Nature Trail 2010: Samson

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Samson Monastery, 12th-13th cc.

Samson Monastery, 12th-13th cc.

An important example of medieval Armenian architecture, Samson Monastery sits on a level over-looking the Left Bank of Samson River, surrounded by a forest.

The monastery complex includes two churches, a half-ruined chapel, the ruins of dwellings and other buildings.

The main church (size: 5.6m x 5.3 m) is a domed hall type, built of finely-hewn sandstone. Its east end has a half-circular altar apse with a low apron. Entrance is from the west. Note the drum of the dome – circular on the inside and faceted on the outside, its octahedral facets are decorated with small half-columns.

A second church adjoins the main church's southern wall. This church has a single-nave vaulted hall with a horseshoe-shaped apse and spacious long annexes, the only surviving parts of which are on the eastern wing and lower rows of the longitudinal walls.

The chapel built to the north of the complex is now half-ruined. It once had a vaulted ceiling decorated with frescos. The western wall has a number of undated inscriptions made for donors.

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