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Noratus 5: Noratus Central & East cemetery: First Chapel, Second Chapel

 Noratus Central & East cemetery: First Chapel, Second Chapel

This end of the cemetery includes a number of important stones and inscriptions grouped according to families (dynasties). Others are important for being carved by a certain master or as an example of a period of development in the art form.

Stop 6: First Chapel, Kahana Khachkar

Next to the first chapel on its north side there are two gravestones next to each other, the lower covered with broken glass. This is the Kahana Khachkar, made for the 19th century village priest Ter Avetisi Hovakimiants (1780-1870). The broken glass is part of a ritual performed by locals connected to breaking fear and includes pouring water in the hollow of the upper gravestone and breaking glass on the lower.

Stop 7: First Chapel Inscriptions
The inscriptions are for the mason for the chapel, a certain Alexan whose simple grave is opposite the inscription on the ground.

A. Lower NW wall, “I, Alexan, the grandson of Sarkis,
son of Mirzat, built this Holy
Church. 1714. I, an unworthy from Atis [from] Gir”
B. Upper SW wall, “I, Alexan, built this church, during a
difficult and sorrowful time”

Stop 8: Collection of early khachkars
This collection of simple stones carved with rudimentary crosses is locally accepted as coming from the first (primitive) period of khachkar development (9th- 10th cc), while experts believe the stones are later (10th-11th cc).

Stop 9: Second Chapel inscriptions
The second chapel is topped on its western side with beautifully carved khachkars. Though partly ruined, two key inscriptions survive:

A. Seven lines are inscribed on three-stone pedestal for a (missing) great khachkar, abutting the N wall of the Chapel: “1211. During [the reign of] our pious princes Zakareh and Ivaneh, I, Mkhitar Pechurants, son of David, with the help of God and by the order of great Ivaneh, became the leader of renowned village Noratus. By my own will I erected this cross for the salvation of our sleeping ones [deceased]. Those who worship [here] let [them] remember the country that was liberated from the Tajiks and given to me and my sons”

B. Ten lines are inscribed on the upper part of the N wall of the Chapel: “I, son of Mkhitar, leader of famous Noratus village, wished to install this Chapel and divine symbols for the memory of my soul, of Zuza's soul and my father Mkhitar's soul and all my sleeping ones [deceased]. Those who worship [at this chapel] let [them] remember us in their prayers”

Stop 10: 9th-10th cc graveyard
This small collection of stones lying on the ground is from the oldest part of the cemetery (9th-10th cc). The finely carved khachkars nearby are from later periods.

Original text edited by the International Council on Monuments and Sites-Armenia and the National Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences.