Shakh 1842 I, 282-91
Mank 1871
Mkit 1873
Alich 1890 334-351
Eprik 1900 147-157
Lynch 1918 I, 201
Strz 1918 245-246
Hovs 1944 48-136
Torom 1948 114-16, 279-280
Tokar 1949 monog
Boghar, N 1950 459-461
Ialkob 1950 127-131
Harut/Safar 1951 58-59
Mnatz 1952 47
Sahin 1958 monog
Tokar 1961 295
Barkh 1963 86-88
Mecer 1965 268-272
Sark 1966 247-248, 267-272
AMA 1968 150-151
Sahin 1969 ...
DerNers 1970 131, 148
Shaml,T 1971 459-460
Sahin/Manouk/Aslan 1973
Khatch 1974 10-12
Harut/Hasr 1975 195-204
DerNers 1977/78 174-179, 194, 206
Hovhannis, K 1978 88-94
DerMan 1980 ...
AA: Parse 1980 105-112
AA 1981 21-22

  • Geghart Floorplan
  • Geghart Exterior
  •  Geghart Exterior
  • Geghart Exterio Dome
    Exterior, dome
  • Geghart Interior