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Temple Zvartnots

Located 5 km from Echmiadzin is one of the brightest landmarkst of medieval Armenian architecture –the magnificent Zvartnots Temple

Temple Zvartnots

Located 5 km from Echmiadzin is one of the brightest landmarkst of medieval Armenian architecture –the magnificent Zvartnots Temple constructed in the 7-th century. Unfortunately, like the majority of other ancient Armenian temples, Zvartnots has survived only in ruins since it was completely destroyed by powerful earthquake in the 10 th century. But even the ruins of this temple give us the idea of its rare and majestic beauty.

It used to be a three-storied round temple of 49 m height consisting of three differently sized cylinders put against on top of each other crowned with a spherical pyramid-shaped cone. The temple stood on a platform surrounded by stepped pedestal which has partially survived. The temple reminds a cross put into a circle. This cross was the basis of the internal space of the temple. The entire structure was supported by four 20-m mighty columns. The round internal space was surrounded by a two-level gallery. The second level of the church was through from the three sides and its walls rested on six powerful columns. Five entrances led to the temple.

From top to bottom the temple was decorated with the magnificent stone carving. The intricate ornament framed the eaves and braided the window apertures. The temple's walls were decorated with grapevines, branches of a pomegranate, the finest geometrical patterns. The rich mosaic adorned the temple's walls. Zvartnots was also decorated with waist-length sculptures of people. Free natural poses; the detailed elements of clothes, almost portrait-like cut faces give us the idea of how medieval Armenians looked like.  

With time the huge hill was formed on the place of the temple with the remains of the four pylons. It was only in the early 20 th century that the famous Armenian architect Toros Toramanian tried to start the restoration works in Zvartnots.

The ruins of Zvartnots Temple are designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.