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Armenian Studies Program


Type: Small Cruciform Central-Plan

Location: In the village of Ashtarak

Date: VII century

Evidence For Date: No text or early inscriptions, dated by style and type of building.

Important Details: Red tile roofing, rounded at top in Byzantine style.


Reconstruction: Some was done in the 1950's.
History and commentary: The small church of Karmravor (meaning reddish hue) are located at Ashtarak on the northeast side of town. There is no exact date of construction known, however on the basis of its architecture it is considered to be from the 7th century. Karmravor, also known as Garmravor, was built by priests Gregory and Manas. There is an undated dedicatory inscription that begins on the south elevation and is completed on the north wall.

As of present day, Karmravor remains in a good state of preservation. It has managed to retain its roofing of clay tiles which are laid in mortar. Most recent resoration work is noted as taking place in the 1950's.

Karmaravor is a very small domed church measuring 19 feet 7 inches by 24 feet 6 inches. This church belongs to a series of small churches built as free crosses. It has a horseshoe east apse which is rectangular on the exterior. The other three arms or bays are rectangular both inside and in their exterior. There are four squinches above the central square that complete the octagon of the drum and eight small squinches are used betwween the drum and cupola. Karmravor is simply decorated with geometric motifs (braids, zigzags of semicircles) and foliages. The cornices are of basket-weave sculptering and the dome eaves are decoraed with leaf design. Entrance to the church is from the west.

Other churches of similar type attributed to the 6th or 7th century are St. Mariane of Artik, Lmbatavank', St. Astwacacin of T'alin, and Voskedar.

Alisan 1890, 185-188.
Ep'rikean 1900, 221-224.
Ep'rikean 1903-1905, 228.
Strzygowski 1918, 17.
T'oramanyan 1942-1948, 289-291.
Jakobson 1950, 39-40.
Arutjunjan 1950, 42.
Sahinya 1955, 85.
Tokarski 1961, 110-112.
Der Nesessian 1970, 104.
Cone 1974, 40.
Harouthiounian 1975, 61.
Manucharian 1977, 82-85.
Der Nersessian 1977-1978, 36-38.
Hovhanisian 1978, 246.
Thierry and Donabedian 1989, 497-498.

  • Karmravor Floorplan
  • Karmravor Exterior
  • Karmravor Exterior Sunset
  • karmravor
  • Karmravor