Khor Virap

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Khor Virap 1: Legend. Artashat / Khor Virap. Complex.


1. Artashat Fortress Walls
2. Arax (“Yeraskh”) River
3. Hill 2: Citadel
4. Hill 6: Acropolis, Khor Virap
5. Hill 1: Military Defense
6. Hills 5, 7-9: Workshops & Residences
7. Bridge
8. (Temple to Mher), Public & Private
Roman Baths

Inset (close up of Khor Virap vank)

1. Khor Virap fortress walls
2. Astvatsatsin Church
3. Single Nave Basilica with Khor Virap (Pit)


Artashat / Khor Virap

Khor Virap and the ancient city of Artashat stand on the left bank of the Arax (Yeraskh) River, in the shadow of Mt. Ararat (5165 m. and 3925m.). Khor Virap is located next to the site of a pagan temple to Anahit, on hill 6 of the upper city. It was here that King Artashes I, the founding monarch of the Artashesian Dynasty established his capital ca. 189-188 BC, reuniting Armenian lands and reforming the country's economy, culture and political-military systems in the process.

It was here that the 4th century founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned in a deep pit (”Khor Virap”) for thirteen years before beginning his ministry (with the king T'rdat III) to convert the kingdom to Christianity.

The complex includes the ruins of Artashat city (Citadel, Temples, Khor Virap, Workshops and Residences, Roman-style Baths and water systems).


The text was edited by Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Professor Zhores Khachatrian, Head of the Ancient Archeology Department of the Archeology and Ethnography Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.