Nature Trail 2010: Deghznut

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Deghdznut monastery, 12th-13th cc.

Deghdznut monastery, 12th-13th cc.

An important example of medieval Armenian architecture, Deghdznut vank is set in the deep forest of the Khndzorkut (literally apple seed) River canyon. The monastery was founded by the Archimandrite (Superior) Arakel from the Cilician city of Tarson, whose fragmented tomb stone is in the monastery gavit (1292).

The monastery complex includes a church, a gavit and a small chapel, surrounded by a cemetery and ruins of the ancient village with the same name (Deghdznut).

The church has a domed-hall design with eastern pillars serving also as the sides of the altar, located at the eastern end of the building. The altar is flanked by two annexes; the entrance to the second story is from the altar. The church has a richly decorated exterior; the walls enhanced with arches. Construction material is finely hewn pink tufa stone. Some experts date the main church at Deghdznut to the 8th century and believe that it is the same as old Taghdzank monastery.

The gavit has a rectangular plan and is made of the same pink tufa. The roof rests on cross-arching, a technique typical of churches of the time. According to 13th c. dedication inscriptions on the walls, the construction of the gavit took 16/17 years to complete (1258-1274) .

Khachkars (cross stones) with dates and inscriptions can be found inside the gavit, one of which bears an inscription describing the monastery's founding and was created by the medieval masters Petros (Peter) and Qaghaq .

 

Original text edited by ICOMOS/Armenia and the Institute for Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia.