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Sanahin 8: Map. Haghpat. Aknaberd

 Haghpat, Aknaberd

Directly in front of you, in the distance and across the gorge, are two important monuments; the fortress of Aknaberd and Monastery of Haghpat, Haghpat located in the village of the same name on the slope above the far cliffs and Aknaberd fortress directly below on a rock promontory.


Haghpat's founding is traced to the reign of King Abbas Bagratuni (r. 929-953) while the current monastery's oldest building was begun in 976 during the reign of King Ashot the Merciful (r. 953-977). In the mid-11th century, Haghpat-along with Sanahin- was an important religious center in Lori, growing under the patronage of the Kiurikians and Zakarians, who liberated the region from the Seljuks in the late 12th century.

Haghpat and Sanahin are also connected to one of Armenia's greatest medieval bards, Sayat Nova, who studied as a child at Sanahin (1712-1719) and later lived at Haghpat first as a clergyman (from 1768), then as Grand Sacristan (1778-1795).


Just below Haghpat, on a rock precipice are the ruins of Aknaberd, erected in 1233 on order of Haghpat's bishop Hovhannes to protect both monasteries. His cousin, Prince Shah'n'shah, whose father is buried at Sanahin, had the fortress demolished before advancing Mongol troops, who captured both monasteries and sacked them. The site is still accessible on foot, from the Haghpat village road.

Original text edited by ICOMOS-Armenia and approved by the Holy See of Echmiadzin.