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Haghpat 1: History. Legend.


A church stood in Haghpat village from the 4th century and it is believed that one stood at the site of the monastery as well. The area has revealed substantial artifacts from the Bronze Age and the adjoining Debed River shows human activity dating to the Paleolithic Era.

The monastery founding is traced to the reign of King Abbas Bagratuni (r. 929-953), but construction of the oldest building of the complex started in 976 during the reign of King Ashot the Merciful (r. 953-977). Construction of St. N'shan church was commissioned by Queen Khosrovanuish in honor of her sons Smbat and Gurgen (Kiurike) and was finished in 991.

After the fall of the Bagratuni capital at Ani in 1064, the monastery went into decline, reviving again under the auspices of the Kiurikians and especially the Zakarians, who received the monastery as payment for military service to the Orbelian kings in Georgia, and who liberated the region from the Seljuks in the late 12th century. The complex was largely completed by the mid 13th century, having more than tripled in size and assuming position as one of Armenia's preeminent monasteries and centers of learning.

In the mid-11th century, Haghpat was the religious center of Lori region and competed with its brother monastery Sanahin. Haghpat's bishop Hovhannes had nearby Kayan fortress erected in 1233. His cousin, Prince Shah'n'shah, whose father was buried at Sanahin, had the fortress torn down on order of advancing Mongol troops. The Mongols captured both monasteries and sacked them.

The monastery was further decimated by the legions of Timur and then the Ottomans (15th-17th centuries). In 1639 eastern Armenia became a part of Persia. The established peace was favorable for the monastery. The monastery revived and resumed its mantle as a place of learning and as a manuscript center. Its most famous 18th century resident was the courtier and troubadour Sayat Nova (1722-1795). Sayat Nova died at Haghbat.

Haghpat was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1996.



1. Jgrashen
2. St. Grigor
3. St. N'shan
4. Gavit (St. N'shan)
5. St. Astvatsatsin
6. Hamazasp
7. Ukanants Family Sepulcher
8. Gallery & Academy
9. Book Depository
10. Belfry
11. Sayat Nova Memorial
12. Medieval Walls
13. Dining Hall, Service Building
14. Spring House
15. Kusanats Anapat (St. Tiramair)
16. 4th Century Church remains